Robert Gottlieb

Robert Gottlieb had a long and distinguished career as an editor and writer. He served as the head of Alfred A. Knopf, the editor-in-chief of Simon and Schuster, and the editor of The New Yorker. As an editor, he worked with many notable authors, including Toni Morrison, John Le Carré, Bruno Bettelheim, Katharine Graham, Doris Lessing, Bill Clinton, Nora Ephron, Bill Gates, and Joseph Heller—whose debut novel, Catch-22, helped establish Gottlieb’s reputation as a keen discerner of literary talent.

In recent decades, he wrote extensively for The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, and The New York Observer, where he was the dance critic for many years. His books include A Certain Style: The Art of the Plastic Handbag, 1949-59; Sarah: The Life of Sarah Bernhardt; George Balanchine: Ballet Maker; Lives and Letters; Great Expectations: The Sons and Daughters of Charles Dickens; Near-Death Experiences...and Others; Garbo; and the memoir Avid Reader. He also edited the anthologies Reading Jazz, Reading Dance, and, with Robert Kimball, Reading Lyrics.

In 2015, he received the annual Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2022, a feature documentary, Turn Every Page, was released about Gottlieb’s collaborations with author Robert Caro.

In his private life, Gottlieb was an avid collector who delighted in accumulating a variety of objects, including lucite handbags from the 1950s, postcards, Art Deco, and early 20th-century decorative arts, and, of course, his primary love, books.