Radar, loyalist, food critic, media hound and renowned ladies man dies at 15

radar.jpg Radar, a statesman with a discerning palate, whose first known name was Scabby due to cigar burns sustained as a puppy on the rough and tumble streets of Brooklyn, made the transition back to puppyhood on February 7, 2009 at home in Venice, CA in the arms of his loving family.

Radar was found in 1993 just a few months old and in very bad shape in a garbage can near Brooklyn Heights by an employee of the Humane Society. He became the house dog of the Humane Society on East 59th street in Manhattan for over two years as he healed up, grew up and kept getting passed over. He happily ate the house dog food but somehow developed an innate curiosity of exotic cuisine. When he was discovered by producer Sam Sokolow in 1995, his luck and menu started changing.

“I knew he was special the first time I laid eyes on him,” said Sokolow, from the office they shared. “He was as handsome as Bobby DeNiro, had the attitude of Gordon Ramsey and was as ballsy as Rin Tin Tin. The truth is, we were both lost souls and Radar saved me just as much, if not more, than I saved him.”

Radar began working with Sokolow in radio in 1995 when he was the first dog granted consistent access to the famous 9 West 57th Street building, which housed the Wells, Rich & Greene advertising agency. That began a twelve year streak in the entertainment industry in jobs that took him from New York to Los Angeles and introduced him to the menus of the nation’s finest restaurants.

radar_modeling_nyc.jpgThe charming mutt, known for his signature red hair, appeared in test spots for Proctor & Gamble, did a voice over for Liberty Mutual Insurance, had a cameo in The Definite Maybe and appeared on stage in Schubert Alley with Buck Henry, Wayne Knight & Bernadette Peters in Broadway Barks. He was a model in Manhattan who also appeared in photo shoots in the Hamptons. It seemed that by the time Radar was 7 years old he had forgotten more about show business than most dogs learn in a lifetime.
radar_nikki_taylor.jpg“I always loved the ladies and the chicken and the rest was just part of the job,” Radar wrote in his 2008 self-published memoirs, Smell Ya Later. “And there was something about show business people that spoke to me… maybe it was all the nice shoes and craft service.”

Radar moved to Los Angeles in 2000 and worked like a dog from the day he landed. He spent his days on studio lots first Downtown and then on Sunset Boulevard, just below the famed captain_cur.jpgHollywood sign. He did more “business” on those lots than most producers. Radar was also the inspiration for Captain Cur, the lead character in Alec Sokolow & Joel Cohen’s children’s book. He worked and partied with supermodels, actors, writers, artists, dancers and agents. He marked houses in the finest neighborhoods.
To those that knew him well, however, Radar’s true contribution was away from the spotlight. He was an unyieldingly dedicated best friend, a generous and loving soul to all, and the sweetest creature Sam & Julia Sokolow ever knew. He was beloved by his entire family, his dogs and his dawgs, and countless strangers – from the social elite to the homeless – all of whom he trusted and treated with equal affection.
Radar’s love of good food was intense, even for a dog. In 1997, he enjoyed so many grilled chicken breasts, skirt steaks and roasted vegetables from Mangia on West 57th street that he developed pancreatitis which prohibited him from eating human food for over a decade. However, in his last months, when longevity was no longer an option, his vet prescribed an all human food diet. Radar victoriously restored his elegant palate lavishly dining on free range chicken, pot roast with brown rice, roasted lamb with fresh garlic, organic carrots with soy cream cheese, bone-in rib eye, poached salmon and smoked lox. But his favorite meal by far was his daily breakfast at The Rose Café in Venice… a toasted corn muffin with melted butter and a side of extra crisp bacon.

radar_pilates.jpg“I lived baby,” Radar wrote in his memoirs. “I’ve smelled the finest roses and even peed on a few.”

Perhaps Radar’s greatest accomplishment was outliving his neurosis. Those close to him said that his early years in the kennel gave him a restless desire to always be in the action as well as an acute case of separation anxiety. Over the years, he mellowed and grew confident in his skin and surroundings. And while Radar struggled with declining health over his last few years, he seemed to gain a sense of inner peace, self awareness and joy that always showed on his smiling face.
Sokolow tried to sum up how he felt letting his best friend go, “A brilliant man once said that there is nothing funnier than two Jews walking down the street… and nothing sadder than one Jew walking down the street.” But after reflecting, he added, “If you look very closely in the future, you’ll see that Radar is walking with me always.”

radar_sam_diane.jpgRadar was released to the air and the sky and to walks in the heavens with Sam’s dad big Mel just 7 days shy of his sixteenth birthday.

Radar is survived by Sam & Julia Sokolow; Diane Sokolow; Alec, Leslie, Maya & Eli Sokolow; Betsy, Len, Emily & Sarah Sherman; Allen & Claudia Fowler, and scores of ex-girlfriends, friends from coast to coast, and a plate of lox in the fridge that he never got to. He leaves homes in Venice, Santa Monica, Scottsdale, Bridgehampton & Manhattan.                          



Recipe for Radar's Favorite Breakfast:

Take one fresh corn muffin, cut in half horizontally and toast till golden brown. Place the toasted muffin on top of a foiled pat of butter until it gets soft. Slather the butter on each half of the corn muffin. Next, fry a side of very crisp bacon and pat off the grease with a napkin. Serve in small bites from the palm of your hand.