We’re just getting the news: gossip king Richard Johnson is retiring from the New York Post. He’s been in the game 41 years. He’s 65 years old, and he’s had enough.
Richard isn’t dead so this isn’t a eulogy. But even in the last few years when he was appearing three times a week, Richard could not be underestimated. He always got great stories, real scoops that no one else had. I was always jealous! He got the best material. Sources loved him. And he was fearless. He’s a real reporter.
His long run at Page Six was interrupted in the 2000s when Mort Zuckerman lured him from the Post to the Daily News years ago. But Mort didn’t like real gossip, especially about his friends. Little by little, he moved Richard from the front of the paper to the back. One day I joked with him that he was headed to the sports section! It didn’t work out, and eventually Richard returned to the Post.
More recently, he was almost lured to the Hollywood Reporter by then editor Janice Min. But the word was that Rupert Murdoch wouldn’t let him out of his contract– even for vast remuneration. So Richard stayed local. I think that was smart. He’s a born and bred New Yorker, and he has that history in his blood. Hollywood would have been too small a pond for a big fish!
So I’m sorry to see him stop. Richard joins a long list of our friends who’ve come and gone over the years, including George Rush and Joanna Molloy, Mitchell Fink, and so on. Our dear Liz Smith is in heaven. Only Cindy Adams remains, and she’s never leaving, I hope!
Raise a toast to Richard tonight– and to whatever he does next. I’m sure it will be a rousing success!