Bourdain Would Be on Medicare Today

By Karen

Today would have been Anthony Bourdain’s 65th birthday and he’d have his Medicare card. Seems hard to believe, doesn’t it?

In 2019, Tony’s friends Eric Ripert and José Andrés began the tradition of June 25 being #BourdainDay to celebrate Tony’s memory, if you care to. proposed five ways to honor Bourdain that I like, so I won’t repeat them, but I recommend them.

Instead, I’ll share some new and personal tidbits I’ve gathered…

Tony’s Last Home – His apartment in the former Time Warner building, now called Deutsche Bank Center, is available again. Bourdain paid $13K a month, the next tenants paid $14.2K. The cachet has apparently worn off because the asking price has dropped to $12K. I immediately wondered if the place is haunted.

I think I’ve been watching too much Paranormal: Caught on Camera.

If you’re interested, it’s a two bedroom, two bath, 1,200-square foot unit with a downright blah kitchen and no charm whatsoever except its panoramic river view. Photos.

Les Halles, the PopUp – Tony’s pre-fame employer, Brasserie Les Halles in NYC, is reopening as a popup from Friday, July 9 through Sunday, July 11 to serve a $95 three-course prix-fixe meal that includes French onion soup, steak frites au poivre and dessert. Reservation required. The restaurant has been closed since 2017.

Roadrunner Documentary – This film is out there now, having premiered June 11 at the Tribeca Film Festival, but it’s hitting theaters and HBO Max July 16. I’ve heard it may have a limited run, so it may be on CNN by this fall?

I get HBO Max, so I’ll probably watch it there in private in case I’m overwhelmed. But if you can’t wait, the American Film Institute is showing it TONIGHT only at 8 p.m. – midnight EDT online. I think admission is $15. Sign up here.

I don’t want to give away spoilers (not that I know many), but I’ve read some disturbing reviews of it. Director Morgan Neville gave this insightful interview to

I think it’s OK to share that three women in Bourdain’s life do not NOT have substantive roles. They are: 1) first wife Nancy, 2) Italian girlfriend, and 3) daughter Ariane.

Reasons: 1) relevance to the years covered; 2) we know this could have gone either way, but Neville realized she’s written her own script, and it wouldn’t have added clarity; and 3) privacy.

Upcoming Bourdain Books – Publication of Laurie Woolever’s Bourdain: The Definitive Oral Biography has been advanced from October 12 to September 28. That gives you two weeks to read it before Tom Vitale’s book, In the Weeds: Around the World and Behind the Scenes with Anthony Bourdain, is published on October 12.

I wrote about both of these back in May, and I’ve learned a bit more about Vitale’s book. It’s a memoir of his many years filming with Tony, so behind-the-scenes stories galore, probably many we’ve never heard. The cover that currently appears on Amazon, which I dissed in May, is actually THE cover.

Almost forgot: Cats Working gets a mention in In the Weeds. In what context, I don’t really know. Apparently, my years-long coverage got Tony’s attention more than I ever imagined.

To finish on a personal note with the books, I’m almost finished with World Travel: An Irreverent Guide, and when I got to Trinidad and Tobago, a line Laurie Woolever used from Parts Unknown made me put the book down for a week to process it. Tony is quoted as saying…

“Tobago is what you hope for when you waddle away from the buffet on the SS Norway [bold mine] cruise ship. Lazy beach days, boat drinks, villas, all set to a calypso beat.”

Except that I just watched the episode on HBO Max (with earphones) to write this and what he actually said (at 37:18) was, “SS Norwalk.” Close enough to be suspicious, but I’m taking it as random.

Context: the Norway was “my” ship from 1988–2003. I sailed 23 times and had life-changing experiences, but I’ve published almost nothing about them. It stunned me to think that he could have read enough of my work to mention the ship because it had been long destroyed by then.

But as it turns out, he didn’t.

Tony presumably on Tobago

12 Responses to Bourdain Would Be on Medicare Today

  1. Alison Harrison says:

    Do you think he was a just a scared and scarred, lonely guy searching for the warmth and comfort of home but he could never quite find it?

  2. catsworking says:

    Allison, I wrote a response to you but for some reason it didn’t show up. I must have clicked the wrong thing.

    No, I don’t think he couldn’t find the warmth and comfort of home. He had it, but like a feral cat, he enjoyed being part of a family and cared for — to a point — but simply couldn’t be kept indoors for long and had go back out and roam. He became addicted to travel to the point that it untethered him from his “real” life, and he didn’t know how to kick the habit. The loved ones he kept leaving behind had no choice but to move on and live their lives, which only made him feel more cut off.

    I think this cycle would have continued until he physically couldn’t take the punishment of travel anymore and chose to retire from it. Then he’d have settled down to devote himself to writing and producing and felt some sense of completion.

    What no one could have foreseen was the monkey wrench that Italian girlfriend threw into his life, wrecking any semblance of work-home balance he had previously tried to maintain with Ottavia. When the GF showed him (through her romp with another man in front of paparazzi, RIGHT after doing a shoot with Tony in Florence) that SHE would never be the home he needed, he went WTF and checked out.

    I suspect the documentary will bear this out when the people who knew him give their perspectives, although they will carefully avoid directly blaming the GF, or their blame will stay on the cutting room floor.

  3. GlamourMilk says:

    Hey there,
    Below, a snippet from a review of the documentary.
    Meanwhile, AA has been in full damage-control-mode on her Instagram today talking about how Tony was the best man she ever met. I’d say he’s the best thing that ever happened to her public image, and leave it at that.

    ‘He started a relationship with actor Asia Argento, who appeared in a Rome episode of “Parts Unknown” (Argento is not interviewed in “Roadrunner”). He became an ardent supporter of the #MeToo movement and was Argento’s rock as she publicly alleged that she was raped by Harvey Weinstein at the Cannes Film Festival. Bourdain’s support was so absolute, his focus so singular, friends say, that he would give you the cold shoulder if you even had the appearance of not being just as supportive. Busia-Bourdain says he had become obsessed.

    Bourdain went to therapy and saw his family less and less. He said and did some hurtful things to people he cared about, and fired a longtime friend who clashed with Argento on the “Parts Unknown” set when she directed an episode of the series….

    While “Roadrunner” sets Bourdain’s story up as one that would always conclude with an unhappy ending — another assertion relayed by his own words — it also doesn’t shy away from applying a magnifying glass to his final days.

    As he filmed in France, people working on the show sensed that Bourdain was angry.

    Tabloid photos of Argento with another man emerged when Bourdain was working on “Parts Unknown.” When a friend asked him if he was OK, he told them that Argento should’ve had more discretion.

    Those close to Bourdain noticed when he posted on social media before his death, sharing an Instagram video with music from the 1970 film “Violent City,” which is about a man who seeks revenge on a woman who betrayed him.

    The implication here can be read as causative or just one more contributing factor for why Bourdain took his life when he did. Friends reflect on messages he sent, on what he said, on signs he wasn’t OK. They wish they said more…’

  4. catsworking says:

    Welcome, GlamourMilk, and thanks for this review.

    I deliberately don’t seek out AA online unless she’s somehow thrown into my path. As half Italian myself, I think she’s coarse and gross and not a credit to Italy. I throw up a little in my mouth to think Bourdain was all over that.

    It doesn’t surprise me at all that she’s gotten defensive. Probably waiting to see the documentary to ferret out any potential defamation lawsuit targets.

    Remember, she posted on Instagram around the time he died a photo of herself wearing a T-shirt that said something like “Fuck you,” and then added “You know who you are,” then yanked it when his death came out. It was clearly intended to hurt him and implicated her as a cause, if not THE cause.

    Next thing we saw was an hysterical video of Rose Somebody (what’s her last name? Baldish. I’m drawing a blank) establishing herself as AA’s spokesperson (because AA was TOO distraught to speak herself), wailing with grief. Puleez!

    Like many of us, I’m sure those who knew Tony and worked with him feel that she bears a lot of responsibility because she knew he was besotted with her. I remember reading shortly after his death how people saw all the red flags and wished they had staged an intervention. It was like he lost his mind where she was concerned. Another addiction.

  5. feijicha says:

    I’ll add this just for people’s awareness of the spin machinery AA has activated to capitalize on his birthday to draw attention to herself, to remind people of her connection to him, and to, I suspect, proactively try and deflect the negative impression of her that will undoubtedly come from these forthcoming films etc. What a slime ball she is.

    For those who undertandably don’t want to click, I highlight:

    The “Queen Margot” actress found herself on the receiving end of a backlash after Bourdain’s 2018 death, accusing her of contributing to Bourdain’s suicide with her infidelity.

    Two months after his death, Argento spoke out.

    “People say I murdered him. They say I killed him. I understand that the world needs to find a reason. I would like to find a reason too,” she said in a DailyMailTV interview.

    “People need to think that he killed himself for something like this. He cheated on me too. It wasn’t a problem for us.”

    She continued, “He was a man who traveled 265 days a year. When we saw each other, we took really great pleasure in each other’s presence, but we are not children. We are grown-ups.”

    “What I do feel terrible about is that he had so much pain inside of him and I didn’t see it. I did not see it and for that, I will feel guilty for the rest of my life,” she said.

  6. catsworking says:

    feijicha, I saw this article and all the photos and video clips she posted of him. The tiny one where he says he’s cold and wishes he were with her absolutely tore my heart out, as she intended. But it wasn’t for the reason she hopes. Instead of feeling sorry for her, I felt sorry for HIM that he was so low, he thought she was what he needed. It only makes her betrayal of him with her boy toy Hugo that last week of Tony’s life all the more cruel and heinous. Like stomping on a helpless puppy.

    In the still photos of them together, he was looking at her like a lovestruck teenager, while she was always looking at the camera with either a numb or calculating expression.

    The irrefutable fact is that AA is almost without doubt the last person who saw or spoke to or texted him alive. She knows what was said. She knows what his state of mind was. The very fact that she claims she “didn’t see” his pain is evidence that not only did she see it, but probably secretly revels in knowing she caused much of it because it gave her a sense of power over him.

    Like Trump, she has a narcissistic personality and it’s all about power and projection. She knows when that documentary reaches general audiences, she’s going to feel the backlash all over again and she’s trying to do damage control and make it about herself and what a pathetic victim she is.

    If she’s faced the slightest consequence after his death, it’s being excluded from the documentary, denying her a chance to do her hysterical schtick on camera for an international audience and wail about how he was her rock and left her and her children destitute, without a thought about how her behavior, from beginning to end, affected his own daughter.

    She will never get one iota of pity or absolution from me.

  7. GlamourMilk says:

    ‘The very fact that she claims she “didn’t see” his pain is evidence that not only did she see it, but probably secretly revels in knowing she caused much of it because it gave her a sense of power over him.’

    Option 1)
    She genuinely didn’t see he was in pain because she’s so narcissistic and selfish that she can only see herself and cater to her own needs.

    Option 2)
    She saw his pain but just saw it as an opportunity to control him and get as much money and connections out of him as possible. And like you say above; ‘secretly revelling in the pain she caused and the power she had over him.’

    As an aside, seeing that video she has now posted twice: How can you possibly look at that and not see a person who’s suffering (beyond just ‘being cold’ and missing someone). If my boyfriend sent me a video like that I’d be deeply concerned about his well-being and not just think, ‘Oh, he must be really missing me.’ Also, it’s a very personal video. How can she think it’s a good idea to make that public, for any other reason than for the sake of her public image? There’s absolutely no other plausible reason to make it public. Basically, she herself posts the very proof that she is a cruel POS that didn’t care about the person in the video (Tony). If she cared about him, she’d never have posted it. She’s such a troll – it’s embarrassing. Can’t believe she still has followers. Must be the Trump syndrome (as you’ve pointed out before); the kind of people who follow her _ even the ones who don’t consider themselves Trump followers – are the same kind of people who think that it’s cool to be cruel. Surely there can’t be anyone left who thinks she wasn’t at the very least partially responsible for Tony’s suicide. I believe this will also be explored in the upcoming documentary, getting as close to the truth as they possibly can without causing too much trouble for Ottavia and Ariane.

  8. catsworking says:

    GlamourMilk, I take Option 2.

    Before I got kicked off Twitter and was seeing a lot about her behavior, the parallels between her possible mental illness and Trump’s were constant and scary. This is why I believe she fully knew Tony was in pain, and how to inflict more, to gain the upper hand. She and Trump were probably kids who pulled the wings off flies to watch them suffer.

    And like Trump’s cult, her followers see her as the poor victim of the suicide because that’s how she’s always spun it, just like Trump’s always saying he’s the victim of everyone and everything.

    That video Tony took of himself “being cold” was a cry from the soul. I must have watched it 10 times the other day. It was so raw and disturbing, she is truly a monster to keep putting it out there. It must make the people who wish they’d staged an intervention want to kick themselves. And it does reveal what a clueless, heartless thing she is.

    What’s next with her to get attention? Dick pics?

    From what I’ve read about the documentary, the people who worked on shoots with Tony and the troll may have something to say about her possible culpability, but Eric and Ottavia won’t go there. I suspect there’s fear of litigation. The troll needs a new meal ticket, and will probably parse every word for any hint of defamation she can pounce on. If people stick to the facts of what they observed, they’re in the clear.

  9. GlamourMilk says:

    ‘What’s next with her to get attention? Dick pics?’

    Wouldn’t surprise any of us if she released dick pics or naked videos. That’s the kind of thing a lowlife like her would do. Again, her way of being able to control the narrative – at least to some extent. At the moment, she’s playing the ‘loving widow’ role. My guess is she’ll play that role until the documentary comes out. And then? Maybe she’ll go into revenge-mode. We’ll see. Looking forward to seeing it. Even though it also features people like John Lurie, who hadly knew him and also supported AA in the aftermath of Tony’s death, I think most of the people in the documentary are people who knew Tony well and really, genuinely cared about him, and some of whom knew exactly what happened and how horribly AA treated him.

  10. catsworking says:

    GlamourMilk, I watched “Painting with John,” a series he did recently for HBO because I knew he talked about Tony. He said they were supposed to schedule a lunch when he heard about the suicide, and it pissed him off that Bourdain would do that. Like everybody, he couldn’t wrap his head around it. He never mentioned the girlfriend.

    I think the fact that CNN pulled all episodes she appeared in or was involved with is damning enough, especially since Bourdain himself said he considered Hong Kong the “pinnacle” of his TV career.

    The director has said many of the people in the documentary said they’re talking about Tony for the first and only time, so I imagine what they have to say is pretty disturbing and she’ll be forced into damage control mode once we all see it.

    I have seen that the director did not interview longstanding cameraman (and 3-time Emmy winner) Zach Zamboni, whom Tony fired during the Hong Kong shoot for somehow running afoul of the no-talent, wannabe-genius girlfriend. He undoubtedly would have had an interesting perspective on that situation.

  11. GlamourMilk says:

    About John Lurie:
    I like Lounge Lizards, I liked Lurie as an actor in Down by Law and Stranger Than Paradise. I quite enjoyed Fishing With John. He can be very witty on Twitter – though also a bit of an asshole, which he sometimes acknowledges. I like a lot of his paintings – I even bought a copy of one of them (not the same one as Tony bought, which I actually don’t like that much). I don’t know what Lurie’s thinking but I do know that his reaction after Tony’s death was to support AA. He also said himself that he only met Tony very recently (I think, only once for the shoot of the LES episode) and didn’t know him but was looking forward to getting to know him better. He was angry (on Twitter) about the painting he sold to Tony getting sold at auction after Tony’s death. He seemed to support AA more than Ottavia, that’s for sure. He could have thought things through and understood that a painting Tony bought at a time of being in despair and just before his suicide would possibly only serve as a reminder of sadness for Tony’s family. In addition, AA says in her book (it might be true or it might be one of her many lies) that she was the one who told Tony to buy the painting by Lurie (among other of her artist friends, like Brad Phillips). So if that’s true and if Ottavia is aware of that, why would she keep a painting that Tony bought on reccomendation by the very person who caused his downfall? Anyway, we’ll see what they all have to say in the documentary.

    About Zamboni:
    I’d also liked to have heard his take on things. I guess he didn’t want to be involved? He was probably hurt and disappointed that Tony let his skank cause such trouble on set.

  12. catsworking says:

    Glamour, I don’t know why Zach isn’t the documentary, but it doesn’t seem there would be any reason not to ask him.

    Tony’s Lurie painting shows up in the credits of the HBO show, where they showed a series of them. That Tony chose the one titled, “The sky is falling. I’m learning to live with it,” pretty much says it all about his state of mind at the time. I don’t remember if the girlfriend introduced him to Lurie, but Tony visited Lurie in his apartment, where Lurie boiled eggs. He said he felt that he and Tony really hit it off and he thought they’d become long-term friends.

    Lurie himself is quite a mess. When he shot the HBO show, he was living on a Caribbean island with two women helping him out with cooking and cleaning. I think he said he has Lyme disease, but he’s only functional a few hours a day. Apparently, he’s always in a lot of pain and not too with it. But he was pretty funny in an ironic way. I loved watching him paint. I’d never heard of him before seeing him on “Parts Unknown.”

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