Steve Oney Tips His Cap to Some Formative Magazine Editors

Adam Moss at Esquire, Eliot Kaplan at GQ

Collection of the veteran writer's pieces hit bookstores May 2.
Headshot of Richard Horgan

Mercer University Press

New this month from Steve Oney, A Man’s World is a collection of 20 of the veteran magazine writer’s favorite pieces. Articles like “A Sinner’s Second Chance,” originally published in the November 1984 issue of Esquire.

The profile of Gregg Allman was Oney’s first piece for the magazine. When the writer sat down with Esquire to talk about the new book, released May 2, he explained how the feature was fine-tuned:

“Ultimately, Adam Moss, not Betsy [Carter], edited my piece, and I owe him a big debt. I buried my lede, which Adam found about six or seven pages in. It’s a passage depicting Gregg’s tour bus coming down I-95 toward New York then at the last second veering off to New Jersey. Gregg was no longer a big enough star to play Manhattan. That scene set the tone for the article and crystalized the theme–redemption and how hard it is to come by. Thank you, Adam.”

At another point in the conversation, Oney revisits “The Real Jake,” a profile of long-serving L.A. police reporter Jake Jacoby, who worked for the City News wire service from 1935 until 1991. Again, an editor played a key role:

“I learned about Jacoby from Eliot Kaplan, then the managing editor of GQ and now a vice president at Hearst magazines. Eliot is great with story ideas and in essence said to me: “This is a fabulous article waiting to be written. Do it.” As it happened, Jake had just produced a huge scoop regarding the identity of a notorious LA serial killer–Richard Ramirez, a.k.a. “the Night Stalker.” That was typical of Jake. He regularly beat his high-powered rivals at the Los Angeles Times. Reporting my piece was like stepping into a Raymond Chandler novel.”

To help promote the book, The Daily Beast has excerpted one of the other highlighted pieces, “An Ordinary Man,” a profile of Harrison Ford that appeared in the March 1988 issue of Premiere magazine. Read it here.

@hollywoodspin Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.