First, he was a dedicated gossip, who not only voraciously absorbed as much information as was available - and an astonishing amount it was - both about his own circle and about almost anyone in the world of entertainment and the arts (and, while profoundly cultured, his appetite for even the highest arts was based on their entertainment value) but acted as a highly efficient clearing-house for such gossip. I found that, on his occasional visits to London, he knew far more about what was going on in the West End theatre and opera than had come my way as a permanent resident here. He knew who was getting new jobs, who was getting sacked, what apparently successful shows were about to close, where was the best and cheapest new place to eat (with full menus, especially the sweet dishes, gloatingly retailed).
Second, he was a dedicated friend who really worked at friendship. Not only did he keep up indefatigably with his very wide circle of acquaintance, but he was constantly doing visitors to New York unsolicited favours - obtaining tickets for booked-out plays, finding the exact place where an obscure recording could be obtained, supplying carefully hoarded coupons which would provide taxi-rides at a discount. In many ways naive, despite his own belief that he was extremely sophisticated, he often amused friends who would exchange the latest Oleg story. The amusement, however, was always affectionate, and his long, informative, and ever so slightly barbed telephone calls will be missed very much by those who were lucky enough to be on his long list.