About Michael Gross

Michael Gross, one of America's most provocative non-fiction writers, is the author of the New York Times bestsellers House of Outrageous Fortune, 740 Park and Model, as well as Rogues' Gallery, Unreal Estate, My Generation and Focus, The Sexy, Secret, Sometimes Sordid World of Fashion Photographers. He is a Contributing Editor of Departures and his journalism has appeared in The New York TimesNew YorkVanity Fair, Esquire, GQ and many other publications.

 
 
January 21 2020

Peggy Siegal: The Wheel Goes ‘Round

One time PR powerhouse Peggy Siegel is profiled in the new Vanity Fair, says The Daily Front Row, which appears delighted by her comeuppance—-as well as her dubious defenses and reportedly collapsing business—-in the wake of the cascade of indecent exposures regarding her close association with the late Jeffrey Epstein. In VF, per The Daily Beast, she even equated the generalized disdain toward her attempts to rehabilitate Epstein to Nazi-calibre anti-Semitism.

This all reminded me of something I wrote about Peggy back when she was still riding high, as opposed to hanging on the ropes. In Social Life in a Blender, a 1998 New York cover story, she spoke to me about some of her friends and clients, some of them… Continue reading

January 11 2020

Unreal Estate E-book Available Now

Unreal Estate: Money, Ambition, and The Lust For Land in Los Angeles, the second book in my luxury real estate trilogy, is finally available again, exclusively as an e-book. Said the Los Angeles Times: “Paragraphs of jaw-dropping details about a type of extravagance that might have been scorned even by the very wealthy on the Titanic. But [Unreal Estate] also leaves the reader with a sense of history….[It’s] what would happen if Us Weekly and Architectural Digest had a love child that was much smarter than either. The book provides a panorama of what was going on inside some of the most frivolous, gated houses on a hill that have ever existed.”

To get a copy click a link for Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Amazon Continue reading

December 27 2019

Imperial Populist: Rogues’ Gallery Redux

With museum boards much in the news in 2019, why not a look back to 1939, when the improbable populist Robert Moses, destroyer of neighborhoods, took on New York’s plutocracy and demanded they let fresh air into what was then their private playground, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Closing the Tenth Anniversary of its publication, The Daily Beast excerpts Rogues’ Gallery, my book on the museum’s board and benefactors. Continue reading

December 24 2019

Happy Holidays

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December 17 2019

Books Make Great Gifts

Pick a book and click a link to purchase. Continue reading

November 27 2019

All About Avedon

Photographer Gideon Lewin‘s highly anticipated book Avedon is out this week after a long delay caused by a legal tussle with the Richard Avedon Foundation, which sought to claim ownership of images Lewin shot in his many years as Avedon’s studio manager, and to claw back pictures the generous Avedon had given him. It’s an important companion piece to Focus, my book on postwar fashion photographers, in which Avedon plays the most prominent role, with Lewin as one of the chorus of voices telling the great one’s story. I used no Avedon images in Focus because the foundation insisted on approving any text about him–and they’re easy enough to find. Now, we can all see Lewin’s images, too. I, for one, can’t wait.,

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November 16 2019

The Night of The Hunter: Jeffrey Epstein and Jean-Luc Brunel

Jean-Luc Brunel (pictured) is like Lay’s Potato Chips to the French media. They can’t get enough of him–even though he’s bad for you. FranceTV just aired the latest piece on Jeffrey Epstein’s rabbateur and asked me to describe my experiences with him. Watch it here (but you need to understand French).

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November 15 2019

Playboy Club closes…again

I see that the Playboy Club has gone belly up. I covered that story…23 years ago!

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November 8 2019

Flashback: Trump Trips in ’91

Today’s Wall Street Journal took me back to a story I barely recall writing in 1991.

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November 7 2019

The Real Deep State: 740 Park

Today’s New York Times reviews Aaron Glantz‘s Homewreckers, on the real estate meltdown that sparked the Great Recession. The Times notes that many of the perpetrators in the book’s pages live under the same Park Avenue roof, but doesn’t reveal the address, and names only one of them. That’s Steven Mnuchin, now Secretary of the Treasury, and one of the current administration’s few surviving Original Cheerleaders. The building is 740 Park of course, and John Thain, Steve Schwarzman (with Mnuchin, O.C. Wilbur Ross, and anther guy on the book’s jacket), as well as former resident Ronald O. Perelman, are all covered. Thanks to Glantz for citing my book on the building, still in print–and relevant–thirteen years after it…

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October 16 2019

Coming Soon: Unreal Estate, the e-book

I’m happy to reveal that Unreal Estate, my social/real estate history of the richest communities in Los Angeles, will shortly be re-published, exclusively as an e-book, after almost seven years out of print. “Great Hollywood houses, great Hollywood tragedies, great book,” said The Chicago Tribune. I’ll post a link for purchase as soon as it’s available.

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October 7 2019

L’affaire Brunel: Jeffrey Epstein’s French Connection

Last week, Radio France broadcast and published its multi-platform look into Jean-Luc Brunel, the French model agent alleged to have “fed” young models to Jeffrey Epstein, the pervert plutocrat who killed himself in his jail cell rather than face his accusers. The Cellule Investigation references both my 1995 book (called Top Model in its French translation) and my recent recollection of a disturbing encounter with Brunel in The Daily Beast. To hear the show (in French), go to this…

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October 3 2019

Rogues’ Gallery Redux

Rogues Gallery

Today’s New York Times reflects the current fashion for questioning the composition of the boards of cultural institutions. Ten years ago, Rogues’ Gallery did the same, using the sometimes sordid stories of the founders and boards of the Metropolitan Museum of Art as a window on the ways cultural philanthropy is used by the wealthy and powerful to launder their reputations, and how those institutions encourage and protect them. The Times’ Book Review called the book “a blockbuster exhibition of human achievement and flaws.” So is the paper’s must-read story today.

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September 25 2019

Green With Desire

The Hollywood Reporter looks back at Dolly Green, daughter of a founder of Beverly Hills, and a major character in my book Unreal Estate. They call her an original housewife of Beverly Hills, a description rife with reality-TV tackiness that surely would have made her bristle. Her full life story will again be available in a new e-book-only re-release of Unreal Estate, to be published soon.

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September 2 2019

A Labor Day Flashback

Labor Day weekend 1997 tout Southampton was at David Koch’s annual beach fireworks party when the new broke that the Princess of Wales had died in Paris shortly before the party broke up. Ever a reporter, I woke up my editor and nine days later, my story “The Princess and the Jackals” appeared in New York magazine. “Those in the press and the public who blame the paparazzi for Diana’s death,” read the deck, “need to come to terms with their own predatory instincts.”

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August 29 2019

My Night With Jeffrey Epstein’s Rabbateur

Twenty five years ago in Paris, I interviewed Jean-Luc Brunel, the model agent now alleged to have procured underage girls for the late Jeffrey Epstein, for a book on the modeling business subtitled The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women. That night I got an acrid taste of just how ugly it could be. Highlights of that interview appeared in the book. I never told the rest—until now. The Daily Beast has the story.

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August 25 2019

L’Affair Epstein: The French Connection

Tonight’s edition of 66 Minutes, the French equivalent of our 60 Minutes, includes a segment on Jeffrey Epstein and one of his key enablers, the French model agent and Miami modelizer Jean-Luc Brunel. Brunel was first exposed on 60 Minutes in 1988, and (apparently) first responded in a lengthy interview he gave for my 1995 book Model, which is featured at the 42-minute mark. Click here to watch it. Thanks to interviewer Edward Bally.

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August 23 2019

On David Koch (b. 1940, d.2019)

In 2014, as acting editor of Avenue, sitting in that chair for just a few months, I faced a challenge. The October cover had been promised to David Koch, the right wing zealot and social figure, on condition the story be focused purely on his philanthropy, which was a legitimate subject–and ignore his more controversial political activism and influence. So I faced the question, how to package a story I hadn’t assigned when I had issues with its content. Koch himself provided the solution when he posed for the cover at the American Museum of Natural History, one of his favorite causes, with a dinosaur skeleton, wearing a dinosaur tie. The resulting cover (above, click it to see it full size) made my point perfectly…

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August 20 2019

Meet Jeffrey Epstein’s Enabler

French modeling agent Jean-Luc Brunel has become a focus of journalistic inquiry in the days since pedo Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide. Yesterday, Brunel made the front page of the Washington Post in a story that cites Model: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women. According to RTL, the French radio network, I’m “one of the few people to interview the Frenchman.” You can buy the book here. (Photo: Craig Pyes) UPDATE: My in-box continues to be a beacon for reporters on Brunel’s trail. Expect more revelations to come.

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August 7 2019

Toxic Trustees: Named and Shamed

New York Magazine’s Whitney Mallett and Katy Schneider have created a guide to the latest gallery of rogues to join the boards of the city’s leading cultural philanthropies. Rogues’ Gallery gets a shout-out–alongside Metropolitan Museum board members like Henry Kissinger and David Koch.

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