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TheStreet Open House

Kass: RIP, Dan 'The Man' Dorfman

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- On Saturday I got the bad news that my old pal Dan Dorfman had passed away.

There are two journalists who helped my career when I was a lot younger and "wet behind the ears": Barron's Alan Abelson and Dan Dorfman. I owe both of them quite a lot for the platforms they gave me in the media over the years, and for their friendship.

Today's business commentators -- and an entire network, CNBC -- owe Dan a lot, too. He paved their way and provided a template, in the early days, of "hard-hitting" and "market-moving" journalism. Just ask commentators such as Ron Insana, Dennis Gartman, Herb Greenberg, Bill Griffith, Dan Kadlec as to the importance of his influence on their craft.

His pedigree wasn't fancy. He grew up in an orphanage. His early years were spent in West Hempstead, N.Y., the Long Island town next to Rockville Centre, where I grew up. He graduated from the New York School of Print the year that I was born, 1949.

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In the 1980s he was a featured commentator on CNN (often appearing with Myron Kandell) and eventually went to CNBC in the 1990s. Dan was also the influential author of The Wall Street Journal's "Heard on The Street Column" in the 1980s. During his career he wrote for New York Magazine, Money, USA Today and The New York Sun, and his columns were syndicated around the world.

In my view Dan was one of the most important contributors -- arguably the most important and influential contributor -- to the great success that CNBC holds today. Who can forget the unparalleled influence he had on stocks during a period when there was no Internet, and when the delivery of timely market/company news was not as broad as it is today?

Several times a week, at 12:30 p.m. sharp, Dan would appear on CNBC with breaking news on a company, a potential takeover, a 13D filing or a significant analyst opinion change. Individual stocks moved so sharply when Dan mentioned them that the Chicago Board of Options instituted "The Dorfman Rule," which would compel exchange authorities to halt trading in a stock to which Dan referred on television. The Nasdaq instituted "The Dorfman Rule" as well.

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