About Your Privacy on this Site
Welcome! To bring you the best content on our sites and applications, Meredith partners with third party advertisers to serve digital ads, including personalized digital ads. Those advertisers use tracking technologies to collect information about your activity on our sites and applications and across the Internet and your other apps and devices.
You always have the choice to experience our sites without personalized advertising based on your web browsing activity by visiting the DAA’s Consumer Choice page, the NAI's website, and/or the EU online choices page, from each of your browsers or devices. To avoid personalized advertising based on your mobile app activity, you can install the DAA’s AppChoices app here. You can find much more information about your privacy choices in our privacy policy. Even if you choose not to have your activity tracked by third parties for advertising services, you will still see non-personalized ads on our sites and applications. By clicking continue below and using our sites or applications, you agree that we and our third party advertisers can:
  • transfer your data to the United States or other countries; and
  • process and share your data so that we and third parties may serve you with personalized ads, subject to your choices as described above and in our privacy policy.
Entertainment Weekly

Books

Here are the best celebrity anecdotes from Tina Brown's The Vanity Fair Diaries

MacMillan

Posted on

One of the pleasures of The Vanity Fair Diaries — Tina Brown’s wickedly sharp account of her years as editor of the magazine — is her writing, the way she captures people with a few slashes of the pen. Tom Wolfe is “tall and thin like a candle in his white suit, with a dryness suddenly illuminated by joyous shafts of pure malice.” Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall “looked like Satyricon creatures at a Venetian carnival with a whiff of decadence you only see as you get close.” Rupert Murdoch’s face “has degenerated to the melting rubber mask of a cartoon character’s, like Nixon’s.” Legendary Hollywood producer Robert Evans “looked so debauched I recoiled. For all his anecdotal charm, he’s got to be the nearest thing to the devil of anyone I have ever encountered.”

Many of the book’s best anecdotes are unprintable, but here are a few of my favorites.

Norman Mailer

4/9/1984

“It was bliss having lunch with Norman Mailer today…He talked about the days he and Arthur Miller had shared the same brownstone in New York, when Mailer was writing An American Dream and Miller Death of a Salesman. ‘I must say when I saw the play I was amazed at how good it was for such a dull guy.” 

Philip Roth

4/22/88

“I found Philip Roth a bit of a disappointment last night at our dinner for Helmut Newton. I’ve always found him intriguing in pictures and on the page, but in reality he’s like an accountant, although, granted, his mean, sparkling eyes suggest something more interesting. Norman Mailer also came. I feel he was slightly put out to see Roth in our house. Some literary feud I am too ignorant to remember? Or just two big dogs who need to be kept apart?”

Michael Jackson

12/2/1989

“We were looking at Michael Jackson, wearing full makeup, with long tendrils of black hair and two curling locks stuck to each cheek with masking tape, and a huge round Band-Aid on the side of his nose. He kept looking away as he talked but was chattering affably, which astonished me because I had expected a mute weirdo who signed an autograph and vanished….I asked him how he came down to earth after his incredible live performances. ‘I read,’ he said, ‘in my hotel room. O Henry sometimes. Frank O’Hara.’ Not exactly the world’s image of him.”

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

5/18/1991

“Watching Jackie up close was mesmerizing. Her face is always slightly out of whack with her expression, as if they are two separate entities at work. She has perfected a fascinated stare. Sitting finishing-school upright in a fuchsia Carolina Herrera jacket over a dark sheath, she looks into your face, not your eyes….In fact, ‘crazed’ is what I decided about Jackie by the end of the evening. I felt if you cleared the room and left her alone, she’d be in front of a mirror, screaming.”

Donald Trump

12/10/1991

A year after a critical piece about him appeared in Vanity Fair, the writer, Marie Brenner, was at a black-tie gala “when she felt something cold and wet running down her back…the other guests started pointing and yelping, ‘Oh my God! Look what he just did!’ The he in question was Donald Trump! She saw his familiar Elvis coif making off across the Crystal Room. The sneaky, petulant infant was clearly still stewing about her takedown…and had taken a glass of wine and emptied it down her back!”

Outbrain