Monday, April 22, 2024

Last Round Up for NY’s Gossip Columnists as We Gather to Toast Richard Johnson’s Retirement (for Now)


Richard Johnson says he’s going to play golf and kick back all summer. We’ll see how long that lasts.

But last night in the East Village at bar 2A former NY King of Gossip Richard gathered the best and the brightest from his world for a toast to the good old days of gossip. It was one of the best goodbyes I’ve ever attended.

The well-selected gang include former Daily News reporters George Rush and Joanna Molloy, Mitchell Fink (also ex Daily News), former Page Sixers Paula Froehlich, Chris Wilson, Kimberly Ryan, Frank DiGiacomo (now a big shot at Billboard), and Flo Anthony, star NY Post real estate writer Jennifer Keil, the Post’s famed media reporter Keith Kelly, former NY Post TV writer Jill Brooke, and even some top tier publicists like Norah Lawlor, Couri Hay, and Matthew Hiltzik. Everybody was excited to talk to Joanna Molloy about the movie sale of her book, “The Greatest Beer Run Ever.” No one deserves that success like our Joanna!

Also in the mix, and I was glad to see them at this quasi reunion: the great Monie Begley (ex PR diva of the Forbes empire), the legendary Anthony Haden-Guest, Dan Klores, Harry Dubin, Marisa Acocella, George Wayne, Yankees exec John Mosley, and Richard’s attorney pal Pete Gleason, who regaled us with stories we cannot repeat (for now). Richard’s lovely wife Sessa von Richthofen didn’t hesitate when I offered to take hubby to lunch soon. “Good, please, get him out of the house!” she cracked wise.

Since the early 80s, our little gossip press world in New York has revolved around Richard. That includes Liz Smith (of blessed memory) and Cindy Adams. It extended to New York Magazine, too, where I came into the picture. People came and went from jobs, traded jobs, filled in for each other, but Richard was the stable presence. New York, at least for now, will be the poorer for not having him around. But I can’t imagine that will last long.

Work on that putt, Richard. Summer goes fast!

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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