Don DeLillo was David Foster Wallace's hero and mentor. Some day a fine book will be made out of their correspondence. When I first visited Wallace in Normal, Ill., a few months before Infinite Jest was published in 1996, he had letters from DeLillo taped to the cabinets in his kitchen -- the better to reread as he heated up a can of soup for dinner, I guess. (I told him this was going to be perfect fodder for anyone who came to interview him, and he immediately took them down.)
The last time I saw Wallace in public was at an event in San Francisco in 2003 or thereabouts with Rick Moody. It was billed as a conversation between the two, but all the questions came from Wallace, which wasn't what the crowd wanted. They wanted answers from their hero.