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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.

November 18 2021

Diana, Panned

The reviews are in and they are uniformly lousy, comparing those responsible for Broadway’s Diana, the Musical, to the papparazzi who killed the People’s Princess. Which reminded me of “The Princess and the Jackals,” written just after the death of the Princess of Wales. Click each page below to read it.
Continue reading

October 29 2021

“Nothing is worse than the movie business,” said Alec Baldwin

In 1997, I spent several days with Alec Baldwin for a cover story in New York magazine on his political ambitions, then said to be running hot. Baldwin’s political opinions continued to run hot, even if his path to a career in politics went nowhere. Now, with his movie career disrupted by the shooting death of a crew member on his latest film, here’s Alec in happier days. Continue reading

October 15 2021

Radical Lovers

The New Yorker has released an alternately loving and profane documentary on the late (and unexpectedly potty-mouthed) radical lawyer Michael Kennedy and his wife and trial consultant Eleanora Kennedy. Its tight focus is their youthful radicalism. For a lot of the rest of the story (and there’s a lot), here’s my 1991 cover story on the couple for New York magazine, written when he represented Ivana Trump in her divorce from that guy. Though my story was positive toward Ivana, the Kennedys threw me out of their apartment one question into an interview–and I got curious about them. The result was one of the most fascinating reporting adventures of my life. Continue reading

October 13 2021

Resto a Go-Go

This week’s terrific New York Magazine profile of Balathazar/Pastis/Morandi impresario Keith McNally–which includes an account of his breakup with his once-upon-a-time partner in London’s Balthazar, the former garmento Richard Caring, reminded me of my 2015 Departures (R.I.P.) story on the food fight between Caring and his beloved rival Jeremy King, the creator of many of Caring’s properties as well as my favorite Brit brasserie, The Wolesely. McNally, then still tucked into bed with Caring, was uncharacteristically evasive when asked about their uneasy merger. He “responded to an interview request,” I reported, “with an e-mail reading, ‘Better I stay out of this.'” He’s got more to say now. “Never trust a man called… Continue reading

October 1 2021

Model: Coming to Your TV

In Sunday’s Daily News, Richard Johnson reveals that Model: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women is in development as a TV series. Click the image to read the item. Continue reading

September 21 2021

Vanderbilt Genes: “I don’t talk about it,” says Anderson Cooper

In Fall 2004, I conducted an interview with Gloria Vanderbilt and her son Anderson Cooper for Bergdorf Goodman Magazine. In honor of Cooper’s just-published book (co-authored by Katherine Howe) on his mother’s family, here is that conversation:

Gloria Laura Vanderbilt, a great-great-great grand-daughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt, aka The Commodore, first entered the public eye as the 10-year-old object of a bitter custody battle pitting her penniless widowed mother against her… Continue reading

September 12 2021

How Did We Get Here? The Rise and Fall of the Met’s Costume Ball

This exclusive excerpt adapted from the 2009 book, Rogues’ Gallery: The Secret History of the Moguls and the Money That Made the Metropolitan Museum, tells the story of the museum’s annual costume party. The 2021 edition of the event will be held tomorrow night.

The Party of the Year, as it was originaly known, was an annual gala planned to raise $25,000 a year to add to the new Costume Institute’s endowment and, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s board hoped, generate publicity and prestige. The first, held in 1948, honored the designer Norman Norell. The second, a supper dance at the Plaza hotel, featured a show of Belle Epoque fashion. A pageant of wedding gowns was the attraction at the third. At another, the… Continue reading

September 11 2021

ViceTV takes on vice in Fashion

ViceTV is first out of the box with a doc on the dark side of fashion modeling, pegged to the legal troubles of model agents Jean-Luc Brunel and Gerald Marie. Model and I are part of the story. Click here to see a preview. Continue reading

September 10 2021

All in the Family

Former treasury guy for the still-an-asshole guy Steven Mnuchin has finally offloaded his long-empty 740 Park Avenue apartment, writes real estate reporter Kim Velsey. The 8th and 9th floor A-line duplex, in his family for three generations, has been sold to a member of another longtime 740 family, Lacey Tisch, daughter of Andrew, whose uncle Thomas and wife Alice Tisch live right next door in the building’s B-line. Both apartments look out over Park Avenue, though Lacey’s place is a bit more majestic. “It took three years and a $10 million price cut,” Velsey writes of the apartment “first listed for $32.5 million in 2018.” He’s a real deal-maker, that Mnuch! Continue reading

August 26 2021

740 Park Prez Rand Araskog, RIP

Rand Araskog, longtime president of the board of directors of the 740 Park cooperative, has died at age 89, reports the New York Times. The former chief executive of ITT, he owned a sixth floor duplex, once the home of “Black Jack” and Janet Bouvier, and the childhood home of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and sister Lee Radziwill, in the building’s sprawling A-line from 1980 until 2005, though who paid for it was a controversial question. A co-op board member is quoted in 740 Park, the building’s biography, ascribing the purchase to ITT, but a note in the conglomerate’s 1980 proxy statement said it was paying the interest on a loan that let him buy and renovate it, as well as a portion of his hefty monthly maintenance fees. … Continue reading

July 28 2021

Timing is Everything

Axios reports that Donald Trump is furious at David McIntosh, president of the right-wing Club for Growth (pictured), for urging him to endorse a candidate who just lost a special election in Texas. Why would I care about a loser and his ill-advisor? Because both Trump and McIntosh are characters in my book My Generation, released in 2000, now available as an e-book which you can buy here. Its thesis was that the Baby Boom was a big tent that included not just the obvious rock and rollers, druggies, gays and assorted progressives and libertines, but arch-conservatives like McIntosh, a former congressman, and oinks like the ex-prez. I got the right interviews, but in the wrong decade. Too much too soon, you might say. Continue reading

June 13 2021

Flashback: The Spy Guys

This second installment of resurfaced BG Conversations from my tenure as editor of Bergdorf Goodman Magazine brought together Kurt Anderson, Graydon Carter and George Kalogerakis of the late lamented Spy Magazine for a chat about the publication of Spy: The Funny Years, an anthology of their greatest hit (jobs) at the satirical dead tree shiv, er, mag. Remember magazines? They used to be a lot of fun for editors, writers and especially, readers. Continue reading

May 30 2021

Before #GetCarter: Dishing with Keith McNally and Nora Ephron

Back in the oughts, I edited Bergdorf Goodman Magazine, and started a regular feature called BG Conversation, in which I invited two eminent New Yorkers to lunch and recorded their conversations. Sometimes they knew each other, sometimes they only wanted to know each other. Often, the conversations sparkled. In light of the social media tempest pitting former Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter against restaurateur Keith McNally, I dug out this gem, a March 2004 BG Conversation featuring Keith and the late essayist, screenwriter and director Nora Ephron from an archive on my hard drive. Click the link to read it. I’ll add more of these conversations to as time goes by. And I’ll see you soon at Pastis! Continue reading

May 29 2021

Model Gets a Fresh Look

Of “the juiciest reads—tell-alls, exposés,” writes Lucia Tonelli on “‘Model’ by Michael Gross is one I pick up regularly, read a few pages, and put down feeling like I’ve satisfied a social itch. The searing biography dives deep.” Thanks, Lucia! Continue reading

May 24 2021

Happy Birthday, Bob

Eighty is a long run for a rock star, but you’re younger than that now. Continue reading

May 20 2021

On The Border

With Europe about to re-open for American travelers, it seems a good moment to revisit a story published last August in Departures (in the depths of lockdown) under the rubric “well kept secret.” Pyla-sur-Mer and Cap Ferret are two of the most magical places I’ve ever visited. And soon, we’ll be able to visit them again. The photo here and in the story are by Ambroise Tézenas. Continue reading

May 15 2021

Book Bits

Two of my books have earned press “hits” this week. An obituary by Penelope Green of modeling agent Barbara Stone put Model back in the New York Times. And Jennifer Gould of the New York Post references 740 Park in her report on former Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin‘s long, and finally-successful effort, to sell a radically price-chopped apartment at 740 Park Avenue that’s been in his family for three generations. Does the price reflect a similar discounting of the reputation of accomplices of the last administration? Continue reading

May 5 2021

Bill Gates: His Do-Right Pre-Nup Woman

Twenty-three years ago, I interviewed Ann Winblad, now 70, the venture capitalist who was Bill Gates‘ girlfriend before his now-ruptured marriage to Melinda French Gates, and has reportedly remained close to the second richest man in the world ever since. The interview, for my book on the Baby Boom, My Generation, was edited out of the final draft. But you can read it here.

Photo: JD Lasica Continue reading

April 24 2021

Suddenly, Last Sumner

The listing of the late Viacom mogul Sumner Redstone’s estate in Beverly Park, near Beverly Hills, for $27.9 million, caused the Hollywood Reporter to revisit Unreal Estate’s opening chapter, in which Sylvester Stallone bought the same property after racist neighbors rose up in fear when Death Row founder Suge Knight almost bought it. Read all about it here or buy the e-book here. Continue reading

April 23 2021

God Save the King (of Sweden)

It’s bittersweet to have a story in the final print issue of Departures before it goes to the magazine graveyard, but sweet to share this piece on the rebirth of the Hotel Carl Gustaf on St. Barth. (That’s the view from its restaurant, pictured.) Continue reading