Friday, July 18, 2008

Ellen Graham’s eye on the world: Rex Reed

Rex Reed, Malibu, 1969. Photo to appear in Ellen Graham's The Way We Were, due out next year.
Rex Reed in Malibu. Jimmie and Jewel’s kid, from Fort Worth. He came to New York and by the time he was in his mid-20s, he’d become the enfant terrible of the entertainment world.

His profiles in the New York Times were avidly read, reviled and guffawed over. You’d see him on Johnny Carson ripping apart the egos and foibles of the personalities who were the headliners of the day, a perception that could be described accurately as: “oh puh-leeze.” Not everybody loved Rex Reed but few could resist his zingers.

The voice and the drawl still sit in the memory of many ears. When Ellen Graham took this portrait on the beach in Malibu, the boy was maybe not the “toast” of Hollywood but he was big time, famous all across America.

He even was cast in a couple of movie roles (every journalist’s fantasy) including the much ballyhooed glittering flop Myra Breckinridge, based on the novel of Gore Vidal’s. He co-starred with, among others that (already a camp) icon, Mae West.

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