Charles Van Doren, Lax Friend and Son of Lax Mentor Mark Van Doren, Has Died at 93

Charles Van Doren’s obituaries will all inevitably lead with his role in the quiz show scandal in the 1950s, but he was an erudite scholar who went on to do many worthwhile things. He was also a friend of Robert Lax and kind to me when I interviewed him for Pure Act: The Uncommon Life of Robert Lax. Among other things, he told me that Lax’s comforting note when the scandal broke meant more than any other he received. It was so precious to him, he kept it all his life–and sent me a copy.

If you read anything about him (such as on Wikipedia: be sure to read the later paragraphs too. Like all of us, he deserves to be remembered for more than one mistake.