Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Steve Dunleavy and Me.

Over at Gawker they're bidding a fond-ish farewell to tabloid reporter, Steve Dunleavy, who is on his way to retirement. As part of their celebration they're asking for Dunleavy stories.

I've got a couple of reminiscences. And it gives me a chance to show off a picture of me and Steve I never thought I'd have the opportunity to share.

In 1988 I was interning at the TV show A Current Affair where Steve was a reporter. I remember him being very cool and very flashy and a world-class smoker. He had landed an interview with Ronald Defeo, the man who had murdered his family in the house that later became known as The Amityville Horror. Steve was going out to Long Island to shoot some more footage and I asked him if I could tag along. He didn't have to say yes. I was just an intern. But he said sure, and before I knew it, I was in a car with him on the way to Amityville, hearing great stories about his career. For example, he had once slit the tires on his own father's (also a reporter) car to keep him from beating Steve to a story. Another thing he was quite proud of was he claimed to have written the book that killed Elvis. Apparently it was rumored that a book Steve had written, Elvis - What Happened? had been pried from The King's cold dead fingers - he had been reading it on the toilet when he'd had a heart attack.

After A Current Affair I went to work on the rookie season of Good Day New York - Fox's local morning show. My job was to get in early, get the coffee going and pull gossip stories from the wire. When I say early, I mean like 4AM early. On more than one occasion I would come in to find Steve and several author Aussie reporters and producers crashed out on office desks they had pushed together. Apparently they would drink hard at the Racing Club across the street and not bother going home.

Anyway, I ended up playing DeFeo in one of A Current Affair's patented re-enactments. And I got a cool picture as a souvenir. Cheers, Steve! Enjoy your retirement.

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