Frank Johnson, R.I.P.

by John O’Sullivan

Rick Brookhiser and John Derbyshire have both paid tributes to Frank Johnson on the Corner since his death last week after a long battle with cancer. Frank was one of my closest friends. We had joined the Daily Telegraph on the same day in 1972. We alternated writing the parliamentary sketch on the paper for seven years. And we discussed the same books, attended the same parties, and fought the same battles for almost two decades. I am just about to depart for his funeral. As well as a sad event, it should also be a splendid celebration of a wonderful life that embodied friendship, a love of the pursuits of civilization, and Tory wit. Here is a link to something I wrote for Tim Montgomerie’s British website on Frank and conservatism.. I hope to write a piece for NRO on Frank, America, National Review and related topics soon. In the meantime, a typical story: Earlier this year he was walking with Andrew Roberts, the great Tory historian of the English-speaking world, with Frank, a music lover who once shared the opera stage with Maria Callas, outlining the songs and orchestral pieces he wanted for his memorial service. “That sounds marvelous,” said Andrew. “I can hardly wait!” Both men looked at each other with consternation and then burst out laughing.