Steve Dunleavy might have loved it: “Hard-consuming” and “difficult-hitting” had been the primary adjectives in the obituaries the New York tabloids published about the city’s prototypical swashbuckling avenue reporter.
Dunleavy, who died June 24 at 81, spent more than half of a century crafting his individual – the brash, regulations-breaking, tough-nosed storyteller who turned into a pal to the law enforcement officials, an enemy of crooks and managers, and a voice of the underdog. From his first newspapers in his native Australia to the New York Post and on early tabloid TV suggests “The Reporters” and “A Current Affair,” he’d do some thing to get a tale – write a take a look at, faux to be someone else, even scale back his father’s tires.
Other newshounds may specific horror at his unethical processes and crimson prose, however they frequently well-known his power, panache and long string of scoops.
Dunleavy become a dandy with a two-inch-high pompadour who chain-smoked Marlboro Lights and taken a especially bloody brand of sensationalism to New York’s tabloid newspapers and to American TV. He proudly paid $one hundred twenty five,000 for an special from Elvis Presley’s bodyguards about the singer’s drug use – an ethics no-no in maximum U.S. Newsrooms. He took facets in battles maximum reporters would examine from a distance. He stated he changed into “now not a super respecter of ‘off the file.’ ” He named his column in the Star tabloid, “The Man They Call Mr. Blood and Guts.”
Covering a tale in Miami, he spent an extended night with detectives running a domestic-invasion robbery case, plying the law enforcement officials with Buds at a sleazy bar. As he left, Dunleavy known as out to his sources, “Anything goes this night, provide us a hoop. We’ll be there like a rat up a drainpipe.” He definitely talked like that.
He wrote like that, too. Homicides have been “bloody carnage,” crooks were full of “blackhearted evilry.” The New York Times once known as his work “nothing quick of vile,” asking, “What type of human beings can we want to be?”
Dunleavy’s response changed into to proudly call his method “sensational.” He said he became a reporter now not to proper wrongs, however because it was a hell of a existence.
Dunleavy’s loss of life, at his home on New York’s Long Island, became confirmed by his son, Sean, who stated the motive changed into now not recognised.
“Steve Dunleavy changed into one of the finest newshounds of all time,” Rupert Murdoch, Dunleavy’s agency for maximum of his career, said in a assertion. “Whether competing along with his own father inside the famous Sydney, Australia tabloid wars or during the last 40 years in New York, Steve’s lifestyles is suffering from excellent scoops. . . . His passing is the give up of a notable era.”
Many might argue that it’s far something but – that Dunleavy’s career marked the start, no longer the give up, of a length of sensationalism and politically skewed pop journalism that helped polarize the u . S . A ..
He had a bunch of hates and he plastered them all over his stories. He couldn’t stand gays, communists, liberals, unions, Kennedys, fitness nuts, squeegee men, bean counters and executives now not named Murdoch. In his last years inside the enterprise, a number of his fellow newshounds called him out for using racial slurs to describe his colleagues.
Dunleavy disregarded such criticism blithely. “Don’t tell me about integrity,” he once told Rolling Stone. “How many notches you bought for your gun? . . . I kinda want to consider myself as a completely middle-class kinda man who feels strongly that the center class is being pissed all over via the elite of presidency in each events and by way of the elite monster referred to as bureaucracy.”
Dunleavy turned into Murdoch’s frontline fighter, the first to be deployed each time the man he known as The Boss jumped into some new journalism undertaking, from the New York Post to the National Star supermarket paper to Fox’s first tabloid TV shows.
Whether he became toiling because the Post’s metropolis editor, in a room that Rolling Stone defined as looking like “the inner of an ashtray,” or roaming the sector for one of Murdoch’s Fox TV indicates, Dunleavy continually aimed toward the jugular. He frequently added.
In the eternal quest for scoops, he plied law enforcement officials with drinks, switchboard operators with plant life, and pimps and punks with cash. He scored an all-night interview with Cuban President Fidel Castro, claiming that the 2 got stinking drunk on mojitos. He gained exclusives with Mafia boss John Gotti and the girls who spent the evening with Sen. Ted Kennedy on Chappaquiddick Island in 1969 the night before Kennedy’s partner drowned.
Born in Sydney on Jan. 21, 1938, Stephen Francis Patrick Aloysius Dunleavy came from a circle of relatives of newspapermen. At age 14, he became a duplicate boy on the Sydney Sun, the paper in which his father became a photographer. By 16, he’d switched to a competing paper to get away accusations that he become taking advantage of favoritism.
During that time, he was up in opposition to his father on a tale approximately lacking hikers. According to many that heard the oft-advised tale, to prevent his competitor from getting the story, Dunleavy slashed his father’s vehicle tires. He later claimed, with a wink, that he hadn’t regarded the auto belonged to his father.
Chasing actress Ava Gardner in Sydney for a story, Dunleavy wouldn’t take no for an answer. Gardner threw a pitcher of champagne at his face. Dunleavy’s tale the following day began like this: “Last night time, I shared a glass of champagne with Ava Gardner. She threw it; I wore it.”
He wanted to paintings on Fleet Street, in one in all London’s mythical newsrooms. To get there, he did stints at papers in Manila, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Madrid and finally London, in which he wrote for United Press International. In 1966, he landed in New York, wherein he found paintings as U.S. Correspondent for Murdoch’s Australian papers, beginning a relationship that lasted until his retirement in 2008.
In 1977, quickly after Murdoch took over the Post, the Son of Sam serial killings brought New York to a lurid fashion of reporting that hadn’t been in vogue in American journalism because the turn of the century. As the Post’s factor guy on the story, Dunleavy managed to hook up with the mother and father of a few victims, becoming their mouthpiece and their protector, shoving TV cameramen away from them even as he scored one distinct after every other, in one case by means of posing as a bereavement counselor to interview a victim’s relative.
He wasn’t shy about touting his get admission to to the sufferers’ dad and mom: “For 13 1/2 hours a Post reporter stood at the side of four brave humans in a painful and regularly stirring vigil,” he wrote, “praying, speakme approximately God and swearing at an unknown madman who has launched a guerilla battle towards the young and beautiful of this metropolis.”
Dunleavy spent years protecting the white New York cops who were convicted in the sexual assault of Abner Louima, a Haitian immigrant, in a police station lavatory in 1997.
In 1994, movie director Oliver Stone said he used Dunleavy as the model for the evil reporter in “Natural Born Killers.”
Dunleavy’s first spouse, Yvonne Dunleavy, reportedly changed into the ghost creator of “The Happy Hooker,” a 1971 exceptional-selling memoir with the aid of Xaviera Hollander. Survivors consist of his wife, Gloria; and sons.
Of all his antics and excesses, Dunleavy changed into proudest of the tricks he pulled to get distinctive memories. In 1987, whilst television evangelist Jim Bakker changed into compelled to surrender from his PTL ministry after revelations of his affair with Jessica Hahn, a former church secretary, ABC’s “Nightline” introduced that it would broadcast the first interview with Hahn.
Dunleavy, eager to get the interview first, raced to Hahn’s suburban New York hideout and banged on the door. Hahn wouldn’t answer, but whilst the ABC limo showed up to take her to the city for the interview, Dunleavy posed as her representative and instructed the driving force she become unwell and couldn’t do the show. The driving force, no fool, went to Hahn’s downstairs neighbor’s vicinity to test out the story. Dunleavy had seen that coming and arranged for the neighbor to lower back up his tale.