I have author/historian/actor/broadcaster Studs Terkel to thank for a shining moment of glory. Studs (real name Louis) died on Friday at the age of 96.
During a game of Trivial Pursuit, my opponent practically rubbed his hands with glee at the question he was going to ask me. “Oh, you’ll NEVER get this,” he laughed. The question was something along the lines of “Name the author of the book called Working, about people in everyday jobs.”
Unfortunately for my opponent, I had recently read Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do for a writing class. Well, the glory didn’t last long. I had plenty of time to trip up on sports category questions.
Reading the various accounts of Studs that have appeared in the paper since his death, I found out how he got the nickname. He worked as a radio show producer during the Depression and, in his spare time, acted in the Chicago Repertory Theatre. His nickname came while acting in a play with another Louis. To keep the two straight, the director named Terkel after a character in the book he was reading:Â the hero in James Farrell’s Studs Lonigan, about Irish life on the South Side of Chicago.