William Rusher, the long-time publisher of National Review, has died. Tributes are being written and spoken by many who knew or were touched by him.
I have a Bill Rusher story too.
In 1987, I worked for a small policy organization in Washington. Part of my job was to manage a high-profile fundraising dinner. Since my boss wanted to aim for the top on everything, I invited Charlton Heston to emcee the event. But, I could not get an answer from him (his office). I called, begged, left messages, but no one would give me the courtesy of a reply. Time was running out. I would soon be forced to go to my #2 choice.
I knew that Heston and Bill Rusher were friends. So, one day, I just called National Review’s office in New York and asked for Rusher. To my surprise, he answered his own phone. I explained my plight. He asked questions about the event and the organization. Then, he said, “My boy, you shall have an answer from Mr. Heston within 5 days.”
And I did. I received a sincere written apology from Charlton Heston. He went on to explain his failure to respond and why he would be unable to serve as emcee (he was wrapping up the details to star in “A Man for all Seasons” on a London stage).
Not only did Bill Rusher command great respect with Heston (and many others), but he exerted his influence to help me — someone he did not know. I could do nothing to help or hurt Mr. Rusher; he did not have to do anything for me. But, he did.
That has remained for me one measure of character…the willingness to grant a request without regard for what the supplicant can do in return.
Bill Rusher was 87.