How a lawyer from the Valley created a gossip empire.
A chance encounter with a movie star on an airplane.
"Roy Spivey shifted in his seat, waking. I quickly shut my own eyes, and then slowly opened them, as if I, too, had been sleeping. Oh, but he hadn’t quite opened his yet. I shut mine again and right away opened them, slowly, and he opened his, slowly, and our eyes met, and it seemed as if we had woken from a single sleep, from the dream of our entire lives. Me, a tall but otherwise undistinguished woman; he a distinguished spy, but not really, just an actor, but not really, just a man, maybe even just a boy."
How a 26-year-old cocktail waitress ended up running a private weekly poker game for some of Hollywood’s highest rollers.
Excerpted from Molly's Game.
How the actress masterfully shapes her public image.
A disillusioned actress, retiring from show business, moves to the Midwest.
"And so she left Hollywood. Phoned her agent and apologized. Went home to Chicago, rented a room by the week at the Days Inn, drank sherry, and grew a little plump. She let her life get dulldull, but with Hostess cakes. There were moments bristling with deadness, when she looked out at her life and went 'What?' Or worse, feeling interrupted and tired, 'Wha--?' It had taken on the shape of a terrible mistake. She hadn't been given the proper tools to make a real life with, she decided, that was it. She'd been given a can of gravy and a hairbrush and told, "There you go." She'd stood there for years, blinking and befuddled, brushing the can with the brush.
A media firestorm circles around a lucky amateur magician.
"By now, the actual doing of the spellthe Clean Castingfelt like a weird dream that Peter had concocted after too many drinks. The more people made a fuss about it, the more he felt like he’d made the whole thing up. But he could still picture it. He’d gotten one of the stone spellcasting bowls they sold on late-night cable TV, and little baggies of all the ingredients, with rejected prog rock band names like Prudenceroot or Womanheart, and sprinkled pinches of them in, while chanting the nonsense syllables and thinking of his desired aim."
A celebrity moves into the neighborhood, subtly disrupting the habits of the other residents.
"We watched the actress command and coordinate the movers like a veteran general. She was dressed in clothes geared for comfort: charity t-shirt, pink sweatpants. She wasn't wearing any makeup and her hair was tied in a loose braid. Chudley was panting heavily."
A profile of Roseanne Barr and her multiple personalities.
A melancholic Billy Ray Cyrus on the trauma of being the father of a famous 18-year-old girl, his friendship with Kurt Cobain, and his favorite mullet nicknames (Kentucky Waterfall and Missouri Compromise).
He came home from Vietnam, wrote the novel that became Full Metal Jacket, was nominated for an Oscar and riding high. Then he got thrown in jail for stockpiling stolen library books, started drinking, cut off his friends and fled to a remote Greek island. He never made it back.
The backstory of “The Duke in His Domain,” Truman Capote’s 1957 New Yorker profile of Marlon Brando.
A profile of the Hollywood star-maker behind Vanna White, Pamela Anderson and Jenny McCarthy.
“Being Justin Bieber means having an endless number of T-shirts to destroy.” A profile of the pop star just after his 18th birthday.
The phrase “knew how to wear clothes” is a loaded one. To “know how to wear clothes” is another way of saying that Cary Grant embodied class, which is to say high class: Grant wore well-tailored clothes, and he knew how to hold himself in them. But he came from nothing, and the way he wore clothes was just as much of a performance as his refined trans-Atlantic accent, his acrobatic slapstick routines, and his masterful flirtation skills.
It's a glorious thing, hearing Eddie Murphy say "fuck" again. Few people ever said it better – and down here in the basement of the stone-and-marble mansion he built on a Beverly Hills cliff, it's coming from his lips often enough to make Shrek blush. "Come on, motherfucker," Murphy shouts, over the throb of James Brown's "Hot Pants" on a formidable sound system.
Rick Barry has a problem. He would like people to regard him with love and affection, as they do Jerry West and John Havlicek. They do not.
An interview with Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone writer Vanessa Grigoriadis on the finer points of celebrity profiling.
Less than half a decade after The Hills brought them massive celebrity, Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt are broke and his living in his parent’s vacation house. Their onscreen relationship was mostly fake, but the reality, as their current situation attests, was far worse:
By the end of 2009 (and the show’s fifth season), their lives seemed insane. Instead of riding bikes, Spencer was holding guns. Heidi’s plastic surgeries gave her a distorted quality, but she vowed to have more. Spencer grew a thick beard, became obsessed with crystals, and was eventually told to leave the series. There were daily updates on gossip sites about them “living in squalor,” publicly feuding with their families, and attacking The Hills producers (or claiming The Hills producers attacked them). By the time they announced they were (fake) splitting, followed by Spencer threatening to release various sex tapes, and Heidi (fake) filing for divorce, it seemed like they had ventured into, at best,Joaquin Phoenix-like, life-as-performance-art notoriety and, at worst, truly bleakStar 80 territory that could end with one or both of them dead.
Dr. Drew has turned addiction television into a mini-empire, offering treatment and cameras to celebrities who have fallen far enough to take the bait. His motivations, he insists, are pure:
Whether the doctor purposefully cultivates his celebrity stature for noble means or wittingly invites it because he himself likes being in the spotlight, he is operating on the assumption that his empathetic brand of TV will breed empathy instead of the more likely outcome, that it will just breed more TV.
A profile of Chris Evans, star of the upcoming Captain America:
At this point, which was a…number of drinks in, it was easy to forget that it really was an interview, and I'd be lying if I said it didn't cross my mind that something might happen (and that we'd go to the Oscars and get married and have babies forever until we died?). But there was always the question of how much of it was truly Chris Evans, and whom I should pretend to be in response.
The rise, fall and stubborn survival of a teenage Internet celebrity who discovered that the real world can be a very scary place.
On what you do when you can do whatever what you want.
Is Dr. Drew’s “Celebrity Rehab” therapy or tabloid voyeurism?
The comedian and veteran of MTV’s The State on a peculiar brand of stardom. “Often people would be like, I’m such a big fan of your work. I think you’re amazing. I want to have a career like yours. And I’m like, great, can you buy me a slice of pizza?”
Six months after playing an electric guitar at the Newport Folk Festival, a rambling Dylan holds forth on style, songwriting, and fame. “People have one great blessing—obscurity—and not really too many people are thankful for it.”
On the dilemmas facing a (very famous) working mother in New York City. “It is less dangerous to draw a cartoon of Allah French-kissing Uncle Sam—which, let me make it very clear, I have not done—than it is to speak honestly about this topic.”
Reporting from inside the Church’s Celebrity Centre in Los Angeles.
A profile of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, written at the midpoint of his career.
A profile of 12-year-old actress Elle Fanning, Dakota’s sister.
A “fanatical Lynch fan from way back,” David Foster Wallace visits the set of Lost Highway, never actually talks to the director, and writes a profile.
Where crazy things seem normal and normal things seem crazy.
Christian Audigier is the man behind Von Dutch and Ed Hardy. The massive succes of his garish and expensive creations may say more about the power of celebrity than about fashion.
An awkward journalist-Russell Crowe friendship turns even more awkward.