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Ross Johnson

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links to work
Index to Esquire Interviews
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Archived New York Times articles

What I've Learned: James Caan
(Esquire magazine, 9/1/2003)
I've done a number of these interviews for Esquire over the years. Here, Jimmy Caan talks about what's really important in life: Little League!

Kirsten Dunst (jpeg of cover)
(Esquire, 6/1/2002)
Sometimes writing about a cover subject is as easy as going bowling in Hollywood with Kirsten Dunst. Smart girl. Quite pretty. Good bowler.

What I've Learned: Suge Knight
(Esquire magazine, 5/1/2002)
I interviewed Knight a day after he got out of prison in 2001 (after his first stretch). The former rap mogul talked about the secrets of solitary confinement, what sort of women walk around Mule Creek State Prison, and why his father never left the family.

Shmoozer Take All (jpeg of cover)
(Premiere, 5/1/2001)
For the past three years, I've written about Elie Samaha, the film financier who was recently found liable for $106 million in damages for defrauding his German partner. But give Elie this: He's an honest thief. Here's the first story I did on him.

Army Archerd (jpeg of cover)
(Talk magazine, 3/1/2001)
Why is it that Army gets such good ink? You try being 82 and putting on a toupee every day and going into a Hollywood newsroom. All kidding aside, Army Archerd is the hardest working man I've ever met.

archerd.jpg

 
National Newspapers  
Scott Greenstein Bets on Stern to Save Sirius

(New York Times, 10/11/2004)
This is the story that they didn't want you to read. On Oct. 6, Scott Greenstein made news around the world when he signed Howard Stern to a deal with Sirius Satellite Radio. Greenstein took his story to the Wall Street Journal, and got a puff piece. The New York Times ain't in the puff piece business.

High Noon in Hollywood as Lawyers Deal for Clients

(New York Times, 10/6/2004)
This story details the incredible vitrol between Barry Hirsch, the lawyer for Julia Roberts and Jennifer Lopez; and James Jackoway, Hirsch's former partner in one of Hollywood's most successful law firms. Note how my editor and I figured out a way to get into a litigation story that avoided boredom!

What I've Learned: Haley Joel Osment
(Esquire magazine, 3/1/2000)
Andy Ward, then a junior editor at Esquire (he's now at GQ), came up with the brilliant idea of interviewing the juvie star of "Sixth Sense" for the What I've Learned section. Here's Haley on agents, auditions, babes who chase movie stars, and never having seen dead people.

Profiles  
John Ridley
(USA Today, 5/14/2002)
This is a piece I did on screenwriter/director/novelist John Ridley before the debut of "Undercover Brother." John is a complex man who uses his anger at the system to make a lot of money off it. I've interviewed him three times, and he tells nothing but the truth.
Tequila Sunset
(Los Angeles magazine, 10/1/2000)
A man-bites-celeb tale about a wild Malibu hippie and his paparazzo son who lived down the street from Barbra Streisand in Malibu. The story is set on Point Dume, one of the most isolated stretches of Southern California wealth where all is not well with Bob Dylan, Nick Nolte, and Marty Sheen.
The Enforcer
(Los Angeles magazine, 9/1/2000)
Allie Mayorkas, then the top federal prosecutor in Los Angeles, was all set to run for the U.S. Senate when this came out. But when he tried to help a dope dealer get a pardon, it was all over.
Raging Bulls
(Los Angeles magazine, 6/1/2000)
One of the most requested service pieces ever published in L.A. magazine, and it was all about the meanest lawyers in town! The star of the piece, and making his debut performance, was press lawyer Marty "Mad Dog" Singer, who waxes with fond memories of terrorizing dirt diggers like John Connolly.
Robert Redford (jpeg cover)
(Buzz, 1/1/1996)
My first ever national magazine profile. It took me seven months of phone calls. Then I had to write how Bob getting a baseball scholarship to the U. of Colorado was utter b.s. He never even made his high school team. Bob still bought me a drink at Sundance, and we blamed it all on a publicist.
Enterprise  
Twenty Questions: Miramax
(New York magazine, 12/8/1999)
On the 20th anniversary of the the founding of Miramax Films, I looked up British author Angus Finney, who had signed a deal to write an unauthorized bio of Harvey and Bob Weinstein. Then Angus got an offer from Harvey that he couldn't refuse.
Grumpy Old Producers (jpeg of cover)
(Buzz, 5/1/1996)
"You'll never work in this town again," said Sumner Redstone. I believed him. Sumner had his then-girlfriend stashed on Bob Evans' payroll, and I had just started my profile of Evans with this quote: "Francis Coppola? That cocksucer!" Evans, to his credit, backed me.
Investigative  
Andy and Elie Go to the Movies
(Los Angeles Daily Journal, 5/1/2001)
This is an incredible story filled with death threats, shady lawyers, and bizarre interrogation scenes. Andrew Stevens, then the partner of Elie Samaha in Franchise Pictures, got the idea of going to Munich to try to settle the mess caused by Elie stealing from his German partner. Achtung, baby!
The Fixer
("The Public Eye" column, L.A. Daily Journal, 2/1/2000)
I'm fascinated with stories in which one false move changes lives forever. Four years ago, I set out to discover who fixed the 1982 "Twilight Zone: The Movie" helicopter deaths in such a way that Warner Bros. got off scott free.
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