Fings Ain’t What They Used to Be: Rex Reed


A 1968 Time Magazine profile of Rex Reed–writer, star of Myra Breckinridge, Gong Show panelist and currently a New York Observer columnist. We can’t find a byline on this, subtitled “The Hazel-Eyed Hachet Man,” but let’s just say it starts out like a bit of an earthquake and gets riper from there:

“I ADORE him,” declares Melina Mercouri. “He knows how to cry.” Says Angela Lansbury: “He has antennae most people haven’t even heard of.” Others are more to the point. “If I had an affair with Jack the Ripper,” sighs Valley of the Dolls novelist Jacqueline Susann, “the offspring would be Rex Reed.”

Here’s Reed going through his mail. Beware of low-flying names:

“Fan letter from Harold Arlen. Fan letter from Bette Davis. Fan letter from Carol Burnett. Fan letter from Henry Mancini. Just listen to what he says: ‘You not only write the melody line but also the second, third and fourth harmony parts.’ Isn’t that wonderful?

“Offer for $25,000 for a book on Peter Fonda. That’s $25,000 advance. Offer to do a syndicated column for Newsday—here and abroad. A funny letter from a girl who says she just read the Peter Fonda one and who is Holden Caulfield? Is it somebody she should know?

“An invitation to an all-day luau with David Susskind in Pound Ridge, New York. Five letters this week from personal managers wanting to manage my career. Three marriage proposals. Plus about 20 invitations to parties.”

The 28-year-old Reed’s strength as a writer at this point is his jeweler’s eye for Hollywood absurdity, demonstrated in a great closing quote from an infamous 1967 Esquire piece he wrote about Warren Beatty. Time includes it in this profile. But the magazine finds the Malibu-based Reed taking long draughts of the Kool-Aid, or in his case, Dr.Pepper (“The only place I could get it was in Angela Lansbury‘s dressing room.”). The writer decides that Rex is actually kind of a nice guy once you take him away from all the Wonderland stuff. Reading this article, it feels like quite a shame that someone did.


Tags: , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: