Thursday, May 30, 2024

Conde Nast Owner Si Newhouse, 89, Has Dementia: Wheelchair Bound, Can’t Speak, “Is Doing Very Badly”


You might have wondered whatever happened to Si Newhouse, the owner of Conde Nast, and the man who gave us Anna Wintour.

It turns out the 89 year old is very ill with dementia, according to his brother Donald Newhouse. He let that slip on the Today show this morning, promoting a charity event for dementia research this week. Donald’s late wife succumbed to dementia.

Si Newhouse is the brother who turned Conde Mast into a magazine powerhouse in the 1980s. When Tina Brown’s “Vanity Fair” hit big in the late 80s, Newhouse capitalized on that success and revved up the PR machine. He tossed out Vogue editor Grace Mirabella and brought in Wintour. He brought in Details magazine, ousted Architectural Digest’s Paige Rense, and became the Napoleon of magazine publishers. He has as many huge failures as he did successes.

But in recent years, Si Newhouse has simply vanished from the public conversation about media. His illness was a well kept open secret in New York circles, just as another media mogul who everyone in town is protecting (not Rupert Murdoch, although he just seems demented).

Thanks to Donald Newhouse for letting the world know his brother’s status. Don says Si is wheelchair bound, can’t speak, and is in bad shape. “He’s lost most ability to speak, and he also has motion problems, uses a walker or a wheelchair.”

Well, that’s the worst way to live out your life for many who once towered over New York.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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