Interviews and Articles

A sampling:

Fighter and a thinker both -- remebering the overlooked boxing great Gene Tunney
Chicago Tribune, Aug 19, 2016 | PDF of Article

Interview with Rick Kogan/ WGN radio, Sunday Aug 7, 2016

Chicago Public Library Foundation’s Carl Sandburg Award evening

Jay R. Tunney, writer of the BBC-Radio 4 program “The Master and the Boy,”
and author of the much acclaimed book The Prizefighter and the Playwright: Gene Tunney and Bernard Shaw, was among honorees at the Chicago Public Library Foundation’s Carl Sandburg Award evening on Oct 21, 2015.  

Sharing the story behind ‘The Prizefighter and The Playwright’
The Westerly July, 7, 2015

Honoring a champion (PDF 5mb)
The Leader Herald, Sept. 23, 2014

Park Dedicated to Hall of Fame Boxer
Hamilton County Express, Aug. 28, 2014 | PDF

Al Bernstein's Boxing Hangouts w/ Special Guest JAY TUNNEY
Interview 45min, June 17,2014

A Tunney Returns, Hanilton County Express, Speculator, NY
August 14-20, 2013 | PDF

‘The Prizefighter and the Playwright’ author to speak-
March 8, 2013

Champion’s son sets epic Tunney-Shaw tale in
March 5, 2013

Strange bedfellows: Jay Tunney talks about his father Gene's extraordinary friendships at RMA gathering - Greenwich Citizen
By Anne. W Semmes
Thursday, February 21, 2013

interview aired Nov.14, 2012

Talk Radio for Fine Minds | BlogTalk Radio Network  

“The Boxer and the Playwright,” Irish Independent Weekend, May 2012 |PDF

Gene Tunney’s son tells story about father’s friendship with George Bernard Shaw-Palm Beach Daily News
By Michele Darganz
Posted: Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011

"Who's Talking?" with D.G. Martin,WCHL (mp3, 37mb)
October 27, 2011 or can be found here

Connie Martinson Talks Books (YouTube)

Smithsonian magazine, September 2011| PDF of Article 

"Beyond the Game" interview with John Vorperian (YouTube)
March 2011 | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Unlikely tale of the playwright and the pugilist - The Irish Times
Sep 23, 2010 ... And, writes Jay Tunney, Cashel Byron's Profession was a virtual roadmap for his ...

Brains, Brawn and an Unlikely Bond - The NY Times
Published: September 20, 2010

Book tells of prizefighter-playwright friendship - NewsOK.Com

The boxer and the playwright - Toronto Sun

A Shavian Romance - Inside Story

Boxing Buddies - Irish America, Dec/Jan. 2011 | PDF

Related Materials:

A Life Captured With Luster Left Intact
‘Thornton Wilder: A Life,’ by Penelope Niven
NY Times book review By CHARLES ISHERWOOD
Published: October 31, 2012

Punch line: Heavyweight champ sends secret message to ...
This reporter wishes to credit "The Prizefighter and the Playwright: Gene Tunney and Bernard Shaw" by Jay Tunney (Gene Tunney's son) for source material for ...
Greenwich Citizen newspaper
Posted Sept 21, 2012's
Daily popup feature mentions Tunney and "The Long Count" 
posted Sept 21, 2012

"Moonlighting Boxers' History of Socko Box Office" NYTimes, July 26, 2012
Story is about the history of boxers to venture into show biz.



“Full of surprises
and mind-changing insights, this compelling book tells for the first time the full story of the unlikely relationship between the world heavyweight boxing champion and the Nobel Prize and Oscarwinning playwright...a revelation.”

leonard conolly, corresponding
scholar, shaw festival

A beautifully written book on a fascinating and little-known subject.
-Andrew Patner: The View From Here  2010 11 01

In setting down the tale, Jay Tunney frequently had to play detective in reconstructing a credible chronology of events that took place in the very house he grew up in. To his credit, his approach for the most part reflects a scholarly and meticulously researched narrative so attuned to the facts that one has to periodically remind oneself: This is his father he is writing about.
- George Kimball  Irish Times  2010 09 23

The brawny man and the brainy man often find themselves at odds, each denigrating the other's gifts. The man of the body bullies, while the man of the mind retreats to intellectual arrogance. Such was not the case with 1920s heavyweight boxing champion Gene Tunney and famed playwright George Bernard Shaw, who forged a close relationship, recalled here by one of Tunney's sons. Despite humble beginnings and his chosen profession, the Irish American Tunney was a self-taught lover of the arts who strove to raise himself in society, marrying into the upper class and rubbing shoulders with other literary giants of his time, while the Irish Shaw, several decades older, had dabbled in boxing as a young man. Tunney's intellectual interests were met with much scorn, especially in the boxing world, causing him to be, as his son writes, "a man between two worlds and a part of neither one."
- Jim Burns, Jacksonville Public Library  Library Journal Xpress Reviews  2010 11 05

One might dismiss the book, unread, as only a testament of filial devotion, but The Prizefighter and the Playwright is an engrossing read, packaged in an attractively and liberally illustrated volume. Gene Tunney comes warmly alive as someone worthy of Shaw’s almost paternal interest, and G.B.S. emerges in a more private dimension than he is often seen by biographers trying to encompass an encyclopedic life... Jay Tunney has been thorough... One hopes that The Prizefighter and the Playwright, an authentic page-turner, will capture the wide non-Shavian audience it deserves.... Gene Tunney lives on... in Jay Tunney's fascinating re-creation of a most unlikely friendship.
- Stanley Weintraub  Shaw: The Annual of Bernard Shaw Studies, Volume 31  2010 10

Writer Jay R. Tunney, who is the son of the boxer, provides an unsentimental account of a friendship that defies expectations. Despite his relationship to the boxer, the story is no mere encomium, and Tunney emerges as a flawed, rather than lionised, hero. The book is weighted more towards boxing than literature but, even for the relatively uninitiated reader to the heady world of pugilism, The Prizefighter and the Playwright is never less than compelling.
- Sara Keating  The Irish Post / / Sunday Business Post online  2010 09 19

The Prizefighter and the Playwright promises to be a treat for boxing fans, dedicated Shavians, and anyone who enjoys a personal tour through the lives of two peerless figures. Our thanks to Jay Tunney for bringing us the story.
- The Lawrenceville School  2010 05 25

This book is not only important to historians, but it is also a book with a great love story and a testament to a man who became a scholar without any traditional schooling. It is also one of the most fascinating non-fictional studies of a friendship that I have ever read.... When Gene Tunney died in 1978, at the age of 81, the Boston Herald said, "Gentleman Gene left a legacy of physical and intellectual stamina that should inspire us all." The Washington Star added, "Mr. Tunney was given to quoting Shakespeare. He looked like an actor; he sailed to Europe to talk with George Bernard Shaw; he did not act like a pug. The fans would not forgive him he died a hero. But there was never any real understanding of this man, who was too gifted, too fast and driven, to stay where the people wanted him." His son Jay has corrected that. His story of Gene Tunney will be considered the final, incisive word.
- Mary Whipple  2010 10 12

..eloquent as a family narrative, at times almost excruciatingly personal…offers fascinating glimpses into Tunney’s boxing years.  Well-chosen photos evoke the Gatsby-ish 1920s.
- Richard Pyle The Associated Press 2010 09 29

“..a moving account of the unlikely friendship that existed between the playwright…and (the boxer). In 1928, Tunney retired from boxing to marry Polly Lauder, one of the Carnegie heirs…The Prizefighter and the Playwright is, among other things, a son’s homage to their love story.
- Kasia Boddy The Times Literary Supplement London 2010 10 29

It has to be one of the strangest and most unlikely friendships ever…one of the most intriguing in the annals of sports. The Prizefighter and the Playwright: it’s a more than interesting read. Try it!
- The Star Dublin 2010 08

(The author) shows Tunney to have been a complex and highly admirable man.  Jay’s portrayal of his father comes across as extremely considered, realistic and fair. 
- Sheila Langan Irish America Magazine 2011 01

It is a love story several times over: depicting the affection between Tunney’s champion father and his heiress wife, Polly Lauder; the budding friendship between Tunney and Shaw; and the admiration both men shared for the arts of sparring and writing.  It serves also as a son’s love letter to his larger-than-life father. 
- Brynn Mandel Republican-American Waterbury, Ct. 2010 12 03

Jay R. Tunney tells this remarkable and exotic story with drama, passion and grace, intimate as only a son’s remembrance can be, but always in the context of American and world history in the 1920s and 30s. The Prizefighter and the Playwright is packed with rare and fascinating photos and illustrations, many of them from the family collection and concludes with an invaluable outline of sources by the author. 
- Tom Jory

This is a fascinating book about a friendship…full of stories on Tunney’s career as well as the theatre life of many of Shaw’s plays.  Famous personalities on both sides of the Atlantic knew one or both men and were often intrigued to be with them together, as friends.  It is altogether a very successful double portrait.
- Anne McDougall

George Bernard Shaw was a man of many parts: playwright, socialist, eugenicist, vegetarian, fight fan…Shaw also formed an enduring friendship with, of all people, Gene Tunney, the world heavyweight boxing champ, some 40 years younger. The friendship (is) the subject of a new book…
- Charles McGrath The New York Times 2010 09 20

Jay Tunney has produced an invaluable book that sheds light on hitherto unknown aspects of both Shaw’s and Tunney’s lives.  They and their wives holidayed together in the Adriatic, discussed every aspect of life and the arts, and complemented each other in a way that only an insider like Tunney’s son could reveal.  But I suspect even he doesn’t realize how great a fighter his dad was—arguably the greatest of all heavyweights.
- Peter Worthington Toronto Sun  2010 12 04

The book draws on a mass of material (including memories of the author’s mother, who died in 2008, aged 100) to provide the first truly satisfying account of Tunney’s character and of much of his life after boxing.
- John Exshaw Boxing Monthly 2011 01  

Did You Know?
On St. Patrick’s Day of 1883, Bernard Shaw entered the Queensberry Amateur Boxing Championships as both a middleweight and a heavyweight at Lillie Bridge Grounds, outside London.


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