By Robert Cohen Executive Director Text Only

Anti-Dairyman George Plimpton

Anti-Dairyman George Plimpton, Dead at 76

A few years ago, I launched the NotMilk anti-dairy movement
with a stunning press conference in New York City. The
entire event was taped by New York television's major
networks, and broadcast live to thousands of media
representatives throughout the world via a telephone
conference call.

On that day, we were joined by celebrities, doctors,
activists, and many members of the media. I had asked George
Plimpton, a friend, to play the role of moderator.

Plimpton was a distinguished man, possessing great warmth,
wit, wisdom, and dignity. His reputation and efforts helped
to get out the word that cow's milk does not do the body any
good, and his marketing skills helped to get our anti-dairy
story in Time Magazine, the New York Times, and on hundreds
of television stations and in many more newspapers, from
coast to coast.

Plimpton was a gentle man, but he was also a tough man. When
word got out that he was one of our spokesmen, pressure was
exerted to have him withdraw. George Plimpton was not a man
to be threatened or intimidated.

As a fighter, Plimpton once had his face bloodied by the
great light-heavyweight boxer, Archie Moore. Moore is the
only man to have fought both Rocky Marciano and Muhammad
Ali. He knocked out more fighters than any boxer in history,
141, but could not knock out George. As a second-string
quarterback, Plimpton once ran a play for the Detroit Lions,
resulting in his autobiographical book, Paper Lion.

Plimpton was a Renaissance man for the twentieth and twenty-
first centuries. Athlete, poet, editor of the acclaimed
literary magazine, Paris Review. Activist. Statesman.

He was a friend of the Kennedys, and I cherish the stories
we shared in his New York City apartment. He was also a dear
friend of my colleague, Charles Attwood, M.D. Charles
originally suggested that George Plimpton be the moderator
for the Anti-Dairy Coalition press conference. Taking his
advice turned out to be a blessing. (Charles also appeared
on the podium with me, although he was dying of brain cancer
at the time. He asked that I keep that secret, which I did,
while admiring his own commitment to make the anti-dairy
press conference a success. This was Attwood's his last
public appearance. Charles died a short time after the

Plimpton played professional hockey, was a circus performer,
professional golfer, pro tennis player, and even slammed
some of the best contract bridge players. He won second
prize at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem one memorable amateur
night for his skills on the piano.

He was called the "prince of cameos," for having appeared in
numerous movies and television shows. I remember him as Dr.
John Carter's multi-millionaire grandfather on E.R. I cannot
place him in the epic movie, Lawrence of Arabia, but
Plimpton told me that he appeared briefly as a Bedouin
warrior. George was shot dead by John Wayne in Rio Lobo, and
cried real tears after his ring experience with Archie

I will best remember George for his magnificent work in
which he helped fire the first cannon on Fort Dairy. We
started this war together. George Plimpton lit the fuse and
carried the banner. Thanks, George. We'll miss you.

Robert Cohen, author of:   MILK A-Z
Executive Director (
Dairy Education Board

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