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Walter Winchell

Page history last edited by Walter Winchell 12 years, 6 months ago


     Walter Winchell was born April 7, 1897 in New York City. At 13 years of age, he left school to be with Rita Greene who he later married and even later divorced. After that he served two years in the US Navy during World War I. When he went back to show business he caught on to gossip and secrets fairly quickly, and he started typing up what he heard and posting them on theater bulletin boards. In 1927 he became a full time gossip columnist. He was given a column, "On Broadway" in the New York Evening Graphic that he ran for  years. He then moved to the New York Daily Mirrorwhere he worked until 1963. He also had a weekly radio show from 1932 until the early 1950s. The newspaper columns and radio broadcasts contained news and gossip and gave him a massive audience and much influence in the 30's, 40's, and 50's. However, after embracing McCarthyism and beginning shrill attacks against Josephine Baker, his career was moving downhill fast. His son committed suicide, one of his daughters died of pneumonia, the other suffered from a mental disorder, and his wife became reclusive. He died February 20, 1972 in Los Angeles of prostate cancer.[1]


     One of the many things he was famous for was being one of the nation's most prolific phrase makers. One of his numerous quotes is "Today's gossip is tomorrow's headline".[2]His opinionated reports brought him both admirers and enemies and inspired millions of people. He was the friend and acquaintance of hundreds of celebrities and could easily make or break them. No one was equal to him and over one third of the country read his articles. He was considered the father of gossip columns. He was also introducted to the Radio Hall Of Fame in 2004. He was said to have "shaped the public opinion, notoriously aiding and ruining the careers of many entertainers".[3]


  1. http://www.nytimes.com/1998/11/18/arts/he-turned-gossip-into-tawdry-power-walter-winchell-who-climbed-high-fell-far.html?pagewanted=all
  2. http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/w/walter_winchell.html
  3. http://profiles.incredible-people.com/walter-winchell/

Comments (3)

foreign debts said

at 3:56 pm on Sep 23, 2010

That's really sad that his whole family went pretty much insane. In addition, did he get remarried?

Congo said

at 6:04 pm on Sep 23, 2010

I've never heard of Walter Winchel before. This article was well written and gave me a good background about who he was. He seems to be a guy who went through a lot of hard times but still enjoyed life and enjoyed making and breaking the lives of celebrities. How did he get into the entertainment business? What else did he do besides write columns?

Walter Winchell said

at 8:39 pm on Sep 23, 2010

He never formally remarried, though most people thought he had. He did some radio shows and narrarated a movie or two, but mainly stuck to writing gossip columns. He got into the buisness starting with Rita Greene, then from there, he heard so many stories from friends in the show buisness, he started writing them down and posting on thater bulletins.

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