Some News from the Post-Bourdain World

June 23, 2018

By Karen

It’s now been two weeks since Anthony Bourdain’s June 8 suicide in Kaysersberg, France. He was found hanging in his hotel bathroom by the belt from his robe, and reports now say that he was discovered by the hotel receptionist, not friend Eric Ripert.

The French authorities who investigated found no suspicious circumstances around his death, so the only testing they apparently did was to collect blood and urine samples for a toxicology report, whose results were announced yesterday.

Reuters quoted prosecutor Christian de Rocquigny as concluding…

“No trace of narcotics, no trace of any toxic products, no trace of medicines, no trace of alcohol.”

REUTERS UPDATE JUNE 22: Reuters revised their story to say that a trace of alcohol WAS found, according to the prosecutor, who apparently doesn’t speak fluent English or doesn’t know how to read a tox report…

“‘No trace of narcotics. No trace of any toxic products. Trace of medicines in therapeutic dose. Trace of alcohol,’ he said, listing the findings of the investigation.”

This is what the prosecutor told the New York Times News Service, neglecting to mention the alcohol…

“There were none, save for the trace of a nonnarcotic medicine in a therapeutic dose, Christian de Rocquigny, the local prosecutor in charge of the investigation, said in a text message to The New York Times.”

I remember Tony once saying that he took a statin for his cholesterol. Perhaps that’s what the trace of therapeutic medicine was.

What we now know from this is that Tony’s thought process was not impaired by any substance when he decided to end his life. Exactly what his thoughts were, we’ll never know.

Tony’s brother Chris received on June 15 Tony’s ashes and all of the belongings he had with him in France — this presumably included his electronic devices.

If one of Tony’s last acts wasn’t to erase the history on his devices, Chris may hold the key to whomever Tony last communicated with and whatever writing he may have left behind.

In the New York Times story, Tony’s mother Gladys said she was no fan of Tony’s tattoos, but she plans to have his tattoo artist put her son’s name on her wrist as a personal memorial.

Asia Argento’s behavior on social media has swung between melancholy and defiance. Page Six provided a run-down. She’s working as a judge on X Factor for Sky Italia, filming in Turin.

With input from the family, Chris is arranging a small private service for Tony. No public memorial is planned, but I’ve seen these stories of memorials popping up around the country.

Food & Wine reported…

“New Jersey Assemblyman Paul Moriarty of Camden proposed an official Anthony Bourdain Food Trail, which would be established by the Division of Travel and Tourism. In a decision that would seemingly make such a trail authentic to Bourdain’s own wishes, the proposed route would encompass the ten spots he visited during his “New Jersey” episode of Parts Unknown that aired as part of Season 5 of the series back on May 31, 2015.”

Brother Chris accompanied Tony for that episode.

Artists are busy creating murals, such as…

Marcus Zotter in Naples, Florida.

Nathan Lyle and Brandon Barnhart in Pensacola, Florida.

Jonas Never in Santa Monica, California.

Posthumously, Bourdain has been nominated for a TV Critics Award for Outstanding Achievement in News and Information. The awards ceremony is August 4, and here’s who Tony is competing against. He’s swinging against some heavy hitters…

  • “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” – CNN
  • “60 Minutes” – CBS
  • “Blue Planet 2” – BBC America
  • “The Rachel Maddow Show” – MSNBC
  • “The Vietnam War” – PBS
  • “Wild Wild Country” – Netflix

Eater has a preview of the Season 11 Parts Unknown finale in Bhutan. Warning: The opening of the clip is disturbing. And filmmaker Darren Aronofsky wrote about traveling with Tony to Madagascar several years ago, and also tagging along for this shoot in Bhutan.

PS: Tony’s birthday is Monday, June 25. He would have been 62 years old.


Anthony Bourdain’s Death: What We Know So Far

June 18, 2018

By Karen

In case you’ve been under a rock the past week or so, on Friday morning, June 8, in Le Chambard Hotel in the town of Kayersburg, in Strasbourg, France, while on a shoot for Parts Unknown, Eric Ripert found Anthony Bourdain hanging from the belt of his hotel-supplied bathrobe in the bathroom of his room.

Bourdain’s body was transported to nearby Colmar, where it remained for five days, the typical time to complete French formalities in such situations.

The authorities almost immediately ruled it a suicide, but took urine and blood for a toxicology report.

By Tuesday, June 12, Eric Ripert seemed to be back in New York because he tweeted a landmark there.

On Wednesday, June 13, Bourdain’s body was cremated. He was to be returned to the U.S. on Friday, June 15. This is where the story stops.

But backing up a bit…

On Tuesday, June 5, photos of Bourdain’s girlfriend, Asia Argento, 42, were published online, showing her in Rome on Monday, behaving overly friendly with 28-year-old French reporter Hugo Clement. Hugo had apparently accompanied Asia to the Cannes Film Festival, where on May 19, she took the stage and denounced the festival as Harvey Weinstein’s “hunting ground.”

Bourdain had publicly praised Argento’s courage at Cannes.

More photos of Argento and Hugo dancing and flirting in a restaurant were published by another paparazzi in a restaurant sometime over the weekend immediately prior. This was the same weekend the Hong Kong episode of Parts Unknown, which Bourdain had hired Argento to direct and he considered the pinnacle of his career, was aired in the U.S.

On June 8, three hours before Bourdain’s death was announced, Argento posted a photo of herself on Instagram wearing a T-shirt that said “Fuck Everyone,” with the caption, “You know who you are.” She later deleted it.

Bourdain was not yet divorced from Ottavia, so she is next of kin and Bourdain’s mother Gladys said Ottavia is in charge of all further arrangements.

Now, here’s what we don’t know…

Did Bourdain, a prolific and constant writer, leave a note or anything explaining his mental state?

Who last saw him alive? When was that? What was his demeanor? Did he say anything?

What was the exact time of death? He missed dinner Thursday night and breakfast Friday morning before he was found. That’s a large window of time when it could have happened.

Will results of the toxicology report ever be released?

Was there any communication between him and Argento from June 5 when her photos surfaced and June 8, when he was pronounced dead?

What became of his electronic devices that would most likely have those answers: phone, iPad, laptop? Last we knew of them, they were in a safe in France.

Did he ashes arrive safely back in New York?

Has there been a private funeral?

Will there be a public memorial?

Argento has posted photos and cryptic messages on Instagram, and authorized a bizarre rant in her defense by Rose McGowan. Will those two go any further to claim attention for themselves to capitalize on this tragedy?

AND: Remember the West Virginia episode that opened season 11 of Parts Unknown? Apparently, Bourdain borrowed a miner’s lunch pail for some shooting and forgot it in the mine. That family will never forget Tony. Here’s what happened.


NYT Offers a Bit More Detail on Bourdain’s Death

June 9, 2018

By Karen

I’ve been keeping an eye out, and the New York Times just published an updated obituary with a quote from Anthony Bourdain’s mother, Gladys, who is as much in disbelief as the rest of us that her son was capable of killing himself.

The 10th paragraph is most telling. Gladys mentions that Eric Ripert told her Tony had been in “dark mood” the “past couple of days,” which would coincide with when the Daily Mail published pictures of Asia Argento tooling around Rome looking very chummy with what appeared to be an age-appropriate (to her) French reporter.

Tony was staying at the luxury Le Chambard hotel in Kayserberg, France, when he died.

French authorities are saying they are treating it as a suicide “at this stage.” I don’t know what other stages there could be. He’s gone and we’re all left asking why.

EXTRA: Just found this interview from January with The Guardian. The last paragraph adds a new layer of bizarre to this sad ending.


It’s Time for Tony (Bourdain) Trivia!

April 8, 2008

By Karen

On the eve of Ariane Bourdain’s first birthday, I scoured the Internet for a recent photo of her and turned up some tidbits about her dad, Anthony Bourdain. If you’re boning up for Jeopardy, here’s some Tony trivia:

Anthony Bourdain was born in Manhattan on June 25, 1956, which makes him a Cancer. He shares his birthday with writer George Orwell.

Anthony Bourdain

Tony grew up in Leonia, N.J. His middle name is Michael. He has one brother, Christopher, who’s 2 years younger.

Tony attended Englewood School for Boys (now the Dwight-Englewood School) and graduated in 1973. That fall, he was among the first males to attend Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. to be near his girlfriend, Nancy Putkoski. He dropped out after 2 years, but he married Nancy.

In 1975, Tony entered the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., and he graduated in 1978. His first job after college was at the Rainbow Room in Rockefeller Center.

Tony’s father was Pierre Bourdain, who hailed from Arcachon, France. A raw oyster from Arcachon has become world-famous as the one Tony tasted on a family summer vacation in 1966. It set him on his quest for new taste sensations.

Pierre worked his way up from humble jobs at places like Sam Goody’s to become an executive in the classical-music recording industry. In 1987, he died of a heart attack at his home in Manhattan at age 57. Tony’s mother wasn’t mentioned in his obituary, so it seems Tony’s parents were divorced, probably when Tony was in his 20s.

Gladys was a stay-at-home mom until Tony was a teenager, but she’s been working as a copy editor for the New York Times for more than 20 years.

Tony and Nancy split in 2004, but their divorce wasn’t final until early 2007. Nancy worked in advertising (maybe still does).

In the early 1990s, Tony’s Vassar roommate, Gordon Howard, persuaded Tony to finish his first novel, Bone in the Throat, by paying for him to take a 10-day vacation in Cozumel, Mexico. Tony finished the book 6 months later, then Gordon pitched it to Random House. It was published in 1995, but Tony’s writing career didn’t take off until Kitchen Confidential was published in 2000. Fox briefly aired Kitchen Confidential as a sitcom in 2005 starring Bradley Cooper as chef Jack Bourdain.

Between Nancy and his present wife, Ottavia, Tony dated Paula Froelich, a writer for the New York Post in her mid-30s, for about five months in 2005-06. Paula doesn’t have fond memories of their relationship.

Tony and Paula, his between-wives girlfriend

Tony and Paula, his between-wives girlfriend.

Tomorrow I’ll tell you what I found on Ariane and Ottavia.

(Disclaimer: I verified with multiple sources whenever possible, but reached some conclusions on my own based on the facts.)


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