James Brady, Editor and Celebrity Gossip Pioneer, Dead at 80

When he interviewed celebrities, typically over lunch, longtime Parade columnist James Brady often did not take notes; he only needed three soundbites, which he memorized.

Brady, who died Monday in his Manhattan home, clearly found the job a cinch after working as Rupert Murdoch's lieutenant and heading up several other publications.

Brady was editor of Murdoch's Star supermarket tabloid; before that, he was editor and publisher of both Women's Wear Daily and Harper's Bazaar. He would go on to succeed Clay Felker atop New York. "Notoriously stubborn, he couldn't avoid the feuds and squabbles that went with ambition," People wrote Brady's period as a publishing executive.

Switching back into writing, the Korean War veteran started and wrote New York Post's Page Six. He would later write for a weekly column for Advertising Age and Crain's New York Business, contribute to Forbes.com and, for many years, write the "In Step With" column for Sunday newspaper supplement Parade.

Brady earned Emmy nominations for his TV adventures, which included live celebrity interviews on behalf of WCBS and CNBC. He also wrote five novels.

Brady's marriage to Florence Kelly Brady "fell apart gradually over the years," according to People, and Brady lived alone as a bachelor.

The cause of his death was not included in a press release issued by Parade.

Brady is survived by Florence, to whom he remained married at the time of his death; two daughters; four grandchildren and the modern celebrity-industrial complex he was instrumental in creating. The next time you are entertained (or shocked, annoyed or bored) by a celebrity tidbit, take a moment to give thanks in his memory.

(Picture via Ad Age)