Dan Frank, revered editor at Pantheon Books, dead at 67

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NEW YORK (AP) — Dan Frank, a revered and longtime editor at Pantheon Books who worked with such prize-winning authors as Cormac McCarthy, Oliver Sacks and Jill Lepore, died Monday at age 67.

Frank had been Pantheon’s editorial director since 1996 and his death was announced by Reagan Arthur, executive vice president and publisher of Knopf, Pantheon, and Schocken, who noted that Frank was so identified with the imprint it was known to some as “Dantheon.” He died in Manhattan, but the cause of death was not immediately available.

“For decades, Dan has been the public face of Pantheon, setting the tone for the house and overseeing the list,” Arthur wrote in a company memo shared with The Associated Press. “He had an insatiable curiosity about life and, indeed, that curiosity informed many of his acquisitions. As important as the books he published and the authors he edited, Dan served as a mentor to younger colleagues, endlessly generous with his time and expertise.”

Lepore, the historian and New Yorker staff writer, wrote in an email to The Associated Press that Frank was “the finest of men, and the best of editors. He found delight in ideas and beauty in prose, and he helped put them there.”

Survivors include Frank’s wife, Patty; three sons and a grandson.

Frank’s books at Pantheon and its sister imprint Alfred A. Knopf ranged from McCarthy’s Pulitzer Prize winning “The Road” to Cynthia Ozick’s most recent novel, “Antiquities.” He worked on Revolutionary War history by Joseph Ellis and several scientific books by Oliver Sacks, including “Hallucinations” and “Musicophilia.” He had a special interest in comics and graphic books, including Marjane Satrapi’s acclaimed memoir “Persepolis,” which Frank was able to acquire for the U.S. market because he could read it in its original French.

Frank was a native of New York City who attended Haverford College as an undergraduate and received a master’s degree from the University of Chicago. He was editorial director at Viking, where he worked with James Gleick and Bruce Chatwin among others, before joining Pantheon in 1991. Pantheon had been home to Jean-Paul Sartre, Studs Terkel and Gunnar Myrdal among others, but at the time the publishing community wondered if Pantheon — and publishing itself — was on the decline. Its gifted, iconoclastic head Andre Schiffrin had been forced out amid a dispute with Random House executives over budgeting and creative control. Several editors left with him, and Terkel and E.L. Doctorow were among the authors who criticized Random House.

Pantheon continued to release acclaimed books under Frank, including works by Lepore, Art Spiegelman and Charles Baxter. Pantheon published last year’s winner of the National Book Award for fiction, Charles Yu’s “Interior Chinatown,” and a 2019 nominee for best translated literature, Yoko Ogawa’s “The Memory Police.”

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