The job interview wouldn’t last more than 15 minutes, Richard Pazdur believed.
So, on a June morning in 1999, his wife Mary settled down to wait at a restaurant near the FDA buildings alongside Rockville Pike.
The restaurant turned out to be Hooters, and Mary ended up spending three hours at the joint known for all-you-can-eat chicken wings served by scantily clad waitresses known as Hooters Girls.
“How much Hooters coffee can you drink?” Mary said frequently, retelling the story of her introduction to FDA, Washington and cancer politics.
Rick got the job, and over 16 years, he shaped the FDA approach to drug approval, setting forth a set of criteria accepted by drug companies, academics and NCI. Mary was by his side, supportive, practical, compassionate, intuitive, and intolerant of nonsense. For most of these 16 years, she was an oncology nurse practitioner at the NIH Clinical Center. She eventually took the therapies she had worked on.
Mary died of ovarian cancer Nov. 24, 2015. She was 63.