Al Pacino: Out of the Shadows

By Ron Rosenbaum Vanity Fair October 1989 “I think maybe I’ve leaned too much on the clandestine thing,” Al Pacino concedes, a bit ruefully. “It was a phase I was going through.” It’s a phase he’s not entirely out of yet, at least stylistically. Tonight, for instance,...

Shoplift Lit: You Are What You Steal

By Ron Rosenbaum The New York Observer September 29, 1999 So I’m in this car with Dennis Hopper and Sean Penn, two generations of Hollywood Bad Boys. Hopper’s driving, Penn’s in the back. This is maybe a dozen years ago when Sean was still with Madonna, and Hopper had...

The Notorious Libby Holman

By Jon Bradshaw Vanity Fair March, 1985 When Libby Holman arrived in Manhattan in 1924, it was a bold and brassy town, devoted to the pleasure of pleasing itself. Prohibition—“the Great Foolishness,” as the gossip columnist Lucius Beebe called it—was in effect, but it...

Tom Stoppard, Nonstop

By Jon Bradshaw New York January 10, 1977 The Quality Inn is an inferior hostelry in the upper reaches of Regent Street. Two men entered the inn and took a booth toward the back. The taller man, a playwright, carried a large leather bag. For reasons which later...

Death of a Playmate

By Teresa Carpenter The Village Voice November 5, 1980 It is shortly past four in the afternoon and Hugh Hefner glides wordlessly into the library of his Playboy Mansion West. He is wearing pajamas and looking somber in green silk. The incongruous spectacle of a...

The Essential Ron Rosenbaum: Part Two

By Alex Belth The Stacks Reader March 2, 2020 Picking up where we left off with The Essential Ron Rosenbaum: Part One, here’s another (baker’s) dozen from Rosenbaum—from lunches with power brokers in the 1980s, to literary appreciations of Shakespeare, Catch-22, and...

What Might Have Been

By Ron Rapoport From The Immortal Bobby: Bobby Jones and the Golden Age of Golf 2005   Sometime after Augusta National, the home of the Masters, became one of the most famous golf courses in the world, it was suggested that a statue of its founder, Bobby Jones,...

Seeing Catch-22 Twice

By Ron Rosenbaum Slate August 2, 2011 Now, my father wasn’t a big reader and rarely wrote letters, much less to authors. But when I went through a phase in high school of constantly carrying Catch-22 around and quoting from it and writing things like, “There was only...

The Last of the Iron-Assed Loners

By Brad Darrach Penthouse September, 1972 Robert Mitchum slipped into his slate-gray shades and glared warily at Yale University. “A cat like me in a place like this,” he muttered, “could get busted for mopery with intent to gawk.” As he scowled back at the scowling...

Scroll Man

By Stephen Fried The Washington Post Magazine May 10, 1992 It began, like too many change-of-life stories do, with an uncompleted novel. This novel was about King Saul, and, lo, it was bad. In fact, it was very bad. “It was abominable,” recalls its author, “an...

Fear of Reading: Lexical Anhedonia Sweeps the Land

By Marcelle Clements The Baltimore Sun May 19, 1992 Although this is the era in which flaws in the emotional and psychological development of every man, woman, child and dog have been scrutinized in the most minuscule detail, there seems to be no organized interest in...