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Obituary Writer Says Now Is a Good Time to Die


Why do some people read the obituary page as a hobby? What should an obituary say about a person? How has the Internet changed how people view obituaries? We speak to a celebrity obituary writer who t

Obituary Writer Says Now Is a Good Time to Die

Originally aired March 14, 2007

Tom Fudge: Marilyn Johnson says now is a great time to die. That's because, according to many accounts, we live in a golden age of obituary writing. Marilyn should know, because she’s spent much of her career writing obituaries of famous people. Today, she says the art of writing obits is getting the respect it deserves.

Marilyn Johnson writes about her career as literary angel of death, and about the culture of obit readers in a new book. The book is called The Dead Beat: Lost souls, lucky stiffs, and the perverse pleasures of obituaries.


  • Marilyn Johnson , celebrity obituary writer and author of  The Dead Beat: Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs and the Perverse Pleasures of Obituaries.