Mark Haines: Tyler Mathisen Remembers

The word I've heard more today about Mark Haines than any other is "authentic." He was surely that.

He would probably have bristled at that word, because it sounds a little fancy or highfalutin, a little too Upper East Side for a Jersey guy like Mark. Maybe he would have gone for "real."

Whatever the word, the essence it describes is the same: Haines was always, well, Haines. He was always himself, and unapologetically so. The audience got that about him. So did his guests. It's why they respected and formed a special bond with him.

Someone I respect greatly in this game once told me that "you won't be good on television until you forget you're on television." No one forgot that better than Mark.

In Memoriam: Mark Haines
In Memoriam: Mark Haines

There was no phoniness about him, no pretense, no self-consciousness. And he didn't suffer those things gladly in others, either.

It was that essential "realness" that was the secret of Haines. And, of course, it was no secret.