“Gossip is the art of saying nothing in a way that leaves practically nothing unsaid.” – Walter Winchell
Born on this date in 1897, Winchell rose from what he termed “the mean streets of New York” to become the somewhat mean writer about New York and the entertainment world. A grade school dropout (6th grade) who ran off to join the Vaudeville stage, he became a conduit for sharing showbiz tales at the age of 15, first posting stories on theater walls and then feeding them to entertainment journals.
By age 20, Winchell was working for The Vaudeville News and by 30 for the New York Daily Mirror, where he started a gossip column called On-Broadway. Ultimately, King Features made it the first syndicated column, and Winchell became a worldwide phenomenon. At the height of his popularity 50 million people read his daily column and another 20 million tuned in for his Sunday Night radio broadcast.
Noted for taking a stand against Hitler, Mussolini and Facism and for his support of Civil Rights, he also was notorious for often unjustified attacks on those he thought were trying to hurt his career. But, if he was your friend, he was a true friend no matter what.
“A real friend,” he said, “is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.”