Stuart Fischoff, PhD, left us at 2:14 AM on November 21, 2014. He was Professor Emeritus, Media Psychologist, American Psychological Association Fellow, writer, award-winning screenwriter, consultant, commentator and maybe the only person on the planet (besides Sondheim) who knew all of the words to all of the songs in Sondheim’s stage musical Company, including the ones cut from the show.
Stuart was born in New York City. He often tussled with the neighborhood toughs who beat on him because he was born Jewish; they learned it was in their best interest to curb that behavior. He loved his parents. Stuart did not care for high school and was a lousy student, but he loved going to Penn State, loved getting his Masters and Doctorate at The New School for Social Research and became what he wanted to become: an intellectual who used really big words and pronounced them correctly, which is why I married him. I can’t pronounce anything over two syllables.
Breaking ranks with tweedy, clean-fingernail intellectuals, Stuart liked woodworking and built furniture for our home, he also crafted bird homes, squirrel homes, dining room tables for mice and big, outdoor wood sculptures in the mode of “rustic impulsive,” the name he made-up for his artistic style. And even more rebellious, he played basketball with people two feet taller than he was and thirty years younger.
An early dream of Stuart’s was to be a screenwriter in Hollywood, own a custom convertible and have a woman with long, blonde-streaked hair next to him as he sped Ventura Freeway to the pounding score from Blade Runner. He made it happen. We shot out of the tunnel, flew down the freeway to Blade Runner many times.
We never endangered anyone or got a ticket for this reckless tradition because we did it at 2 AM on weeknights and in those days, there was no one on the L.A. freeways at 2 AM.
Teaching at California State University, Los Angeles came first in Stuart’s life. He never took sick days; he never ducked department work or heading committees. We threw cool parties for his lab students.
Stuart twitched when people called him a pioneer in the field of Media Psychology, but what do you call the person who was the founding President of the American Psychological Association’s Media Psychology Division. He founded the first Media Psychology Lab in the world at CSULA, who co-founded the first journal, the Journal of Media Psychology. He started the nation’s first Masters level graduate program in Media Psychology and helped develop the first Media Psychology Doctoral Program at the Fielding Institute in Santa Barbara.
Yes, Stuart was a Pioneer in the field of Media Psychology. He was quoted thousands of times in the Media. And they never stopped asking his for his input.
Editors Note: This is a shorter version of the tribute published in Psychology Today: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-media-zone/201411/and-he-knew-all-the-words