Jimmy Breslin, Chronicler Of Wise Guys and Underdogs, Dies at 88

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Jimmy Breslin

Author-columnist Jimmy Breslin, the legendary street-smart chronicler of wise guys and underdogs, has died. He was 88.

Breslin's stepdaughter, Emily Eldridge, said he died Sunday of complications from pneumonia.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author and longtime New York Daily News columnist was one of the sharpest observers of New York City life.

A hard-nosed newsman, Breslin also campaigned for office in the 1960s and exposed the city's worst corruption scandal in decades in the 1980s. He once boasted that he was the best person ever to have a column in the news business.

Breslin's well-known work, "The Gang that Couldn't Shoot Straight," told the story of the Boston mob, and he wrote of his own life in his memoir "I Want to Thank My Brain for Remembering Me."

In 2007, BreslinĀ talked to Brian Lehrer about what it was like to be Norman Mailer's running mate when the late author ran for mayor in 1969.

In 2008, heĀ talked to Leonard Lopate about his book, "The Good Rat: A True Story," about the American mafia, from mistaken identities and crooked cops, to murder.

Click the audio player to hear Jon Kalish's profile of Breslin for "On the Media" in 2004, when he retired from writing his thrice weekly column for Newsday.