Hit & Run

Letting the Dead Bury Their Dead

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It's common practice for obits and "appreciations" of the famous to be written well before the subjects actually die. That makes good deadline sense, but it can lead to some macabre situations. One turns up in today's New York Times, where the front-page obit for Bob Hope carries the byline of the paper's one-time film critic, Vincent Canby. Canby died three years ago.

Joe Lelyveld, Times interim executive editor, told the New York Post that this isn't the first time a writer has "predeceased the subject." Canby "wrote the piece a few years ago," said Lelyveld, "and not much has happened in Bob Hope's life since."