Beloved for his witty and inspired essays, writer and actor David Rakoff was born in Quebec, Canada in 1964. He attended Columbia University as well as the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, where he majored in East Asian Studies, putting his skills to work after graduation as a translator for a Japanese fine arts publisher. Difficulty struck just a few months into the job however, when Rakoff was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease. He would spend 18 months enduring surgery, chemo, and radiation therapy before reentering the workforce, this time as a publicist and later as an editor in the publishing industry. It was during this time that Rakoff first heard essayist David Sedaris reading one of his own works on NPR. Sedaris' dry humor and nuanced emotion struck such a chord with Rakoff that he immediately wrote to Sedaris, offering to publish his writing. In truth, Rakoff was tiring of the publishing industry and simply wanted to connect with Sedaris, but to this effect, the plan worked perfectly. Rakoff and Sedaris became friends, with Rakoff soon starring in an off-Broadway play written by Sedaris and his sister Amy, "One Woman Shoe." Rakoff would also continue to write his own essays, publishing them in magazines like <i>GQ</i>, <i>New York Times Magazine</i>, <i>Harper's Bazaar</i>, and others. He published his first book of essays, <i>Fraud</i>, in 2001, followed by <i>Don't Get Too Comfortable</i> in 2005 and <i>Half Empty</i> in 2010, the last of which won the Thurber Prize for American Humor. Rakoff developed Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2010. He passed away in 2012 at the age of 47.