Winchell: gossip, power, and the culture of celebrity
In 1925, Winchell brought unabashed gossip to the public press. He understood how invading the lives of the famous and revealing their secrets empowered both purveyor and audience, and forever shattered the taboo against what could be said about celebrities in the media. He soon rose from gossip monger to one of the country's most influential political commentators: in his heyday, two thirds of American adults listened to his weekly radio broadcast or read his daily column. He chatted with Damon Runyon and J. Edgar Hoover, savaged his enemies (including Dorothy Parker, Josephine Baker and Arthur Miller) and made reputations (including Arthur Godfrey, Lucy and Desi, Rowan and Martin), embraced the New Deal and then McCarthyism. An examination of his life illustrates how fame is achieved, how it is lost, what one gains from it, what it exacts, and why America is obsessed with it.--From publisher description.