David Carr, who I had the privilege of knowing, was one of the greats, and he dropped dead in the offices of the New York Times, the paper where he worked, and which he loved.
He was like a character out of Damon Runyon. So his Times Square Media beat fit him perfectly. With his raspy voice, and that penetrating gaze, and his odd-ball looks, he could very well have stepped from the pages of “Guys and Dolls” accept he worked for the NYTimes.So he wasn’t a gansta. He was a SUCCESSFUL Damon Runyon character. But he did have the great compassion for the down-and-outers of the world, having been, unbelievably, a former drug addict himself.
He got himself clean more than a decade ago and wrote a book about it, too. “The Night of the Gun.”
I got to him know when he was creating the Oscar beat at the NYTimes, which was something completely new to them, at the time. A regular blog on the Oscars? And he called it “The Carpetbagger” as in Red Carpet, and he felt like he was a carpetbagger, that ole Civil War term, because he felt like an interloper at these ceremonies. And he had a side-kick, too. My friend Paula Schwartz, whom he called “the Baguette.”
He wrote about the Oscar race incredibly well, not giving quarter to any one or any film. And he did love films. I think he was the one who coined the phrase “the silly season” to describe what we are now in. Which is less than two weeks from Oscar.
He always was encouraging, supportive of any one who was doing what he was doing, trying to make sense, and news, out of the Oscars. He liked me because of my Oscar obsession and my friendships with other Oscarologists. I think I was a Guru o’ Gold for Movie City News at the time.
He loved Sasha Stone and David Poland. And he wrote about them in his column as they had never been covered before, especially Sasha. She wrote ANOTHER incredible piece on her relationship with David, and the shock of his passing at http://www.awardsdaily.com It’s a must read. Every time he was out in L.A., Sashino was his date of choice. Yes, Sashino was Sasha, as Paula was the Baguette. He gave nick-names to people he really liked.
I remember him storming into a press meet-and-great for the film “Milk,” practically shouting at the top of his lungs about a film he’d just had to sit through, “‘Australia’ is a piece of shit!” It was an epic about that continent and he was so vehement about the 2 or 3 hours that were stolen out of his life by this film (which got no Oscar consideration whatsoever, as it turned out), I chose to skip it myself.
He was always very nattily dressed at these events, with the trademark grey scarf that you see him pictured with here.