Baber, Asa 1936-2003
BABER, Asa 1936-2003
See index for CA sketch: Born June 19, 1936, in Chicago, IL; died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease) June 16, 2003, in Chicago, IL. Educator and author. Baber was a former English and theater teacher who in the 1980s became well known for his regular Playboy magazine column, "Men," in which he stood up for the rights and dignity of men at a time when feminism was at its peak. After receiving a bachelor's degree from Princeton University in 1958, Baber joined the U.S. Marines and became a counterinsurgency specialist in Laos. He returned from Asia in 1961 and went back to school, earning a master's degree from Northwestern University in 1963. He then traveled to Istanbul to be an English and theater teacher. Again returning to the United States in 1966, he earned an M.F.A. from the prestigious Iowa Writer's Workshop in 1969 and in 1970 completed his novel The Land of a Million Elephants, which is based on his war experiences. He wrote the novel while on the faculty of the University of Hawaii, where he was an assistant professor of English until 1974. When he moved to Chicago in 1975, Baber began contributing stories and articles to Playboy, which had earlier serialized his novel. An article he wrote about his divorce led one of the editors to ask him to write a regular column, and this became "Men." The column advised male readers on such issues as how to deal with divorce, business and personal rejection, and depression. Selected columns were later published in Naked at Gender Gap: A Man's View of the War between the Sexes (1992). Baber was also the author of two short-story collections, Tranquility Base and Other Stories (1979) and Papageno and Other Stories (1993), as well as a musical, Goslings (1977).
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Writers Directory, 17th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 2002.
Chicago Tribune, June 20, 2003, section 3, p. 11.
Los Angeles Times, June 20, 2003, p. B15.
Washington Post, June 23, 2003, p. B6.