Back in the High Life

By Ron Rosenbaum Vanity Fair April 1988 One thing you can say about Dr. Timothy Leary: the man has always had a talent for convincing himself that wherever he is is where it’s at. Tonight, for instance. Friday night at Helena’s, the private L.A. supper club backed by...

Dennis Hopper Bikes Back

By Ron Rosenbaum Vanity Fair April 1987 Among the keepers of the collective memory of Hollywood, the story goes that some kind of curse has haunted the lives of the people who appeared in Rebel Without a Cause. There was James Dean, of course, dead in a car crash...

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,...

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...

The Strange Death of Danny Casolaro

By Ron Rosenbaum Vanity Fair December 1991 One of the first stories I heard about Danny Casolaro’s funeral was the five blondes at the grave site. Five stunners ranging in age from twenty to forty, all dressed in black, all weeping copiously. I was feeling pretty bad...

The Most Hated Lawyer in America

By Ron Rosenbaum Vanity Fair March 1992 It’s a quiet Sunday morning in the nearly deserted Greenwich Village town house of attorney William Kunstler. In the stillness, the answering machine clicks on and there’s a quiet woman’s voice speaking, calmly, patiently...

The Ballad of Willie Nelson

By Ron Rosenbaum Vanity Fair November 1991 The night before I left for South Texas to join Willie Nelson as he went back on the road again to sing for the I.R.S., I had dinner with a woman from L.A. who’d known him. She told me a fascinating story about Willie Nelson,...

Unrampling Charlotte

By Joan Juliet Buck Vanity Fair April, 1988 Charlotte Rampling is the only star who currently belongs to both the world of cinema and the world of of chic. In a famous photograph by Helmut Newton, she sits naked on a table in Arles, glowering. The picture is...

Catherine the Great

By Joan Juliet Buck Vanity Fair April, 1989 “Do you blow your money? I mean, just blow it?” she asked. “There’s a vertigo in going too far—the thrill that produces—especially if it’s likely to put you in an impossible situation. And then, cash worries are easier to...

Miles Davis Blows His Horn

By James Kaplan Vanity Fair August 1989 A fresh gale blows down the chute of Central Park and buffets the windows of Miles Davis’s hotel suite in midtown Manhattan. A romantic might hear songs in this wet wind, the ghosts of seven blocks south and forty years past,...

Smart Tartt

By James Kaplan Vanity Fair September 1992 Donna Tartt, who is going to be very famous very soon—conceivably the moment you read this—also happens to be exceedingly small. Teeny, even. “I’m the exact same size as Lolita,” she says. “Do you remember that poem from the...

Travels with Doctor Death

By Ron Rosenbaum Vanity Fair May 1990 Three lives hang in the balance this morning as Dr. James Grigson pulls up in a gleaming white Cadillac, ready to make his rounds. The tall Texan with one hand on the wheel and one hand on his flamboyant golden cigarette holder,...