I was shocked and terribly saddened to hear of the sudden death of Andrew Patner this morning. Andrew was indeed Chicago’s “Renaissance Man,” so imbued with an encyclopedic knowledge of music, art, literature, history and politics. His commentaries on WFMT Radio displayed his analytic and aesthetic intelligence, as well as his charm and wit.
I first met Andrew years ago when he was a young man, as he stopped by a restaurant booth downtown where I was having lunch with his father Marshall, also a highly accomplished individual in his own right. A few years later, I heard Andrew speak at the Cliff Dwellers on a new book that he had written on the journalist I.F. Stone. Over the years, I would run into him at a variety of cultural and political events, and always enjoyed chatting with him for a minute or two.
I remember him once correcting me on facebook, when I posted that the world debut of Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie in 1944 was at the Goodman Theater, when indeed it was at the Civic Theater. Such was the depth of his cultural knowledge! There now is an irreplaceable void in our city’s cultural landscape with Andrew’s passing.