The Untold Story
My 20 Years Running the National Inquirer
By Iain Calder
(Miramax Books, Hardcover, 9780786869411, 336pp.)
Publication Date: June 2004
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The flashing bulbs of the paparazzi. The iconic names: Liz, Michael Jackson, Jackie O, Jen and Brad. Americans are obsessed with the famous and the beautifultheir lives, loves, break-ups, and breakdowns. From Entertainment Tonight to People, from primetime to the E! channel, our appetite for celebrity news is seemingly insatiable. But in the beginning only the National Enquirer went boldly where other publications feared to tread.
In this no-holds-barred account of the most infamous tabloid in America, Iain Calder, its former editor-in-chief, tells all. Over the course of a career that spanned four decades, Calder brought the lurid newspaper to new heights, dramatically raising circulation by combining his streetwise journalist background with the genius of Enquirer publisher Generoso Pope, Jr.
Calder was born in a small village in Scotland, left school at sixteen, and rose through he ranks of the Glasgow newspapers. His intense work ethic, ruthless tricks to throw competitors off his scent, and nose for a story served him well, and he was tapped to head the Enquirer's London bureau. At that point, the lowly Enquirer was a collection of gory photos of car crashes and murder victims, but Calder corralled the best freelance journalists in Europe and started honing the formula that would transform the tabloid: a unique mix of celebrity scandal, hard-nosed reporting, and feel-good stories. Pope moved him to the American offices of the Enquirer, and the duo transformed the tabloid and, in the process, American journalism.
Calder exposes the stories behind the headlines and the wickedly intrepid Enquirer tactics for getting the scoops. With Calder at the helm, the National Enquirer ran the infamous shot of Gary Hart and Donna Rice and the record-breaking photo of Elvis in his coffin. And it was the New York Times that dubbed the Enquirer "the Bible" of the O.J. Simpson trial after reporters infiltrated O.J.'s inner circle. From the contents of Henry Kissinger's trash and the identity of John Belushi's drug dealer to Princess Grace's tragic death, the Enquirer told us what inquiring minds wanted to know as it took celebrity news from the back pages to the front pages and television screens of mainstream publications and programs.
Calder re-creates the exhilaration of being at the Enquirer during its most extraordinary period and details the way he and his staff broke the biggest exclusives of the day. At its core, The Untold Story is also a love letter from Calder to the glorious tabloid he helped create.