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Adieu and au revoir, Andrew Breitbart

Andrew Breitbart

FILE - In a Tuesday, June 7, 2011 file photo, conservative activist and blogger Andrew Breitbart, who runs the websites BigGovernement.com and BigJournalism.com, answers questions during an interview at the Associated Press in New York. Breitbart, who was behind investigations that led to the resignations of former Rep. Anthony Weiner and former Agriculture Department official Shirley Sherrod, died Thursday, March 1, 2012 in Los Angeles. He was 43. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File) (AP)

Perhaps the greatest professional tribute I can pay to Andrew Breitbart is that upon hearing condolences from friends online about the passing of my friend "Andrew," and trying to figure out who they were talking about, is that I immediately pointed my browser to the Drudge Report to find out the details of what person named Andrew was no longer with us. 

But Andrew deserves more than just a professional nod this week for he was more than a culture warrior for one political side, he was a decent guy, a great dad and especially a good and loyal friend who took great pleasure out of selflessly helping his friends. 

What he also deserves is for his enemies to set aside their hatred for him, and for at least a day, to remember our common humanity. For, whatever they may think of his work he was still a man with a beautiful wife, four lovely kids and lots of friends.

I came to know Andrew before he became Andrew Breitbart, during a time he seemed to bask in his anonymity. 

We first met at a party a decade or so ago thrown by Bill Maher and he seemed perfectly contented to be Matt Drudge's loyal and anonymous sidekick. 

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Andrew was watching him shed that cherished anonymity a few years back and not only launch his series of websites but become a forceful and very public advocate for what he believed in. 

To watch the transformation of Andrew from anonymous blogger to outspoken activist was sort of like watching Dr. Bruce Banner or Clark Kent transitioning into "The Incredible Hulk" or Superman: I felt as though I was watching Andrew become who he was destined to be, but perhaps had resisted becoming.

But there was a private and very spiritual side of Andrew that few knew about. 

He was a spiritual seeker and we had many conversations about God and the meaning of life. 

Once we even went together to hear Billy Graham speak at his final L.A. crusade at the Rose Bowl with his mother-in-law; and imprinted on my mind forever was the time we spent a couple of hours at a cafe in Venice debating God, agnosticism and the meaning of life. 

There were many things about contemporary Christianity that troubled him, but he later famously described himself to CBN's David Brody as a "Judeo-Christian."

If I could think of two words to describe Andrew Breitbart the man, they are these: loyal and selfless. 

He was fiercely loyal to his friends and especially to the man who brought him to The Show, Matt Drudge. When Andrew left Drudge for a time to help launch the Huffington Post, he did so with some hesitation, concerned that it would damage his relationship with his mentor. 

It didn't. 

Drudge was bigger than that. 

There were plenty of opportunities for him to dish on the famously press-shy Drudge to the press, but he never did.

He was also selfless because he made key introductions for people, often launching their careers, yet never asked for anything in return. Greg Gutfeld was a magazine editor in London before Breitbart added him to the Huffington Post lineup and a little movie called "Facing the Giants" was headed for obscurity until Andrew added a link to a story that the film had been rated PG for excessive religious content. 

Today Gutfeld is a star on Fox News Channel and the filmmakers behind "Giants" went on to box office glory and two subsequent hit movies and none of that would have happened in the way it did without Andrew Breitbart.

Here's a story I want to share that I believe best illustrates who Andrew Breitbart was: We had once spoken at a media conference together and a student from that conference later contacted me saying that he and a group of protesters were marching against human trafficking on the beach when Andrew came out to the balcony of a restaurant he was eating at, and gave the group the middle finger and told them to get lost. 

Puzzled, I asked Andrew what had happened. 

He then wrote the student personally, profusely apologizing, explaining that he had thought the group was protesting the Iraq war

Classic Andrew.

I was a recipient of his largesse when he brought me in to be a contributor at the Huffington Post at its launch in 2005. 

This week he was on my mental list of people to call. I just never got around to it. 

I wish I had. 

Although it's customary to wish that those who have departed will "rest in peace," that just doesn't seem appropriate or relevant in the case of one of the greatest rabble-rousers of our time. In fact, he might very well have considered it an insult.

A few years back, Andrew and I sat down for an interview that gives a good overview of his life. It's posted here.

The literal meaning of adieu is "To God" while "Au Revoir" means "until re-seeing."

So to my friend Andrew I say: adieu and au revoir.

Mark Joseph is a producer, author and publisher of Bullypulpit.com.

Mark Joseph is a film producer and marketing expert who has worked on the development and marketing of 25 films. His most recent book is The Lion, The Professor & The Movies: Narnia’s Journey To The Big Screen.