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Shepherd, Jeanlocked

(26 July 1921–16 October 1999)
  • James F. Smith Jr.

Extract

Shepherd, Jean (26 July 1921–16 October 1999), humorist and multimedia performer, was born Jean Parker Shepherd in Chicago, the son of Jean P. Shepherd, a white-collar worker for Borden Dairies, and Anne Heinrichs Shepherd. A good deal of confusion surrounds the date of Shepherd's birth: it has been reported as 21 or 26 July and with various birth years ranging from 1921 to 1929. Possibly the outgrowth of vanity (after all, it may have been more hip during his New York heyday in the late 1950s through the middle 1960s for him to be “twenty- or thirty-something” rather than “forty-something”), the lack of consistency in his claimed birth year accurately represents his unwillingness to reveal details of his personal life, something that he always claimed had nothing to do with his work. This may seem a strange position for him to have taken, given the fact that generations of Americans believe they know a great deal of Shepherd's life from the stories he told on the radio, wrote for magazine and book publication, and presented on television and in film....

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