Which is precisely what he did in 1959 when, for the purpose of one of his countless stories for Sports Illustrated, he took on Archie Moore, then king of the light heavyweight division, for a three-round exhibition match in New York. Since that time, Plimpton has never lost his interest in boxing. A close friend of Muhammad Ali's who has followed the champion around the world, he made Ali the chief character of his book Shadow Box, which came out in paperback this month from Berkley. As with most of Plimpton's works, the story is told with an abundance of humor.
He has been a Westsider for 15 years, and his publishing company,
"I don't like to be rude to fans," says the calm, gentlemanly Meat Loaf (his legal name) during an interview at his new apartment in another part of the West Side. "I'd lie down on the floor for hours so they couldn't see me. â€¦ People magazine printed my real name and told more or less where I lived: that's why I had to move."
Q: Do all your projects lead to one goal?
EASTSIDER GEORGE SHEARING
WESTSIDER JULIUS RUDEL
Now in his 30th consecutive year as artistic director of the New York City Ballet, Mr. B. shows no signs of slowing down. He continues to direct most of the dances for his 92-member company and to create new choreographic works of daring originality. He continues to teach at the School of American Ballet, which he cofounded in 1934 with Lincoln Kirstein. And Balanchine can still, when he chooses, write out the parts for all the instruments of the orchestra. Yet he thinks of himself more as a craftsman than a creator, and often compares his work to that of a cook or cabinetmaker â€” two crafts, by the way, in which he is rather skilled.