There’s a new book out today from George Rush and Joanna Molloy. Scandal: A Manual is written mostly from Rush’s point of view and offers 256 pages of breezy anecdotes from the pair’s separate and combined days in the trenches of NYC celebrity gossip.
One of the main takeaways is how much more fun this beat was before the Internet took a firm 24/7 hold. It was never quite a noble profession, but pre-Gawker, TMZ and the rest, the pair only had to compete with the New York Post, most of the time in playful ways:
We tried not to yank people out of the closet. But we did sometimes give clues.We once ran a photo of ‘N Sync’s Lance Bass with Jamie Lynn-Sigler and Shannon Elizabeth as they picked out free stuff at a hospitality suite. Bass’ then-secret partner, Reichen Lehmkuhl, was with them.
In the caption, Johanna mischievously wrote: “What rhymes with Swag Bags?” It was naughty, but it got a lot of pick-up. One blogger wrote: “I thought it was really wrong of Rush & Molloy. But really hilarious.” A few weeks later, Bass came out.
As with many digital revolutions, the beginning of the end for Rush & Molloy was heralded rather modestly. In the spring of 1997, while covering the Oscars in Los Angeles, the pair were introduced in their Chateau Marmont suite by a mutual friend to a “geeky guy” named of Matt Drudge. The rest is black-on-white Web history.
“The era of the professional gossip is almost obsolete,” the pair note at the end of Scandal. “It was fun while it lasted.” Boy was it ever, starting at the top of the book with some Candace Bushnell antics that never made it into the HBO series.[Jacket cover: Skyhorse Publishing]