REVIEW: Bourdain, the Definitive Oral Biography

By Karen

Anthony Bourdain’s assistant Laurie Woolever has pulled off another remarkable feat with Bourdain: the Definitive Oral Biography, although I wonder how “definitive” it will ultimately be. I still have 100 pages to go, but I can’t wait to tell you about this book.

Woolever interviewed 91 people Tony knew throughout his life. Some are his famous friends or career-related contacts whose names I recognize, but many aren’t.

Most notably, Woolever spoke at length with Tony’s first wife Nancy (who also contributed touching never-before-seen photos) and his now-14-year-old daughter Ariane. Cats Working readers who have always wondered about these two important females in his life will be gratified by how openly they share their memories.

The book’s format surprised me in the best way. I expected 91 straight interviews, which risked becoming dull and redundant. Instead, Woolever pulled off the Herculean task of breaking each interview down by topic, then reassembling those pieces under 59 page-turning chapter headings into a miraculous chronological narrative.

Instead of picturing each person sitting across from Woolever with a tape recorder between them, it’s more like she gathered a room full of people to casually share notes on Tony topics like, “I Absolutely Always Saw a Talent in Him,” “I’m Not Gonna Censor the Guy,” “He Was a Man of Extremes,” and so on.

This, coming on the heels of her previous project, where she stitched together World Travel: An Irreverent Guide from Bourdain’s vast trove of published materials, makes me think Woolever does 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzles for fun, like those geniuses on YouTube who solve Rubik’s Cubes in 5 seconds.

Tony’s brother Chris and mother Gladys (who died in 2020) are included, and they sketch out the most complete picture yet of Tony’s father, Pierre Bourdain, and Tony’s relationship with him. The closest I’ll come to a spoiler is to say that you’ll see Tony’s parents in a whole new light, particularly Gladys.

Of course, Ottavia pops in throughout, although Nancy naturally dominates the early years when she and Tony were together, and we learn some of her side of that story for the first time. As the person who “outed” Nancy online back in 2008 in an old episode of A Cook’s Tour, I was stunned (and chagrined) by her revelations about traveling to Spain with Tony.

Nancy connected Woolever with friends who knew Tony in high school and at Vassar, but the one period where there seems to be a hole is during his CIA years (the culinary school, not the spy agency), and what kind of student he was there.

With 100 pages still to go, I haven’t quite gotten into his final years and what I know is coming, although late last night I touched the edge of that on page 330 when someone said, “And then fucking what’s-her-name entered his life…”

Woolever, keeping the wagons circled, didn’t interview “fucking what’s-her-name,” nor, I’m curious as to why, Tony’s most notorious “fixer,” Zamir.

My next observation isn’t to fault Woolever in any way, because I’m gaining (and confirming) many insights into Tony’s behavior and events.

Weirdly, many people speak of him in present tense as if he were still alive. But even so, because they and Woolever are two layers between the reader and Tony, I feel like I’m in one of those dreams where you’re searching for someone. You keep meeting people who say, “Oh, he was here a minute ago, and he did this…” but he’s always just around the next corner and out of sight and you wake up without finding him. I guess there’s no escaping this detached quality, given the secondhand material Woolever’s working with. But the people she talks to tell myriad great stories about him.

The other thing that surprised me physically about the book is the rough paper, which seems destined to turn yellow. You’d think anything with Definitive in the title would have some archival quality, but I’m guessing it was a cost decision.

Bottom line: If you’re still curious about Anthony Bourdain, this is a book to read sooner rather than later.

PS: On Tuesday, October 5, we have another Bourdain book coming out, In the Weeds: Around the World and Behind-the-Scenes with Anthony Bourdain, by Tom Vitale, who directed 100 episodes of Tony’s various travel shows. I’ve already read it and will have much, much more to come on it, so stay tuned.

Trust me, there’s virtually no overlap between these books, even though Vitale is interviewed in the Biography. I found Tom’s to be the more satisfying book because you can call it anything but detached. However, both are must-reads if you want answers to many (not all) of the questions Tony left us with. I hope we’ll have conversations here about both books, so get reading!

70 Responses to REVIEW: Bourdain, the Definitive Oral Biography

  1. feijicha says:

    The Vitale book could be interesting (and not necessarily in a good way) because he says he interviewed AA and specifically talks about how pics of her kissing that guy appeared and Tony killed himself shortly thereafter. He quotes her as saying they had an open relationship and he says she didn’t pull the trigger….https://pagesix.com/2021/10/01/anthony-bourdains-producer-tom-vitale-didnt-see-his-suicide-coming/
    An excerpt of the pagesix article:
    “Vitale also spoke to Bourdain’s last girlfriend — Italian actress Asia Argento — for the book. Days before his death, photos were published of Argento kissing and hugging a man, and some leapt to the conclusion that this led to Bourdain’s suicide. She vehemently denied the accusation in an interview, explaining that both she and Bourdain saw others outside of their relationship.

    “In the media, she has been raked over the coals for that,” Vitale said before adding, “I don’t think anyone can really pull the trigger. I mean, she didn’t pull the trigger.” “

  2. GlamourMilk says:

    If they had an open relationship, then why did she insist on Bourdain not living with Ottavia and getting angry every time he talked about her and them having to keep secret that they still saw each other (as friends), which Ottavia herself has confirmed? If it was an open relationship there’s no way he would have been so upset/angry about the ending of it. Sorry. That lie doesn’t hold up. Her idea of them having an open relationship was that SHE could fuck whoever she wanted and that HE just had to put up with that and pay for everything. Just the fact that he was so in love with her and defended her so vigorously in public proves that he considered them to be in a relationship and that she was his girlfriend. Otherwise, I don’t believe for a second he would ever have done that. Why would you risk friendships and your family-relations over someone you’re in an ‘open relationship’ with? There’s no chance that’s true. I’m not saying he can’t have slept with someone else at some point (I have no idea) but for her to dismiss the whole thing as an open relationship is no doubt her way of deflecting blame. I can’t see her as anything other than a cruel sociopath who took one step too far, with someone else’s death as a consequence, and realised, ‘Oops, I better tread carefully now for the sake of my image and social standing.’ That doesn’t make her any less guilty, just more calculating.

    As for Tom Vitale semi-defending her. Some people really don’t want to believe that others can cause someone’s suicide. Fair enough. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re correct in that assessment. I think that we, as a society, pussyfoot too much around suicide. We don’t have a problem blaming someone beating someone to death. Well, you can also ‘beat’ someone verbally/mentally to death. But maybe a lot of people find that hard to accept; either because they haven’t experienced something similar, or because they’re maybe the kind of person who themselves have been guilty of ‘beating someone up’ verbally/mentally, and therefore don’t want to accept the possibility that that could potentially lead to fatal consequences.

    I look forward to reading the book though. But moreso, the one by Woolever, though I didn’t like her previous effort which I thought was a bit of an unnecessary cop-out.

    Meanwhile, AA is promoting her shitshow of an autobiography in France where she has so far said that Tony was an alcoholic (maybe true but clearly her attempt at skirting any guilt) and that when ‘you’re in a negative state you attract negative people’ (a dig at Bourdain clearly), you cannot save someone who doesn’t want to be saved (she never tried to save shit, it was the other way round, he spent all his energy trying to ‘save her’), talking about being a buddhist and letting bad things go. Yuck! Well, good for her and her ex-partner-in-crime Rose McGowan for finding themselves. But they both have to live the rest of their lives being guilty of bullying another person to death (Bourdain and Messick), despite how much they both pretend otherwise, and regardless of people like Tom Vitale thinking that Argento didn’t ‘pull the trigger’.

    As for Argento now having become a buddhist. Well, at least that religion/philosophy will allow her to practice non-attachment which will support the idea that she hasn’t done anything wrong to anyone ever – lol.

  3. catsworking says:

    Feijicha, Vitale didn’t “interview” Asia for the book. He went to Italy looking for answers (and possibly someone to blame) and met with her. (I’m describing this to you as he wrote about it in the book.) She asked Tom about Tony’s will and what happened to all the money she thought he had. Apparently, she’d read about it in the papers. To me, that’s a clear indication of her priority in the relationship.

    We learned eventually that Bourdain’s estate was much more modest than anyone assumed, but that was because he’d already put his assets into trust or signed them over to Ottavia, so they weren’t counted in the estate. And he was kind of like his parents when it came to money (which is described in the Woolever book) and wasn’t much of a saver.

    By “not pulling the trigger,” I think Tom is just saying that she wasn’t the one who killed him directly, but the same could be said about anybody who’d ever aggravated him in his life.

    I believe that her assertions now about their “open” relationship are all BS to exonerate her for cheating on him, and to this day she feels no responsibility or remorse for his death, outside of losing access to his wallet.

    I’m going to do a deep dive into Vitale’s book soon, so if you have any questions, please put them in comments and I may be able to get you some answers.

  4. catsworking says:

    GlamourMilk, I read your comment after I responded to feijicha, and I agree with you. Did you ever see that little pathetic clip the skank posted (on Insta, I think) of Tony in some cold place, clutching his coat around his throat and saying how much he missed her and wished he was with her? It was incredibly intimate, and the most naked emotion I’ve ever seen him display, and VERY sad. That she would put that out in public speaks volumes. He was her piggy bank and fuck buddy, in that order, and she reveled in her power over him.

    In her book, she said she told him they would never live together, but he was telling people all he wanted to do was move to Italy and live out his golden years with the skank.

    Surprised to hear that she thinks she’s a Buddhist these days. Ripert must be laughing his ass off at that absurdity. I wonder where all her skulls and spiders and evil eyes fit in?

    For the record, I have no problem laying full blame on her for Tony’s death. Had they never met, he probably would have had an orderly wind-down on the travel (the pandemic might have provided the out he needed) and devoted himself to writing, producing and publishing books. And he would have remained in Ottavia and Ariane’s orbit and continued to have some stability there, which he clearly needed.

    Yes, he was a drug addict and probably alcoholic and prone to depression, but the skank knew that and encouraged all of it and used it to control him. The only person who knows what her last words to him were are the skank, and I’d bet money she dared him or taunted him into what he did. He died of of the heartbreak and humiliation she heaped on him until it was too much to bear.

    I hope you read both books because I would love to hear your take. Tom’s book is totally different and focuses on Tony while they were shooting his series. Tom worked with him through all four travel series. His perspective is much more raw than the bio, and you get a fuller picture of what it was like to be around Tony for extended periods in extreme situations, and it wasn’t pretty.

  5. GlamourMilk says:

    Cats –

    Yes, I remember that video and again, that’s not the words and tone of voice of aomeone sending a video message to someone they’re in a casual/open relationship with.

    As for what you wrote in the paragraph below, I agree:
    ‘Yes, he was a drug addict and probably alcoholic and prone to depression, but the skank knew that and encouraged all of it and used it to control him. The only person who knows what her last words to him were are the skank, and I’d bet money she dared him or taunted him into what he did. He died of of the heartbreak and humiliation she heaped on him until it was too much to bear.’

    I can’t read the two books yet ‘cos neither have been published in Europe yet, where I am, as far as I know. I pre-ordered the Woolever book as an online book, due in November I believe. The Vitale book is apparently out in the next few weeks in hardback but I haven’t seen it advertised as an ebook yet, which is the format I’d prefer.

    So Vitale talked to her in Italy and she actually asked him about Tony’s money? I mean, are you kidding?

    I know it would be a spoiler but can you say more about why/how we see Tony’s parents in a new light in the Woolever book?

  6. Bob says:

    Please remember those early days were We not I. Can’t wait to read both books however.

  7. catsworking says:

    GlamourMilk, I didn’t realize you are in Europe! Sorry to hear about the delay in your access to the books. I’ve got about 30 more pages to go in Woolever book, and the thing that people keep repeating about Tony’s relationship with the skank is that he acted like “a 16-year-old.” He really convinced himself she hung the moon, although at times he would allude to knowing she was a disaster.

    In his book, Vitale writes of his encounter with the skank as if the first thing she asks him is about the will and money, but that would need verifying. I will disclose that I’ve had several long conversations with Tom and he has agreed to be interviewed by Cats Working, which is how I got to read an advance copy of his book. I wanted to also read the Woolever book first to have the complete picture of what info is out there now, and I’ve got a ton of notes to sort out from Tom’s book before I talk to him on the record.

    As for Tony’s parents, the scoop comes from his brother Chris. I’ll share this spoiler about Gladys. She was Jewish, but changed her maiden name when she married and passed herself off as not Jewish until the boys somehow came across her real name (Sacksman, but she was spelling it Saxon) when they were teenagers and thought it sounded Jewish. When they asked her, she admitted it. Jewishness is passed down through the mother, as I understand it, so that was a pretty big thing for her to hide from them.

    I was stunned when Tony went to Israel and declared himself suddenly Jewish, because all I’d ever seen was that he’d been raised Catholic. I think he even mentioned somewhere being an altar boy. Now I know how that evolved.

    The boys always loved their father, but Gladys got increasingly more difficult as years went on. Chris fills in a lot of details about their growing up. She and Pierre split (she kicked him out) when Tony was in his 20s, but never divorced. As time went on, she became more of a problem, not demented, but demanding. The details are startling, so I’ll leave you in suspense there. Tony took his father’s sudden death at 57 harder than I ever saw him let on.

    Nancy provided some of their wedding photos, and Pierre (father) is in one of them.

  8. catsworking says:

    Bob, huh? If I’ve said “I” when it should have been “we,” it’s only because I don’t want to presume on anyone. I look back on “those early days” as the golden years for all us original Bourdainiacs, which would include you. 🙂

  9. Lorraine Elizabeth Villeneuve says:

    What did you think about Tony having lunch with Lydia Lunch and she told him she knew he was gay?

  10. Jim says:

    Bourdainiacs,

    I had mentioned in the comments a few months ago that I was considering a story about Anthony. Below is a short story about Anthony’s paternal grandfather. I don’t believe anyone connected the dots. A picture will follow. I hope Bourdain fans enjoy this piece of his ancestry.

    A STORY ABOUT ANTHONY BOURDAIN AND HIS
    “DOUGHBOY” GRANDFATHER.

    “NATIONAL WW1 MEMORIAL DEBUTS IN WASHINGTON, D.C. President Biden added, “This memorial finally will offer a chance for people to visit and reflect and to remember. More than 100 years have passed since WWI ended, but the legacy of those Doughboy’s sailing off to war, and the values they fought to defend, still live in our nation today.”
    Smithsonian Magazine. The date was April 16, 2021, and the speech was done virtually.

    “One of the most heartening and cheering things about this whole business is the infinite capacity for mutual friends that exists between the children of France and the soldiers of America.”
    The Stars and Stripes: American Expeditionary Forces Newspaper, November 29,1918.

    On July 19,1919, the U.S.S. Kroonland departed from the port of Saint-Nazaire, France with over 3,600 Army personnel. The Treaty of Versailles officially ended the Great War a few weeks earlier. Over nine million soldiers from both the victor and defeated would never return to their homeland. Another twenty-one million soldiers would go home damaged some beyond repair. Some of the “lucky” ones told stories of the war to their family and friends while others buried the mental anguish deep into within their souls. But all wanted to get on the ship before another war started.

    The gangway from an aerial view resembled ants pushing their way up a hill with a leaf on their back. Congestion was easier to handle going home than back to another military conflict. As the checklist of passengers was being signed off, one of the Army embarkation officers waited to the last minute to ready his passenger to head up the gangway. With a passport in hand, a young boy was escorted by the officer. Although the boy was dressed in military garb, the smile on his face radiated his youthfulness. However, he was treated as if he were invisible on his way onto the ramp. The officer working the list turned his back and began a conversation with the people working at the dock. Another officer at the top of the gangway bent down to tie his shoes. Thirteen-year-old Pierre Michel Bourdain waved at the soldiers leaning over the railing when he spotted Quartermaster Sergeant Arthur H. Murphy giving him the thumbs-up sign. The next stop is Hoboken, New Jersey.

    The final manifest of the U.S.S. Kroonland that represented all the passengers on board when they docked was summarized as follows:
    “Officers 294
    Army Field Clerks 3
    Nurse, A.N.C. 1
    Civ., Q. M. C. 1
    Enlisted Men 3213
    Total 3512
    And 1 French boy.”

    As reported on an official government document “Information obtained from Embarkation officials, Ellis Island (after Pierre was sent transferred from Hoboken on July 30,1919), New York. Know this passenger as a French stowaway. He was sent to Miss Kloe, representing Quartermaster Arthur H. Murphy, 773,593, whose address is 149 east 39th street (138 East 38th street ‘Allerton House’), New York City, New York, for adoption.”
    Also reported was that the boy “was placed on board the ship several minutes before the ship sailed.” 

    The New York Tribune was one of the first newspapers to tell the story of “doughboy” Pierre Michel Bourdain,
    “The Kroonland had the distinction of bringing the youngest number of the A.E.F. (American Expeditionary Force). He is Michel Bourdain, fourteen years old (thirteen years old for another two weeks after the article), dark-haired and blue-eyed. He stands five feet two and wears the Sphinx head on the collar of his blouse, denoting a civilian interpreter. He says he speaks “Amurican,” not “Engleesh.” He was accompanied by Sergeant A. A. (should be H for Howard). Murphy, who said he had the permission of the lad’s parents to adopt him.
    Bourdain helped his aged parents on a little farm at Maine-Loire, in Brittany (the actual commune of Pierre’s birth was Trelaze. The farm was located on the outskirts of the larger city Angers in western France. The Loire River was a few miles south of the farm. Trelaze is four hundred- and forty miles due East of Port Saint-Nazaire.) When the 52nd Ammunition train camped at their (the farm) Pierre thought they were the finest soldiers he had ever seen and immediately started to help them in their marketing using the little English he learned in school. The 52nd Ammunition Train moved on and was followed by the 54th Coast Artillery, “Mike” (as called by the soldiers) had accumulated quite a vocabulary and made himself invaluable to the new arrivals, none of whom spoke French. Soon they found that they could not do without him, so he was given a uniform and put on the payroll as a civilian employee interpreter at  
    225 francs a month. His parents moved to Bordeaux (the status of Pierre’s father is portrayed differently throughout the newspapers. Some say they were told he died at Verdun. However, it is documented quite frequently that his father was from Sao Pedro, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil). The parents opened a grocery store on Mike’s savings, which they realized was much more profitable than farming. Sergeant Murphy said that he is going to give Mike a good education.”

    QUARTERMASTER SERGEANT ARTHUR H. MURPHY
    He was born in Stamfordville, Duchess County, New York on September 12, 1888. His father Frank was born in Virginia and made his way to the farmlands of New York. When Frank was born in 1854 in Lynchburg, Campbell, Virginia his mother C.J. Murphy was listed as a Pauper born in New York.
    By 1910 Arthur was living in Poughkeepsie (as spelled in the manifest from the Kroonland “Pokeepsie” New York). His occupation was listed on the census as Salesman within the Candy Retail industry. At the age of twenty-nine, he enlisted in the Army at Fort Slocum in New York. He was single at the time and remained single throughout his life. Per his military record, he was promoted to sergeant on September 18, 1918, while he was overseas. When he was discharged on August 4, 1919, he had the title of Quartermaster (QMC) Sergeant. In total his time spent overseas was fourteen months. One of his stops was in the commune of Trelaze.
    The building in New York he returned to after discharge was called “Allerton House” (later renamed to Tatham). The owner of the Allerton Houses Mr. Cushman had stated in an interview “The object of the Allerton Company (and their houses) was to establish apartments with a home influence for men. To accomplish this mission the company was providing young men with a safe, stable and economical arrangement”.

    FOUR YEARS BEFORE “DOUGHBOY” PIERRE ARRIVED IN NEW YORK
    Ms. Gabrielle Riousse followed the passengers of the Lafayette through Ellis Island on December 6, 1915. She was twenty-two years of age with chestnut hair. Her eyes were also described as chestnut. Her destination and the person she listed as visiting in the United States was her sister Berthe who was married to James Corr. They were living at west 91st street in New York. Gabrielle was born in Paris where her father Alfred lived in 1915. According to her birth certificate, she was delivered on February 25, 1893, to Alfred and Ernestine Loret. Her occupation was a milliner (dressmaker).
    Gabrielle was the youngest of the two sisters. Berthe was born in 1886 and Marthe in 1890.
    When Gabrielle arrived in New York her parents were living at 13 Rue Cortambert, Paris. Her father Alfred was born in Alencon, Orne, home of Alencon lace or known as “the Queen of laces and lace for Queens”. As her parents over the years moved to different locations in Paris, they always found their way of living by the Seine River. Gabrielle and her sisters would peer across the Seine to catch a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower. Her mother Ernestine would tell them the story of the 1889 World’s Fair and the rising of the Tower. Although their mother spoke about the excitement, she felt standing underneath the Tower and looking up, the girls knew that Ernestine carried this deep sorrow about their brother Ernest who died at the age of three in 1885.
    But there was a blessing years later when their brother Gustav was born. As Gabrielle left the home of her parents and headed to the port in Bordeaux the cold breeze of a November day in Paris had her eyes tearing. But she knew that it was more than saying goodbye to the Eiffel Tower that brought on the sadness of the day. The ship Lafayette was waiting to embrace her and deliver her to America.

    Five years later, Gabrielle traveled back to see her parents and returned to New York on February 7, 1920. Where she was measured as four feet eleven inches in 1915, she was listed as five feet four inches in 1920. Her profession had changed from milliner to teacher. On the same ship accompanying Gabrielle was her sister Berthe. Both sisters sailed to France in October 1919, the same year that “Doughboy” Pierre Michel arrived in New York. The reason why both Berthe and Gabrielle felt compelled to head for Paris was based on a letter that Berthe received (contained within the passport papers),
    “Translation of a portion of a letter received from my sister-in-law (wife of their brother Gustav), regarding my sister who is ill. “I have just come back from visiting Marthe, and she doesn’t want to see me. She calls for you continually and since it was you that brought her up, I feel certain that a visit from you is the only thing that will do her any good. It is the only hope I have left, and believe if she could see you, it would do a great deal to bring her back to health.”

    NEXT STEP FOR ARTHUR MURPHY AND PIERRE MICHEL BOURDAIN (SOON TO BE NAMED MICHEL MURPHY)
    The New York Herald of September 9, 1919, provided the update:
    “YANK ADOPTS LAD HE MET IN FRANCE. Ex-Interpreter to Rear son of Verdun Defender”
    There was something in the wistful face of little Pierre Michel Bourdain which haunted Sergeant Arthur H. Murphy of 143 East Thirty-ninth Street, on the occasion of their first meeting in France. From the time the eyes of the big sergeant, who was an interpreter in the American Expeditionary Forces, and little Pierre met in Bordeaux there developed a mutual attachment.
    Every opportunity found the doughboy and the French lad together, and little Pierre told his story. He was a half-orphan; his father having been one of the thousands of French poilus who defended Verdun against the German onslaughts at the cost of their lives. His mother, Mithilde Belliard Bourdain, was in poor circumstances, scarcely able to support her children and herself. When the time came for his departure from France Sergeant Murphy obtained permission from the boy’s mother to have Pierre follow. There was a lot of trouble in getting this permission, but it was only the beginning of Sergeant Murphy’s difficulties. There was the official red tape to be untangled, and that also took time. Finally, however, young Bourdain arrived in
    New York and was welcomed by his doughboy friend, an accountant, who had returned to civilian life.
    It was fitting that the day on which Gen. Pershing returned to America should be made one of the happiest in little Pierre’s life. Surrogate Cohalan signed yesterday the papers of adoption for which Murphy had applied, and Pierre Michel Bourdain became Pierre Michel Murphy. He will reside with his foster-father and the latter’s widowed sister.”

    However, as noted in the 1920 census, Arthur H. Murphy and Michael Murphy were boarders at 323 Saint Nicholas Avenue in Manhattan. Arthur’s sister, Jessie, would remarry a Joseph Mc Cormack on June 22, 1920. The occupation listed for Arthur was an accountant. As of 1924, Arthur Murphy had registered to vote and was living at 518 West 140 Street a few blocks from Saint Nicholas Avenue. 1924 was the last year that Pierre noted he had been living in New York before he sailed back to France.
    The “Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists” in New York on June 10, 1926, with the ship name Rousillon, included a Pierre Michel Bourdain, not a Michel or Michael Murphy. His hair color was brown and his eyes gray. He was visiting his mother who lived at 52 Rue des Bahuttiers in Bordeaux. The person in the United States that he knew was a Mr. Wilgus who lived at 61 Hamilton Place in Manhattan. This was street was adjacent to west 140 street which was the address on the 1924 voter list of Mr. Murphy. 

    GABRIELLE RIOUSSE RETURNS TO NEW YORK WHILE PIERRE SAILS TO FRANCE
    Gabrielle traveled to Paris twice between 1924 and 1926. Each time she listed her father Alfred as the “Person in Old Country”. On each of the trips, he was living at 16 Rue Jeanne D’arc La Garenne-Colombes which was outside of Paris. On her manifest of 1926, her passport information stated that it was issued on June 10, 1926, which happened to be the exact date Pierre returned to New York. As her home address in New York, it was no longer her sister’s home. She gave the address 57 East 58th street (known as the Hotel Claredon). Her occupation was Professor.
    On October 3, 1928, Gabrielle, and Pierre (the name on the marriage index is Pierre M. Bourdain). They were married in Manhattan, New York. She was thirty-five years old and Pierre twenty-three. Their son, Pierre, was born on December 12, 1929 (the father of Anthony Bourdain).
    Gabrielle and her 20-month-year-old son Pierre (one of many trips to Paris) and returns to New York On August 25, 1931. The person they were visiting was Pierre’s mom who had moved to La Teste de Buch in Gironde, France. The ocean breeze and warm-summer days were where she wanted to retire.
    The 1930 census revealed that Pierre M. and Gabrielle were married and living at 675 West End Avenue in New York. Baby Pierre was also listed. Pierre senior had the occupation of Merchant in a department store. Gabrielle was a dressmaker.
    FROM THE RECORDS OF “NEW YORK CITY MUNICIPAL DEATHS”
    NAME: PIERE BOURDAIN
    SEX: MALE
    ADDRESS: 317 WEST 95 STREET
    BURIAL DATE: 1 JAN 1933
    DEATH DATE: 31, DEC 1932
    DEATH PLACE: MANHATTAN
    BIRTH YEAR: 1904
    BIRTHPLACE: FRANCE
    MARITAL STATUS: MARRIED
    OCCUPATION: MANUFACTURER
    RACE: WHITE
    SPOUSE NAME: GABRIELLE BOURDAIN
    CEMETERY: FRESH POND CREMATORY
    NOTE: 20 YEARS IN UNITED STATES

  11. Jim says:

    To all,
    Can I paste a picture on these comments?. It is from a newspaper article in 1919.
    Jim

  12. catsworking says:

    Lorraine, I don’t know anything about this. I’m not seeing a Lydia Lunch listed in the book’s contributors, and I don’t think I’ve ever in my life seen Bourdain and gay used in the same sentence.

  13. catsworking says:

    Jim, I don’t know that you can paste anything into comments. It’s never been done, but if you can figure out how, go for it.

    You call this information about Tony’s grandfather is a “short story,” which would indicate it’s fiction. So, are these facts you uncovered, or is it something you’ve made up? (The detail looks factual, but I want to make sure we’re being clear here.)

    And didn’t Tony and Chris go to Paraguay to learn about their grandfather? I’m not seeing that connection in any of this, and he died when he was only 28.

  14. Jim says:

    Karen,
    The story is true and supported by actual documentation. This is his grandfather. His great grand father was from Brazil. The Paraguay relationship that you recall was from one of his episodes “ Anthony is thrust into Paraguay by investigating his great, great, great, grandfather, Paraguayan émigré Jean Bourdain, while sampling savoury local dishes that include Bife Koygua, Bori Bori.” ( I added by cut and paste). Going back 3 greats is way back. There are references on various sites that his grandfather was a stowaway however the connection to the ‘Doughboy’ was missing. Sad to say but he was only 28 when he died.
    Jim

  15. catsworking says:

    Jim, then this is fantastic info.
    Perhaps Chris, Tony’s brother, would be interested in these details. Just don’t call it a short story because it indicates fiction. This is journalistic research. If you can provide links to at least some of this information, I would be willing to turn it into a post on the front page. It doesn’t really explain Tony, but it fills in his ancestry. Who knows what his dad told him, since he may have known very little about his father.

  16. catsworking says:

    Jim, I will allow most things in comments, but what you’ve contributed is significant and I’d like to make it part of the Cats Working “official record” of Bourdain, which means it has to be a blog post so it’s searchable. Before I do that, I need some way to verify what you’re saying about Tony’s grandfather because I’ve tried really hard all these years to keep it 100. If you want to contact me privately with links or other ways you came by this info, go to the “Karen and the Cats” page and follow the link there to send me a private email. I’m sorry it’s a bit convoluted, but it works, and keeps me from drowning in spam.

    If you’ve provided the bona fides on Tony’s paternal grandfather, I’m more than happy to clean it up and publish it. But I need proof.

  17. feijicha says:

    “when ‘you’re in a negative state you attract negative people’ ”
    GlamourMilk, boy, if ever there was a statement that applied to Tony meeting HER (rather than her meeting him) that would be it. You have to wonder if he was on firmer ground in his emotional life whether the wiser side of him, the one that saw she was a walking disaster, would have been more in control.

  18. feijicha says:

    oops, well, hit send too soon. Meant to put a comma between “GlamourMilk” and “boy”. And meant to add that it’s a nice attempt at spin on her part but SHE is the ‘negative person’ in this equation. But narcs won’t see…

  19. catsworking says:

    feijicha, I fixed your comma dilemma. You are so right about the spin. When I read that, I thought Tony sucked her negativity into his aura like a Dyson vacuum, although I know the skank meant the opposite because she’s convinced herself she is blameless.

    Like after his breakup with Nancy, my sense is that he was reeling over the breakup with Ottavia, although she continued to welcome him into the home so their weird family unit would stay intact. I think that was smart of her. He was just a man who needed to know he had a woman’s unconditional love to keep himself grounded. The skank was a poor man’s version of Ottavia in the most superficial way, so he settled for what he could get, then embellished it beyond recognition in his mind to justify it, full well knowing the skank was poison.

  20. GlamourMilk says:

    Feijicha –
    Yep, I agree. Sometimes I’d like to stop comment on this matter because there’s nothing we can do about it. But I also feel it helps to share our thoughts about Tony and I guess I still semi-hope that one day AA will finally be outed once and for all for being the abusive, lying sociopathic suicide-facilitator that she really is.

    Cats –
    I forgot to comment on you saying that you’re going to interview Tom Vitale for the blog. That’s cool. I’ll look forward to that. I just hope he won’t use the interview to defend Argento just ‘to be nice’. There’s no need to ‘be nice’ about her. She has caused so much irreversible damage. Those people who defend Argento would be the first to talk shit about someone like Weinstein. Well, as much as Weinstein deserves to be trash-talked, so does Argento. I actually don’t see a difference in personality between Harvey Weinstein and Asia Argento. Why are (some) people so afraid to criticise her? Is it because she’s woman? Because they would like to fuck her? It’s bizarre. But when it comes down to it; if you think the Harvey Weinsteins of the world are awful people, then you have to accept the fact that the Asia Argentos of the world are equally awful people. Same same. And no need to point out she had an apparently difficult childhood. So what? A lot of people do. Maybe Harvey Weinstein had a difficult childhood? No one takes that into account. They just think he’s terrible. Well. Same with AA. Whether she had a bad childhood or not is irrelevant. You’re no less responsible for your actions just because you’ve had a ‘bad childhood’. Well, the good thing about Argento having become a buddhist is that she must now believe in karma. Good luck with that, Asia.

  21. catsworking says:

    GlamourMilk, I’ve scheduled the interview with Tom Vitale for this Sunday, so that’s coming. I’m also working on a review of his book, which I’ll post this week.

    Rest assured, Tom will not try to be nice about the skank. She’s despised by all who had to put up with her for Tony’s sake. Apparently, Tom’s in the camp who believes suicide is one person’s decision and no one else can be held responsible. It’s like saying guns don’t kill people.

    I don’t know much about Weinstein. The person I compare the skank to is Trump. It’s like they share the same rotting brain and textbook full of mental illnesses. People steer clear of speaking ill of her because, just like Trump, she’s litigious and will sue anybody over anything, in the hopes of a payday, or at least for the attention and the chance to porrtray herself a victim. Just like Trump.

  22. bassgirl23 says:

    Have to agree with so many of the comments here! I read Laurie Woolever’s book, and I really enjoyed the way she organized the quotes – as I was reading it, I felt like I was sitting at a table with those people in a room, who were all chiming in on that topic. There was so much agreement on what went sideways at the end. I thought the family information and background from his brother was pretty insightful and was surprised at how candid Nancy was for someone who’s previously never said anything. They all must have had a lot of trust in Woolever, and I think she deserved it, it was well done.

    Loved that she was able to use some quotes from Ariane, it will be interesting to see whether she stays away from publicity in her future – it’ll be hard not to be affected simply because of her last name, whether she likes it or not. Hopefully she has a strong enough support system to be able to deal with it all (and it sounds like she does).

    I think of all that I’ve read so far, it’s something that was the closest to bringing closure. I’ve only just started In the Weeds this morning, so won’t get through it for a bit, but am not expecting as many insights, more stories and behind the scenes perspective, which should be fun. And it’s interesting how everyone’s perceptions of what he was like could vary, but they were all united about the last relationship – “like a 16 year old” pretty much said it all. And she’s still trading off that with all she posts. I did see the video clip and felt it was skin-crawlingly awful to share something so obviously private, especially when his daughter might come across it. She has no shame, never did and never will.

  23. catsworking says:

    bassgirl! At last, someone has read the Bio. I was also surprised by how forthcoming Nancy was. She’s the keeper of the story of the Early Bourdain Years. How about those wedding pictures? I felt sorry for Nancy when she said that when Tony started spilling everything about his personal life (when I started blogging about him, he considered that stuff off limits), she was embarrassed because her parents were alive and he was going on about the drug use. Apparently, that was something she didn’t want her family to know the deets on.

    You’ll find Tom’s book VERY different than the Bio, and parts of it are shocking. It’s one thing for people to be talking about Tony in hindsight, but Tom is describing what he witnessed raw, and it’s a meaner person than anyone else has admitted to.

    As for Ariane, it won’t surprise me if she becomes a writer. Ottavia told me a few years ago that Ariane had talent, and you can see her clear thinking and maturity in the Bio. Perhaps she’ll want to continue in some way the stories Tony will never get to tell. I wouldn’t expect her to go into a career in front of cameras. It’s hard to believe she’s almost 15.

  24. feijicha says:

    Obviously I haven’t read either of these books yet. But I’m intrigued Karen when you say “meaner”. I feel like i get what they mean by that because i could sense that from watching him that he was a prickly person… But I’m curious whether Vitale attributes that to Tony’s internal insecurities, arrogance, etc etc that he would have always had, or does he think fame played a role as well? So many people change, even when they don’t want to, as a result of being famous. I guess I’m asking on one hand did he develop a diva side in addition to his lifelong personality stuff??

  25. catsworking says:

    feijicha, “prickly person” is putting it mildly. Vitale focuses mainly on his own relationship with Tony, and Tony does some things you never would have seen coming. Vitale has not been able to sort it all out.

    What I saw was Tony behaving at times like a diva, but believing he didn’t have the right to be a diva. He was sarcastic, could be autocratic, played crew members off each other. Often refused to take direction (speak to the camera, walk here or there for a shot). It could be called self-sabotage. It was like he was constantly testing the crew to see if they could make a good show in spite of the wrenches he always threw into the gears. They never really knew what he would or wouldn’t do. They tried to keep him away from the shoot until everything was set up, so that he could just show up and do it with no waiting, because if he got bored, he could disappear and screw up the whole day. But that made Tony increasingly isolated and probably fed the loneliness he felt. It was a no-win.

    But on the other hand, they all knew he was loyal to them and cared about them in his own way, because at times he’d turn around and do something wonderful. Then when he followed the skank’s order to fire Zach Zamboni in Hong Kong, that feeling of security went to shit. Helen Cho said it in Roadrunner. In fact, in the Oral Bio, someone told how the skank tried to undermine Helen at one point by lying to Tony about who did some work that Helen did. It was as if the skank was trying to pick off the crew one by one to isolate him, like a classic abuser.

    You really have to read Vitale’s book to get the full picture. I found it very disturbing. The Bourdain we saw on TV was just the tip of the iceberg. The snark was a lot deeper and meaner, whether it was deserved or not.

  26. feijicha says:

    that sounds like a fascinating read. But I have to ask the obvious question, does Vitale have an axe to grind? Is this his payback to Tony for Tony being an asshole??

  27. feijicha says:

    again, hit send too soon. grrr. Sounds like you feel Tony’s behavior was self-sabotage, but did he think he was a “star”??? It also makes me wonder what his and Eric’s relationship was really like. I went to see Tony solo when he came to my city, and saw him once (possibly twice now that I think of it) with Eric. You’ve got me now wondering if some of what was passed off as “pranks” to Eric had more bite to them than we thought (the feeding him super spicy foods etc on the tv show and some of the jokes he told in their stage show)

  28. GlamourMilk says:

    Cats –

    So did Vitale not like working with Tony, and in that case, does he say why he didn’t leave and find another job?
    I always though Tony had a mean streak. It’s clear from his books and the shows. But I also though he had some sense of decency to make up for it. But maybe I’m wrong about the last part? He’s of that generation of people working in kitchens where they were treated like shit, and then when they work themselves up to a higher level then they get to treat people like shit. I also think a lot of those writers and filmmakers he admired are like that. Being out there, making television inspired by their favourite movies, I’m not surprised he would engage in some of the same antics as hos favourite filmmakers might have done. Has reading In the Weeds changed your opinion about Tony? Either way, I just wish he’d never met Skank. By all accounts she broke up with him (though she pretends otherwise) and if he’d just made it through that night and gone back home her he would have realised that her breaking up with him, however cruelly she did it, was the best thing that ever happened to him. Shame he didn’t live to realise that moment.

  29. GlamourMilk says:

    Feijicha –
    As much as I enjoy Ripert and Bourdain’s double-act and I’m sure Ripert was onboard with his role, I never liked the scenes in the Sichuan episode where Tony makes Eric drink too much. I know it’s part of the deal but I have been in situations like that where there’s peer pressure to make you drink, and I’ve never understood/appreciated that. I’ll drink what and how much I want, thank you very much.

  30. catsworking says:

    feijicha, absolutely not. It is just the opposite. All through the book, Vitale says he loved Tony despite all the abuse and lack of cooperation. He stuck with the job because he cared so much about Tony. The book doesn’t come across as nasty at all. If anything, it’s reverential. Vitale is actually very hard on himself, and still wonders if there are things he could have done differently that would have made a difference. Tony’s death completely devastated him, and he hasn’t been able to go back to work ever since. Writing the book was therapy for him. (This is all in the book.) This book was his way of trying to come to terms with Tony’s death, not in any way a payback. In fact, he told me he was concerned that people would accuse him of “cashing in” on Bourdain’s name by writing it.

    I’ll be talking to him on the record this weekend.

  31. catsworking says:

    feijicha, from all I’ve read, I do feel Tony’s behavior was self-sabotage, including his suicide. I also don’t think he fully understood how influential he was. Vitale said the crew certainly didn’t realize how famous he was until they saw the reaction to his death.

    I think it’s in the Oral Bio that Eric talks about the touring he did with Tony, and in the end Eric pulled out because he didn’t like the way Tony insulted other people (Guy Fieri, for ex.), putting Eric in the position of defending them. It was all part of the “Good vs. Evil” act, but Eric didn’t like being part of it.

    I’ve never seen Eric say that Tony had malicious intent with the pranks he pulled, but to me it appeared they strayed into downright nastiness and Tony thought it was funny. I’m thinking of the Schezwan episode where he made Eric eat the spicy food.

  32. catsworking says:

    GlamourMilk, this interpreting of Vitale’s book is turning into a game of Telephone, where each comment strays further off the mark. No, Vitale DID like working with Tony. It was his first job out of college and the only job he’s had so far. The good outweighed the bad, and he believed in what Tony was trying to do.

    Vitale’s book didn’t change my opinion of Bourdain, but it pulled back the curtain and vividly showed a side of him that’s only been alluded to. Vitale has assured me that Tony’s nastiness never bubbled over into his relationships with women, and that he turned into mush for them.

    Personally, I think while Tony was killing himself, right before the lights went out, he had a moment of clarity and went, “WTF? What am I doing?” but it was too late. I think it was the impulse of one moment, and if anything had interrupted him, he wouldn’t have done it.

    If he had finished doing the show in France with Eric, his next trip was supposed to be to India with the skank and Vitale. Vitale probably was spared from getting fired when it didn’t happen, because the skank probably would have been all over his directing and finding fault, since she was now an “expert” after Hong Kong.

  33. GlamourMilk says:

    Cats –

    The Tom Vitale book actually became available for download as an ebook so I ordered it and have started reading it today.

  34. bassgirl23 says:

    I just finished In the Weeds last night – it was much more insightful than I’d expected. I really enjoyed it (and it was nice to see you get a complimentary shout out!)

    Some of the incidents (Borneo) surprised me as I definitely thought Tony could be impulsive, but never thought his mean streak would go that far given his sense of decency and fairness (and how he despised bullies). I guess in the moment anything can happen but it was still a bit of a shock.

    It always looked like the teasing with Eric was very one-sided, veering into juvenile pranks, but I never thought Tony pushed it too far, even with the Sichuan scenes. Those seemed to be more played up for the camera, as I think Eric has a pretty good backbone and could have (would have) stopped if he felt uncomfortable (like he did with the tour). Anyone who’s worked in a kitchen has a pretty thick skin out of necessity. Every story has at least 3 sides – yours, mine and the truth – and I think Tom did a good job of acknowledging that many details change over time and memory, but he was trying to tell the stories to the best of his recollection and with as little bias as possible.

    I think you’re right that at the last second he would have changed his mind if interrupted. I always figured their world was pretty much living on the edge given the dangerous places they filmed and crazy schedules. It would have been difficult to maintain a “normal” existence (including relationships) so I can see how his crew became both his extended family, with all the good and bad that goes along with that kind of lifestyle. Maintaining that line where work stops and the friendship starts isn’t easy (and it’s always going to blur, especially under pressure). It must have been a really lonely existence – that couldn’t have helped things at the end either.

    I loved hearing about the way they scouted locations and the actual filming process, and found it interesting to get that behind the scenes detail (especially the Jamaica storyline). He did a great job of outlining all the details of what they did. Looking forward to your sit-down with him. I think he really loved both Tony and his work, and I never got the impression he was doing this to cash in (unlike AA – asking about the $ and the will straight out of the gate was so on point for what I had always thought was her true character).

    I’m so glad to hear Ariane has her dad’s talent for writing (and art) – will wait and see what she has to offer the world, am sure she’ll be a force! She did have a really mature outlook in the quotes she gave and although it’s sad she’s growing up without him, at least there’s no shortage of stories, pictures and film for her to have as she gets older (not to mention all the people who knew him).

  35. catsworking says:

    bassgirl, you’ve practically written my review for me! I’m still working on it. You must be a speed-reader. The book only came out YESTERDAY!

    Tom has told me his favorite chapter was Jamaica. And I’ve been to the Margaritaville he was talking about several times, so I could picture every crazy thing they were doing there. On my mantle, I have a wooden cat I bought in Jamaice with a piece of grass wrapped around its neck that an old man just sat down beside me and weaved while I was having a drink in Margaritaville. That grass is over 20 years old and I’m afraid to touch it. Surprisingly, the cats have never tried to eat it.

    I always thought Eric was a trouper when he appeared on the shows. He probably figured, for all the other fun they had, a little discomfort and teasing was worth taking.

    Yes, Borneo shocked me as well, and showed a part of Tony that he would never want the world to see, so I give Tom credit for including it, even though it was embarrassing for both of them. I thought Tom was very unsparing in his own estimation of himself and his place in the grand scheme of things. Maybe even too hard on himself.

    And you found the little Easter egg he left me in the book! I was lumped into the chapter with all the crazy fans, but at least in a flattering way. 🙂

  36. feijicha says:

    thanks Karen. I tend to add my comments here in a stream-of-consciousness fashion as I’m surfing through favorite online sites. So usually I’m just posting my first impressions of previous comments. I also (as someone earlier noted, maybe it was you) wonder how COVID would have impacted him in terms of — would it have given him a built-in excuse not to be traveling? I mean it certainly would have during the 2020 lockdowns everywhere, and maybe into 2021 as well….and then he could have leveraged that to say “I’ve come to like not being on the road so much” etc and it wouldn’t be his “fault” in terms of affecting the crew’s working situation etc. (or would he have felt some responsibility to get everyone back to work and making money after 2020??) He could have spent more time writing during the pandemic– though one wonders if he could truly have lived a less peripatetic life… the need for excitement in his character would have had to have found an outlet somewhere… Would he have wanted to convince AA to let him hunker down with her?? What if she’d said no? Disentangling himself from her seems potentially fraught with difficulties across any number of possible scenarios beyond France unfortunately.

  37. catsworking says:

    feijicha, if Bourdain had pulled out of TV due to COVID, ZPZ would have tried to help the crew find new jobs, either with them or elsewhere. There would have been none of the trauma, but a logical wind-down of operations, and Tony would have still been a presence, even remotely.

    Since I’ve read the 2 books so close together, I’m not sure in which book Tony told someone the skank was relocating to NYC in fall 2018, presumably to shack up with him. He probably wanted to make her his new home base. He needed someone holding the fort, or home was no different than a hotel. But think of the mess it would have created with Ariane. I can’t imagine Ottavia being good with her child spending time with the skank.

    The skank clearly stated in her own memoir that she told Tony they would never live together. This was probably to cover the fact that she threw a grenade into the whole plan when she cheated on him in June 2018.

    As Tony knew from the outset, she was trouble, it was not going to end well, and since they were constantly on and off because she lives for drama, I sincerely doubt she’d have emigrated here, unless he could promise her a sweet long-term gig in show biz (which he’d be torn about doing if it meant they’d ever be separated). She may have expected to become a permanent fixture on his show.

    If there’s any silver lining to losing him, it’s that we in the States were spared having the skank popping up on American screens anywhere Bourdain could convince someone to hire her.

  38. Rachel says:

    I haven’t read either book yet (and won’t for awhile, as I’m pretty strict with myself about reading books in the order I get them and I’ve got quite a backlog right now), but I’m definitely looking forward to both. Though I’m now a little worried it might ruin Borneo for me. It’s my favorite episode!
    I’m also looking forward to your interview with Tom. Will there be any opportunity for any of us to suggest questions beforehand?

  39. catsworking says:

    Rachel, I’m supposed to talk to Tom on Sunday, so if you have any questions, please post them here in comments and I’ll try to include them. My list of questions is already so long, I may need to have a few chats with him.

    Don’t worry about the Borneo episode. What happened behind the scenes had really nothing to do with it.

  40. Bonnie Wells says:

    Hello Karen,

    This is an interesting thread.

    You know, after watching the film Roadrunner, I found myself intensely interested in the trajectory of Bourdain’s life. Of all I’ve read and watched, Tom’s book (which I’ve only half finished) provides a window into the actual conditions of Tony’s daily existence. It seems there was a very thin line between his personal and professional life. And there was something very high maintenance about him…even bordering on abusive. The people working for and with him had to manage a great deal in order to get their jobs done, and their willingness was certainly a testament to their deeply felt attachment to him.

    I read Woolever’s book which I found a fascinating account from the voices of those who knew or worked closely with Tony. There are some very surprising comments in that book. (i.e. Nancy asked to sit on the floor and give her seat in favor of a camera man!) Or the description of Gladys and her relationship with both her sons. The resentment that comes through Chris’s account of her antics…it seems the seeds of discontent were sowed very early on in Tony’s life. But I missed the ongoing narrative that Tom provides.

    I found “In The Weeds” almost remorsefully honest. It is intensely vulnerable and peppered throughout with a subtle and charming wit. It’s simply a compelling read and I’m so grateful to Tom for writing it. He’s a superb story teller and I found his sincerity both moving and audaciously courageous.

    But speaking of questions for Tom ~ one over arching subject looms in my mind. Zach Zamboni. Surprisingly he is not interviewed in Woolever’s book. He does not appear to have a place in Tom’s book either (although I may not have read that part yet). But even when doing a search online for his comments regarding Tony, his suicide, or the separation from Parts Unknown..zippo. Nada.

    So if you find time to ask, I’d love to hear Tom’s response. Because, if I take his description seriously, that the relationship of the crew was one of a family (albeit dysfunctional) rather than merely co-workers, then why did they not take a united stand in regards to Zach’s termination, and hold Tony accountable in the ways Tony himself held them accountable when they showed “piss poor performance”? Did they at least attempt to speak to him as a family might, in any meaningful way about that egregious decision?

    And please, please convey to him…his book does not at all come across as cashing in on Bourdain. Far from it. However, I did think he presented a rather naive portrayal of AA. It’s obvious there is a great deal at stake in how she spins her story, for her own psyche as well as her career. Nothing I’ve read or watched her say indicates that she is capable of an ounce of sincerity around this subject. She has too many conflicts of interest.

    Thanks in advance for considering my question, Bonnie

  41. Bonnie Wells says:

    Holy shit I just read the Borneo account from Tom’s book. Brutal.

  42. Bonnie Wells says:

    Hi Karen, I’ve read Woolever’s book and most of Tom’s. Both remarkable in their own right. And I’ll include my thoughts about them later (I tried to post them already and they disappeared into a tech glitch!)

    But in relation to your Sunday deadline, I have a question you might raise with Tom. It’s regarding the firing of Zach Zamboni. Tom describes their crew as a dysfunctional family. But even a dysfunctional family unites in the face of an egregious action against one. Was there any attempt by the crew to discuss or change the outcome with regard to Zach?

    When I do an online search nothing comes up in terms of interviews or comments from Zach about Tony’s suicide or being fired from Parts Unknown. Maybe you know of one? It seems odd that he was not included in Woolever’s book either.

    When you watch the Parts Unknown episode devoted to the crew in the last season, Zach appears only briefly in the beginning. The silence surrounding his long relationship with Tony and subsequent dismissal is odd. But from an outsider point of view, so many things are odd about the last few years of Tony’s life…it does fit into an overall pattern.

    Thanks in advance for considering my question, Bonnie

  43. catsworking says:

    Bonnie,

    I will ask Tom about Zach. I didn’t have that question on my long list, but I’ll add it. This is what I know.

    In the Oral Bio, there’s a footnote that says Zach declined to be interviewed for the book. I think it’s also in the Oral Bio that one of the crew talked to Zach for 3 hours the night he was fired, before he got on the plane to go home.

    And whoever Tony was telling on the phone to send Zach home, they could hear the skank screaming in the background, “It’s either him or me!” And Tony told someone on the crew he “had” to do it because, “She loves me.” In other words, he’d do anything for her.

    Back in September 2018, Zach emailed me and asked me to untag him from a post because it was causing him unwanted attention. I did so immediately and apologized. He was trying to maintain a low profile then, and it seems ever since. I don’t blame him. That was probably the worst betrayal of his life.

    Had Tony lived (and finally broken from the skank), I have no doubt at some point he would have apologized to Zach and tried to make amends because it probably ate at him, but he couldn’t as long as the skank had his balls in a vise.

  44. catsworking says:

    Bonnie, I think I resolved your “tech glitch.” I found this comment in SPAM and restored it. 🙂

    On the Zach question, I wondered myself about the crew letting Zach get canned. But I think they realized that Tony was so deeply in the skank’s thrall, and that she could turn into a screaming banshee on a dime, they could ALL be fired on the spot. Rather than risk the whole shoot, better to keep Tony and the skank happy and perhaps deal with it later.

    As for Zach not appearing in anybody’s books, that seems to be Zach’s choice and they’re honoring his privacy. What could Zach say? The skank is still out there and she’s litigious. She’d probably like nothing better than an opportunity to smear him as not being up to her exacting standards for cinematography (despite his numerous Emmys). I think he’s doing the right thing to stay under her radar.

  45. Bonnie Wells says:

    I’m not surprised he would not wish to speak about her. But it’s not hard to imagine a world where he might speak about his long relationship with Tony and to his important work with him.
    After all, death has a way of leveling the playing field.

    BTW, I just read Tom’s harrowing back story of the Libya episode! His book is a speeding roller coaster of impressions! After years living under that kind of pressure, lack of sleep and alcohol…there’s always alcohol…it’s a wonder there weren’t more casualties along the way.

    I think…my uninformed meagre opinion…is Tony would be extremely proud of Tom’s book, and of Tom for having the grit to write it. It’s just so honest.

    Oh, and thanks for fixing that tech glitch, although it’s content is somewhat redundant at this point! Good luck with the interview!

  46. catsworking says:

    Bonnie, I’ve told Tom the same thing. I think Tony would have been proud of this book, and of Tom. I found their writing styles very similar, although Tony’s was even more flamboyant.

    It is kind of amazing that everyone always seemed to get through their shoots in one piece, except for a couple of occasions. Especially the cameramen, who were often going backward while holding huge cameras.

    Who knows? Once he see Tom’s, maybe one day Zach will write his own book. There is no way the skank should ever have the last word on what she did to Zach.

  47. GlamourMilk says:

    Cats –

    Just started reading the Woolever book. There are some pretty cool anecdotes from his youth. I especially enjoy the anecdotes by his brother and first wife so far.

    Unfortunately, reading it also brings back the feeling of the loss of this interesting, intriguing and complex writer/traveller/tv-personality etc. I will forever condemn the day Argento came into his life. You are right, as you’ve mentioned several times, that in pictures of them together she always looks so smug and scheming. There’s absolutely no love there from her direction whatsoever.

    I hope she realises that getting sober and becoming ‘spiritual’ and letting go of her past (her own words) doesn’t give her a free pass. She remains guilty of isolating and abusing her partner to his grave and tearing a family (father-daughter) apart. How she can talk about the virtues of motherhood, when she herself made it difficult for her ‘boyfriend’ (cash cow) to nurture his own fatherhood, is obscene.

    Someone here thought it was over the top of me to compare her to Weinstein, but no, it isn’t. She is exactly as cruel and abusive as he is. And with someone’s death as the consequence. And absolutely no punishment. At least Weinstein is being punished by imprisonment (and rightly so). Argento got away with her abuse (crime), not unlike Roman Polanski, who she’s been supportive of, unlike Weinstein. She’s also supportive of Marilyn Manson. Funny how she’s against one abuser and in favour of others. That doesn’t make her own accusations very reliable and trustworthy.

  48. catsworking says:

    GlamourMilk, I didn’t pay much attention to the skank in the beginning of their relationship, even after realizing they were fuck buddies when I first saw the Rome episode. But once he died and I started learning more about what went down, she is a classic abuser. She did her best to isolate him from his family, replaced his friends by surrounding him with her own set of leeches, and eventually even went after his crew to foster his delusion that she was the only one he could depend on. She bled him financially. She mentally and emotionally abused him with her hot-cold act throughout the relationship.

    Sure, anyone could say she “didn’t pull the trigger,” and ending his life was Tony’s sole decision. But she pushed him out onto the ledge and made jumping preferable to coming back inside to continue being tortured by her.

    I’m not buying her new spirituality and wholesomeness for a minute. She’ll revert to type, probably sooner than later, and we’ll be seeing her on Instagram cavorting around her house in her underwear with a cigarette hanging out of her artificially bloated lips, waving a near-empty wine bottle.

    I invite anyone out there to produce a single photograph showing the skank looking at Bourdain with anything resembling love that doesn’t have a calculating undertone to it.

  49. GlamourMilk says:

    Cats –

    Just read an interview with AA about her record which is out today. I have heard the My A song and it’s dreadful. Seriously, if Tony had been alive he would have despised that song but would have had to pretend to like it in order to keep the peace. It’s really really shit.

    At the end of the interview she says (translated from Italian):

    ‘The leitmotif in “Music from my bed” is the story of a “broken” woman, both inside and out, with the courage and audacity not to give up. Who is Asia Argento today?

    I have raised the white flag and I am at peace first of all with myself. I accept my past, I know I can’t change it and I’m fine with it. I have no regrets, I have no remorse, I have no resentments. I live in the present and from here I want to build the future, together with the people around me, both in the private and professional fields. I am a woman who has somehow stopped fighting. Sometimes, you even have to admit defeat to become the true directors of your own life. Destiny cannot be controlled, but we can accept it and, when we can, try to change what we don’t like.’

    I can’t believe the nerve of this woman. Absolutely zero respect for Tony’s daughter. Hope she’ll never have to endure listening to this shit song about her father from the very person who cornered him into suicide. Talking about all that she’s been through and how she’s a survivor with absolutely no thought for the man whose death she caused and whose family she destroyed. Good for you, you cold-hearted, pretend-Buddhist, wannabe-‘artist’. Fart-ist, more like it. Good, AA, that you are at peace with yourself. It just took the killing of your supposed significant other. Hope you’re proud of yourself, ‘A’. Well, she obviously is proud of herself – though she’s no reason to be. If there ever was a person who benefited from the luxury of nepotism it’s her.

  50. GlamourMilk says:

    (cont. from the post above)

    I forgot to say, I looked at the list of songs on the record. The song right after the ‘My A’ song is AA’s cover of the Italian song Te Possino (that was also sung by a street singer in the Rome episode of PU), in which there are lines such as (translated): ‘I won’t say how much love I hold for you, so much that I would see you hanging in the rione Ponte’ and ‘The desire for death has come to me’.

    Interesting that this song follows the one about Tony and is clearly not a coincidence. She probably thinks it’s super cool to follow her song about her ex-boyfriend who killed himself after she broke up with him, with a song in which there is a line about someone ‘hanging’. Isn’t she just cool and edgy? Barf!

    It’s funny how she puts so much energy into pretending she cares with the words she says and then gives away the real motives of cruelty in her actions. Not quite as smart as she’s given credit for.

  51. catsworking says:

    GlamourMilk, what you have quoted from the skank is such verbal diarrhea, I can’t even begin to make sense of it. She intends to forget she ever knew Bourdain? She is SO full of shit. This new “submissiveness” toward fate she claims to have and living in the moment won’t last five minutes because she’ll quickly realize how dull she becomes. Then she’ll be right back to pouting, swearing, drinking, smoking, running around naked, whatever draws attention to her pathetic self.

    She still doesn’t seem to have figured out that any “fame” she has is as a dysfunctional freakazoid. And few people in the States would have ever heard of her if not for Bourdain making her a far bigger fish than she ever deserved to be.

    You reminded me of a “music” video I saw of her a while ago that’s the most dreadful, yet hilarious, thing I’ve ever seen on YouTube. I just watched a bit of it again and am still laughing at how ridiculous she is. It’s old because she’s not completely ink-smeared. Just the fact that this thing exists online would embarrass any sane person into digging a hole, crawling in and staying there. But not the skank. She still thinks she can “sing.”

    While looking for that, I came across this bizarre little gem where she’s clearly being dubbed by an opera singer.

    I was looking for the clip of her on Italian Dancing with the Stars, which I know I’ve seen somewhere, but I couldn’t find it. I’ll just say that stuffing both her feet in her mouth, as she seems to do every time she speaks in public, wouldn’t hurt either her singing or her dancing.

  52. catsworking says:

    Glamour, what kills me is that she thinks she’s creating “art” with all this garbage. She is going to keep reminding the world of her rather brief Bourdain connection for as long as she lives. It’s her only real claim to fame, because certainly no one will ever remember her for having a talent of any kind.

  53. GlamourMilk says:

    Cats –

    What the hell did you just share??? 🙂
    I know she’s considered sexy and good-looking (in a typical latina kind of way – there are many latina women that look exactly like that) but her ugly personality shines through and ruins everything. And when you look at her these days it’s like The Picture of Dorian Gray came out to play. She looks like a wandering botox/lip filler ad.

    The second video just shows a little snippet of her lack of personality. It’s all surface.
    The first video, basically shows how she has gotten away with the things she’s done; playing on her sex-kitten image to distract people away from the fact she’s an awful person. Oh well.

    It’s a song with Tim Burgess. I sort of liked the band he used to be in (might still be in? No longer keeping track), The Charlatans. They had a few good songs but he was never known for being a good singer. He’s probably as terrible a singer as she is – so in that way, I guess they’re perfect for one another as ‘singing’ partners. To be honest, I don’t even mind if people can’t sing if they can express something interesting with their voice. But she can’t. Not only can’t she sing. The SOUND/TONE of her voice is just shit. When she tries to sound sexy, it sounds stupid, when she tries to sound tough, it sounds dumb. It’s just embarrassing.

    And yes, she’s not letting go of her Bourdain connection any time soon. She’ll milk it for all it’s worth – and then some. It’s just insulting that she can’t even admit she broke up with him and that she treated him like shit. I see what you mean with the Trump effect that you often mention. There are so many people who will believe anything as long as it comes from a person who is good at ‘branding’ themselves. Trump has a lot of stupid followers who’ll believe anything. Likewise, Asia Argento has a lot of stupid followers who’ll believe anything. So when she says she has ‘no idea’ why ‘Anthony’ killed himself, we know she is lying, but there are people who genuinely believe her. It’s infuriating.

    She used his addictive personality to get what she wanted not only at his expense but at the expense of those around him, who she clearly saw as a threat. True abuser-style.

    I don’t remember if I ever posted the link to this article (or if you’ve seen it), but just in case, here it is:

    https://doloresquintana.medium.com/like-suicide-e6c296f5e15c

    There are many interesting things in the article, like the last two paragraphs:

    ‘The woman is not right. She needs help, not enablers. But still, she has lied and tried to cover things up and suppress the evidence that what she did was wrong and that it did contribute to Bourdain’s death. That means that she knows that what she did was wrong and she has tried to escape punishment. That’s the legal definition of being responsible for your actions. Also, it’s not misogyny to point out the obvious or the truth about a woman. No, really, it’s not.

    What we really need to do is come to terms with suicide and mental illness. We need to deal with it, all of it, or nothing is going to change. Allowing people who are mentally ill to hurt their loved ones or themselves is not right. Allowing people to die because we are too scared or too lazy to deal with the issue of suicide is wrong too.’

    On another note, it was interesting to read in Woolever’s book that Tony’s brother (and his family) appears to have been with Tony in St. Maarten during that week where he went off the rails when his relationship with his first wife was going down the drain, which he wrote about in Medium Raw (and maybe mentioned in interviews?)
    I had the impression he was alone, but it seems his brother was there. OR am I reading it wrong?

    It’s amazing how often a ‘windfall’ helps him out: Like inheriting money (then squandering it), staying in Nancy’s sister’s apartment, his mother helping with getting his writing in the right hands, a friend (forgot the name) helping with the first book. I often wonder how people ‘make it’ when they don’t have any obvious connections because most people who become famous do seem to have some sort of connection (like being born into a famous family). I think it’s rare to genuinely come from ‘nowhere’ and then ‘make it’. In Bourdain’s case, there was definitely a lot of little ‘helping posts along the way and he managed to make the most of it, even if for a long time it didn’t look like it would work out. But one thing he always had, was talent for writing and that got to shine through eventually. He was an interesting and intriguing person (for better and for worse) and there’s a lot about his life and situation I can relate to (even when his New York bravado annoys the hell out of me). I’m sad that he got pushed so much into a corner by an enemy he mistook for a girlfriend, that he felt he had no other choice but to off himself.

  54. catsworking says:

    GlamourMilk, THANK YOU SO MUCH for that link to Delores Quintana. I had never read her post. I 100% agree with her take on the skank and she backed it up with facts. But she also resonated with me personally, I’m still in shock, but in a good way. She made me realize something very freeing about myself.

    Briefly: I was married for four months at 26 to a man I could barely stand after 6 years on-again, off-again (he always initiated breakups, in theatrically “fuck you” ways nobody could believe). I’ve blamed myself for being an insecure, masochistic schmuck who stupidly kept taking him back thinking he really loved me and would do better. But as I read this article, I had the breakthrough that he used me as prey to satisfy some sickness in himself and loved testing how far he could push me. Anyway, another story. I’m just thankful we split as quickly as we did.

    I’ve never tried to decipher Bourdain’s psyche or addictions too much. I tend to think the most obvious explanation is the right one, and the link between the skank and his suicide is made of steel.

    Tying her to Trump again (as Delores also did), as mentally fucked-up as Trump is, obviousness has been consistently true. Whatever crimes we’ve seen him commit, he did. No further investigations needed, except to delay making him pay.

    Same with the skank. No one wants the burden of holding her responsible. It’s much easier to blame the dead for his own poor judgement.

    I think Bourdain initially latched onto the skank because he was simply trying to recapture what he had with Ottavia (loving, nurturing Italian woman, warm home base, big welcoming family, etc.), although it turned out the women are polar opposites. But he initially had no way of knowing because the skank morphs into whatever her prey wants her to be, AND she came with the bonus of being in “the business” and having a supposed knowledge base of music and film to match his own.

    He soon realized he’d made a mistake, but in trying to make it work, he got himself so tangled in her web he couldn’t escape. He said he knew it would end badly and that she was bad news. Also, that he’d never met anyone else who wanted to die as much as he did.

    To your point about all the little assists he got along the way, I’ve always noticed how he curated his history in interviews. He liked to say, “One day I was standing at a deep fryer, the next day watching the sun set on the Sahara.” Well, not exactly.

    That’s the huge chunk of his life story we’re missing, the years between high school and getting published. He talked a lot about the restaurant side of it, but almost nothing about the backstory. Nancy, I could count those mentions on one hand, and they were married for 20 years.

    Almost forgot: St. Maarten. I’d have to go back and reread Medium Raw, but he could have been writing about the same awkward visit when Christopher and his wife were there and Nancy had left. Didn’t Christopher say Tony was going out at night to bars and brothels? It could have been one of those nights he was driving home and considered going off a cliff. But he didn’t simply because his brother was there. That’s what I mean by Bourdain curating his story. He’d leave out details to make a better story and not complicate the plot too much.

    Another example was how he wouldn’t mention that his mother used her connection to get his story out of the slush pile at The New Yorker, which eventually became Kitchen Confidential. He always told it as a lucky break kind of thing.

  55. GlamourMilk says:

    Cats –

    About the below paragraph: Wow. A ‘breakthrough moment’ indeed. Happy for you:

    ‘Briefly: I was married for four months at 26 to a man I could barely stand after 6 years on-again, off-again (he always initiated breakups, in theatrically “fuck you” ways nobody could believe). I’ve blamed myself for being an insecure, masochistic schmuck who stupidly kept taking him back thinking he really loved me and would do better. But as I read this article, I had the breakthrough that he used me as prey to satisfy some sickness in himself and loved testing how far he could push me. Anyway, another story. I’m just thankful we split as quickly as we did.’

    I like the article by Dolores and I think she’s spot on, but I do agree with what you wrote below:

    ‘I’ve never tried to decipher Bourdain’s psyche or addictions too much. I tend to think the most obvious explanation is the right one, and the link between the skank and his suicide is made of steel.’

    Because society (or at least those on social media) are so obsessed with ‘mental health’ these days, people now find ‘mental illness’ in everything/everyone. I have no idea if Bourdain was mentally ill or not but I don’t think he seemed to be more than anyone else. Yet, people are queueing up to declare him this, that, and the other. Maybe he WAS ‘this, that, and the other’ but could it also be just those things that happen in life and those people you meet that can bring you down? Does it have to be a mental illness? Life is hard. The world is brutal. And if you are a person who thinks a lot about things and, in Bourdain’s case, is a romantic, and has certain standards then you are open to being taken advantage of and being abused. That’s not necessarily mental illness (though it might be in some cases). I just think it’s too easy and convenient to simply declare him mentally ill/depressed and then that means that being abused by a partner no longer matters. I’d love to see the same people who’ve been defending Argento (or dismissing her clear abuse of him/and his friends/family as ‘his fault/mental illness/depression/addiction’) defend a man who abused a woman to despair and suicide. I bet they wouldn’t I bet the ONLY reason Argento is getting a free pass is because she has a vagina (and perhaps partly because of who her dad is).

    About what you say below:

    ‘I think Bourdain initially latched onto the skank because he was simply trying to recapture what he had with Ottavia (loving, nurturing Italian woman, warm home base, big welcoming family, etc.), although it turned out the women are polar opposites. But he initially had no way of knowing because the skank morphs into whatever her prey wants her to be, AND she came with the bonus of being in “the business” and having a supposed knowledge base of music and film to match his own.’

    That could very well be true. It’s a shame if he thought that it was good for him to be with someone ‘in the business’. That was probably a terrible idea because this Argento-loser seemed to see their relationship purely as a competition and a way to get herself some easy money. Was it ever a relationship beyond a transaction? I severely doubt it.

    It’s ‘funny how now she pretends to be a reformed/reborn Buddhist type goodie-goodie, it just hammers home her evil personality further. At least, when she was drugged up to her eyeballs or drunk out of her skull one can see why she might not have acknowledged what a shitshow she is. But now that she can ‘think clearly, she really should be able to admit what she did. She should not make money out of/and gain sympathy from playing the ‘poor widow’ or the poor soul who was abused and given a bad hand when she herself is the abuser and user. That’s why I’m so angry about this still; because she abused someone to his death, knowingly and deliberately destroyed a family (father-daughter) and then afterwards, SHE is playing the victim that we all have to feel sorry for. It’s the height of cruelty. And she’s getting away with it in plain sight.

  56. catsworking says:

    GlamourMilk, I think we all drag around the effects of our life experiences, and they color how we navigate everything. That’s not mental illness. We encounter people who recognize certain things in us and know how to press our buttons. Again, I use the example of Trump instinctively knowing on a mass scale that uneducated people he has nothing but contempt for would LOVE his appeals to their ignorance and racism and need for a “savior” and he’s been exploiting it ever since. He was once a Democrat, but realized Republican rubes would be easier marks.

    As for Bourdain’s issues, who knows? He did seem prone to bouts of depression, but so are many people. He had some extraordinary pressures on him, thanks to fame, but he managed to bounce back and keep on going. In the end, it’s said he had started therapy, which would have been while he was with the skank, so he knew the situation had become unmanageable.

    He also had a strong moral compass when it came to integrity, loyalty, honesty (his “lies” were usually omissions, not untruths).

    He began to unravel when he fell under the thrall of a woman with NO moral compass who compromised him in every way she could. When he died, he was paying $10K a month to keep her rape victim silent, an act of supreme hypocrisy after how he publicly lauded her participation in the #MeToo movement. This was something she could use to blackmail him for the rest of his life and struck at the very core of his integrity.

    I think it had reached the point where he realized he had nothing to look forward with her except a lifetime of fear (of being exposed as a hypocrite) and public humiliation. If ever he didn’t do or give her whatever she wanted, she would just fuck another guy for the paparazzi. And he knew there was no escaping her because she’s insane. It would have turned into a Fatal Attraction situation, more humiliation.

    In the moment he decided to end his life, he felt he was in a no-win with no way out. Sadly, if he’d just gone downstairs where Eric was waiting for him and spilled his guts about it, he may have gotten through it.

  57. GlamourMilk says:

    Cats –
    Hope you’re well.
    I enjoyed this interview with Woolever (I think it’s recent). Not sure about the interviewer though. He seemed to have a bit of a pro-Argento agenda. Having said that, I really like Woolever. She’s good at speaking and saying interesting things. She answered some things I hadn’t heard before, also in regards to Vitale’s book:

    https://touristinformation.podbean.com/e/episode-76-laurie-woolever/

  58. catsworking says:

    Hey, GlamourMilk, I’m fine. I took last week off because I knew few people would be checking in during the long holiday weekend.

    I know I’ve heard this guy’s interview with Tom Vitale, but Woolever is a new one. I give her great credit for taking on the HUGE task of pulling all this information together.

    What I’m seeing in Woolever is that the more she’s interviewed, the more she seems to be analyzing the material and reaching new conclusions. From what I understand, she actually had very little face time with him all those years, so she knew all about the logistics of his life because she arranged them, but relatively little firsthand experience interacting with him.

    I’m listening to your link right now.

  59. GlamourMilk says:

    Cats –

    Oh, I forgot to say Happy Thanksgiving (for last week).
    I agree with what you say about Woolever. I’m not too keen on the interviewer. He seems to have an agenda of showing how ‘insightful’ he is. He asks some of the same questions as he asked that Bustillos-journalist who he also interviews about Bourdain. It’s as if he has some points he wants to make and desperately try to make them bite. I’m almost curious about hearing him interviewing other people to see if this is something he always does.

  60. catsworking says:

    GlamourMilk, I saw that he had also interviewed Maria Bustillos. The fact alone that he interviewed Vitale, Bustillos (who did the most comprehensive interview with Bourdain before his death) and Woolever indicates to me that he’s on some mission to find out something about Tony.

    I would like to listen to the Bustillos interview because I find her even more insightful than Woolever because she’s got journalistic experience.

    This is nothing against Laurie, but her writing background doesn’t really include interviewing. She’s good with information she’s given or researches, but she doesn’t seem to try to go beneath the surface, which is what’s needed in writing about Bourdain unless you just rely on the stories he put out there or those close to him are willing to divulge.

    This guy Charles Leerhsen who’s written the unauthorized biography has done some digging, at least it appears so from what he’s tweeted about his book.

  61. GlamourMilk says:

    Cats –

    Maybe you could interview Charles Leerhsen for your blog 🙂
    Even though it’s ‘unauthorised’ it also says on Amazon that the book is ‘based on extensive interviews with those who knew him intimately’. So I guess he has interviewed some of the ‘inner circle’ also?! Obviously, the main breadcrumb at the moment is this line, which might just reveal a continuation of what we already know or really be explosive news: ‘…when he fell hard for an Italian actress who could be even colder to him than he sometimes was to others, and who effectively drove a wedge between him and his young daughter.’

  62. catsworking says:

    GlamourMilk, I would love to interview him, but I haven’t tried to contact him yet. Maybe when we’re a bit closer to publication.

    I wonder who the “inner circle” could be, since Woolever’s book gathered family, friends, and crew who knew they were contributing to a project sanctioned by the family. Would those same people be willing to wander off and talk smack about Tony to someone digging into the muck? I doubt it.

    And from the sentence you quoted, it does indicate he’s going for the muck, which was bound to happen at some point. Maybe he’s interviewed the skank, or even Rose McGowan or Rain Dove, who were pretending to be BFFs of the skank at the time. As dubious as their veracity is, they would undoubtedly know something about the skank’s machinations to isolate Bourdain and drain his bank account.

    Or maybe he’s even talked to Jimmy Bennett, or has uncovered who leaked the Bennett story to The New York Times. I’m probably getting my hopes up. 😉

  63. GlamourMilk says:

    Cats –

    You’re probably right. If it is going for the dirt, why would the people who cared about Tony talk to the author? In that case, that line on Amazon promises something it can’t keep. Unless, as you suggest, the ‘inner circle’ means people who didn’t actually care about Tony (like AA or McGowan etc). In that case, I’m definitely torn about the book. If it’s just going for sensationalised dirt without fact-checking. I hope not.

  64. catsworking says:

    Glamour, this book seems to be on the level. I believe the publisher is Simon & Schuster, a major American house here who wouldn’t put out something that’s going get sued. Also, Leerhsen himself has many publishing credits in national publications (mostly as a sports writer), so he’s not going to throw away his reputation and credibility to create a scandal over Bourdain. I do wonder why he chose Bourdain to write about.

    Leerhsen may present the many angles we’ve all hashed over. As long as he’s clear that they’re theories and not facts, he should be OK. There’s no such legal thing as defaming the dead, although the dead’s estate may come after you.

    But all that said, I imagine he got a lot of doors slammed in his face, and settled for the next layer outside the inner circle, which would include the skank and her human barnacles, or people Tony worked with who have juicy stories but weren’t close enough for Woolever to include.

    I’ve already preordered the book and will definitely read it. There’s another on Amazon that’s now way, way, way down the list if you do a search that appears to be an English translation about all the conspiracy theories around Bourdain’s death, questioning if it was really a suicide.

  65. GlamourMilk says:

    Cats –

    I will likely end up reading it too. We will probably see some reviews in the months/weeks before publication which will be a good indication of what kind of book it is beforehand.

    As for the book that questions whether it was a suicide or not – I think I’ll pass 🙂

    I think there was a book a while ago that claims to interview Bourdain from the dead. I mean, seriously?

    I’ve yet to read Bourdain’s fiction. I think I will try to dig into Gone Bamboo for Christmas. If it takes place in the Caribbean (as I think it does) then it’ll be a welcome setting as I always like to pretend I’m somewhere warm in the cold season.

  66. catsworking says:

    GlamourMilk, I haven’t read the novels in many years, but I do remember laughing and enjoying them. I know one of them travels to the Caribbean, maybe both. He wrote the first one there.

    As for the new unauthorized bio, I have confirmed that Leerhsen was probably the writer who was nosing around the crew after Tony’s death and they probably closed ranks. So the “inner circle” he refers to may very well be the skank’s.

    And I think I once came across a video on YouTube where someone claimed they’d made contact with Bourdain in spirit. I didn’t watch it. I’m sure Tony had better things to do while acclimating himself to his afterlife than chit-chatting with randos.

  67. GlamourMilk says:

    ‘I’m sure Tony had better things to do while acclimating himself to his afterlife than chit-chatting with randos.’

    Lol 🙂

    Here’s another yucky quote from an interview with AA (https://www.domanipress.it/intervista-asia-argento-io-da-sola-in-un-letto-dopo-aver-sfidato-i-tabu-ed-aver-lottato-contro-il-mondo-ho-affrontato-lautopsia-di-me-stessa-guardando-la-vita-con-occhi-nuovi/). She genuinely has no shame and no concept of guilt or consequence of her actions. No wonder she’s been able to ‘feel her karma change’ and has been able to ‘file away old resentments’. Easy for her. She’s not the one who was abused to death by her partner. She honestly seems to not give a fuck about how her actions affect others. But I guess she only ever cared about Tony’s money and since she’s probably inherited money from her mother she no longer feels ‘resentment’ about Tony not leaving her his money, And therefore she can let go of all the shit she created because it no longer affects her now that she has money again. It all makes sense. I like how she points out that many bad things have been said about her. No shit, Sherlock! Wonder why that is. I mean, why do people talk badly about Harvey Weinstein? Why do people talk badly about Donald Trump? There’s a reason. These are all abusive people who shit on others to get what they want with no thought of the consequences. Trump, Weinstein, Argento. All the same type of personality:

    Some time ago you also revealed unedited details of your life by delving into the past for the biography “Anatomy of a Wild Heart“. What stage of life are you in today?

    «For me, the writing of these projects has been therapeutic and it is as if I wanted to photograph the moment to turn the page. It all started with the death of my mother which caused enormous suffering, I carried this burden with me for several years, they are wounds that do not marginalize but that can be overcome. Some time before I was involved in various “scandals” that hurt me deeply. Many bad things have been said about me, it seemed to me to get up and then fall back. After realizing that I had hit rock bottom I wanted to deal with my suffering starting from an autopsy that helped me, I felt my karma change, my life changed for the better, I filed away resentments, old grudges and remorse that persecuted me. “

  68. catsworking says:

    GlamourMilk, didn’t her mother die exactly one year ago? Maybe she measures her suffering over that in dog years.

    Maybe she’s forgotten she called her mother a loser bitch on social media.

    That’s a laugh, what people said about her involvement in her various self-inflicted scandals “hurt her deeply.” As a narcissist to her very core, ANY attention, good or bad, seems to feed her sickness and she lives for it. Just like Trump. Constantly bringing her misdeeds back to mind by alluding to them in interviews (like Trump and his “stolen election”) excites her.

    Ultimately, the joke’s on her when she finds out that feigning spirituality can’t undo all the bad karma she’s accumulated. I predict she’s another one heading for a bad end. It will be dramatic (she smears “Fuck You” all over the walls in her own blood) and staged. A cry for attention she takes too far when real artists in film and music start treating her like an unfuckable, no-talent has-been. Could happen when menopause kicks in and her estrogen dries up.

  69. GlamourMilk says:

    AA is quoting Hemingway on her social media now, which of course she has the right to do, but the choice of quote + choice of writer (who was famous for his writing, travels and ultimately killing himself), leaves a sour taste in my mouth. She has some nerve to portray herself as anything important when she’s caused so much damage, is a sociopathic abuser and belongs in prison like her partner-in-cruelty, Harvey Weinstein:

    ‘The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.
    Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms’

  70. catsworking says:

    Yikes, Glamour, you just reminded me that I completely forgot to do a post today. Busy, busy, with Christmas on top of everything.

    Agree that the skank quoting Hemingway is her typical bad taste. I’m familiar with that quote for some reason, so it must kick around a lot because I haven’t read any Hemingway since school.

    The thing about the skank is that she simply doesn’t know how NOT to be an attention whore. It’s what she’s done her whole life. When she was young, she had some success flaunting herself, thanks to her name and the doors it opened (not because of any particular talent). As a narcissist, attention became her drug of choice and she’s hooked for life.

    The only way to be rid of her is for the world to ignore her. But like Trump (again) that will never happen because there will always be stupid suckers she/he can exploit to get their $$ and attention fix.

    I’m sorry the Jimmy Bennett matter went nowhere. Had she been held accountable for the first time in her life, it might have helped rein her in a bit.

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