Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Bestselling “Passages” Writer Gail Sheehy Tragic Irony: She Wrote About Isolating and Beating COVID A Week Before She Died


There’s some confusion about how and why bestselling writer of “Passages,” Gail Sheehy, 83, died day before yesterday, August 24th.

Her daughter, Maura, said in her New York Times obituary that Sheehy went to visit her boyfriend in Sag Harbor, contracted pneumonia, and died, possibly of COVID-19. She tells me this morning: “We have no confirmation of Covid. She tested negatively for both COVID and antibodies when she arrived at the hospital and we are waiting for results from another test. It may just be a very bad, very virulent pneumonia. She had a bad pneumonia a year ago that took a long time to recover from. It happens.”

But it was just a week ago, on August 18th, that Sheehy posted a blog to Psychology Today‘s website called “How I’m Beating COVID Isolation with a Dog and a 95-Year-Old Boyfriend.”

Sheehy writes that she’s living on Central Park West, while her bf Robert Ginna is in Sag Harbor. She says: “when I can, I visit my “boy” friend in a safe, socially distanced, compliant way. I go by car and stay for the weekend. And when I can’t visit, we speak on the phone.”

She also notes: “It has been my great delight to take a jitney out to Sag Harbor on summer weekends and bunk in with Robert, going to a nearly empty patch of the beach and kicking off our shoes and sharing sandwiches and beers under an umbrella. We always took [her dog] Chollie with us. He loved chasing birds and running down to dip his nose into saltwater…We are elders who have been confined to home since the pandemic became belatedly acknowledged, but we have been able to partake in this tradition.”

But obviously the title of the blog post was tragically met with reality in the last week. What a tremendous loss.

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.

Read more

In Other News