Monday, January 16, 2006

Joe Hamill, rest in peace

We just got word that Joe Hamill died today.

Joe was, foremost, a kind and warm man, a great wit and finer writer than he ever knew, a dedicated father and possessor of a life-saving sense of humour. He was also the brother of Pete, Dennis and Brian Hamill.

Joe was also an influential journalist and television producer, responsible for many breaks in the Michael Jackson case and other stories. I first worked with Joe on the assignment desk at the Channel 5 Ten O'Clock News back in the early 80s. He was a wild young radical from a wild family of hardknock journo brothers. For a time, he was teamed up with young police reporter John Miller, and within weeks, Miller was reporting on NYPD raids of leftist radical crash pads and safe houses in their search for the Brinks robbers, putting focus on civil liberties and giving a sympathetic ear to the longhairs. Joe had the connections and the influence. Later, Joe came out west to work with us at Hard Copy. He's featured in Tabloid Baby and on the Tabloid Baby website.

In 1993, Joe and I traveled back east to the Bob Dylan 30th anniversary tribute concert at Madison Square Garden and helped instigate the Sinead O'Connor booing incident. Later, we ran into her in the East Village.

One of my most fruitful collaborations was working with Joe, producing and writing episodes of Mugshots, the landmark crime series that the legendary John Parsons Peditto created and supplied to Court TV. Joe went on to work at Court TV, as Diane Dimond's main investigative producer. He always had a chuckle about Saint Mychal and we kept in touch by email.

Joe did not have an easy life. But he had a full life. We all will miss him.

(Joe was 51. Read his New York Daily News obituary.)


Anonymous said...

God bless Joe.

didimond said...

Please let your readers know that we are in the process of setting up a fund for Joe's young son. Since Joe was stricken right before Christmas Padraic has been living with Denis Hamill. When they are emotionally able a specific bank account will be set up by the family. Checks can be dropped off at the wake tomorrow or sent in later. Address and other info to follow. Thanks so much for posting this.
Diane Dimond

Anonymous said...

Joe was so special and so brilliant (and very funny) - it is so tragic that more people will never know him like we did.


Steve Kozak said...

Yes, God Bless Joe, and God Bless his brother Denis, who has always been there for Joe. How lucky Padraic is to have a wonderful uncle at this time.
Thanks Bert for knowing that there were so many of us who knew him and have a special spot in our hearts for this great guy.
I know of funeral plans in NY - but anything in LA that you know of? If not, is there any interest?

Anonymous said...

I had the good fortune of working with Joe at Court TV... He was quite simply the greatest researcher I have ever known, in addition to being an absolutely brilliant producer and a wonderful, warm and funny person. He will be sorely missed.

Nancy Moscatiello-Drymon said...

I am so sad. Having Joe as my first boss on the desk was an honor and the absolute best anyone could every have- Not to mention the best perk of all babysitting Padraic over the years. He is as brilliant and funny as his dad. My heart goes out to Padriac as I have always thought of him over the years- My memory is frozen at about 5 years old with an orange soda moustache eating chicken McNuggets... Please post any info to help out as you get it.

Kevin Burns said...

Errrr said

Joey was always so funny.He like his brothers protected me from the real wacko's in the neighborhood..When I arrive in N.Y. after 9/11 Joey was there at Denis's house with his support and Humor..It was his Laugh that was addictive.His facial expressions would drive me Crazy..Its was like having a flashback on LSD or smoking good erb.That Hamill face,eyes and Grin would tranform you into pure mountaintop happiness..I wasn't getting High anymore except when I seen Joey and Denis..Laughing ,good Italian food,Stories of our past.Joey's Face got me High and I'll never forget that great gift he gave me..Amor fati Kevin Burns

Lou Gordon said...

Joe Hamill R.I.P
Friends: January 28, 2006

My buddy Joe Hamill passed away last week at the age of 51. He was larger than life and smarter than any freakin' PHD! From the 1989 TV Documentary "On the Merits" chronicling the Koch /Manes Scandals to our dirt client American Soil Technologies, from Chairman Mao to Hellmann's mayonnaise, from Arena football to the injustices felt by our hard working doctors of CIR, Hamill and I worked on and off together for almost 2 decades on behalf of "truth, justice and socialized medicine." Joey knew it all and devoured it all.

I still remember back in the mid 80's meeting brother Pete for breakfast , who said he had a younger brother Joey who would work for good and lost causes. So I met Joe and it was love at first burger, fries and can you believe it: Diet Coke!

Joey would always review all our new business proposals and demand that we include something about getting a "Lewinski" from the prettiest member of the coalition. I think we got more clients than we lost thanks of that clause, which we sometimes forgot to edit out. But who knows? At least Joe was thinking with his head!

I remember after the fall of the Soviet Union, Joe told me Marx would have laughed and said those Barbarian Russians were never good enough or smart enough to be true commies! They were never true heros of the proletariat like Brooklyn's Frank Barbaro.

Joey was the Irish brother I always had, and I was his Jewish brother. From the days at 198 Broadway with a menagerie of staff and clients which we called Lou Gordon Associates- and with whom would we associate who would associate with us? To his move to Los Angeles for Hard Copy while living near the La Brea Tar Pits and bringing up young Padraic, to finally back to 561 Broadway for boxingranks.com, Joe and I stayed loyal friends and co- conspirators!

Joe was a wonderful philosopher, a great writer and a total presence. No matter what the subject, in a matter of hours Joe would create a highly literate treatise that would have a client kvelling! Or tear a rabbi's eyes!

And come lunch time it was "Let's order Chinese," Joe would bellow. "Or how about chicken parmigiana hero and a Pizza?", and of course Joe always would order a Diet Coke.???? Huh??? What an oxymoron!!! Or we would waddle down to Katz's Delicatessen on Houston Street for a dog, a pastrami sandwich , fries and you guessed it...a Diet Coke. Joe would look at me and say "You know, in another life I kinda knew this place."

Joe was a true gourmet if there ever was one... He should have had a show on the food network - "Eating with Joey!", with his own book club that would have put Oprah's book club to shame and then some! Joey knew fact from fiction!

There's Joe with cigarette in one hand, a Bud on the table, and a yellow magic marker to underline passages in books that no one but Joe would remember. And he was always rushing to the bus home to Queens to give Padraic dinner and a lesson in Hamill philosophy.

Joe is survived by a wonderful 16 year son Padraic, who was born while Joey and Padraic's mom, Patricia worked with us, in another era far far away!

I vividly remember 3 years ago bringing Joe and young Padraic up to the Mohegan Wolves' Arena football game in Connecticut. Here Joe and I got to introduce Padraic to the players who Padraic thought were "cool", but we made a better impression on him when he was introduced to the hot Moegan Wolves Dance Team members who Padraic knew were "awesome". At that point, a proud Joe knew that his son, proud Padraic was finally a man, achieving the Irish version of his bar mitzvah! Which would be a party without the chopped liver and Manechevitz, rather serving Mickey Dees, fries, Guiness, and a Diet Coke.

Finally, there’s a fund set up for Padraic:

Padraic Hamill Fund
c/o Denis Hamill

Note: Denis Hamill, a columnist at the NY Daily News, and Joe's brother, had a lawyer set up a proper trust fund for Padraic, who cannot touch the money without a co-signature.

Give what your heart feels! And of course Joey being Joey, he left the world empty but our minds full of memories of him. So tonight, instead of buying another six pack and carton of Marlboro's for Joe...Save the cash for Padraic, I know Joe would say thanks.

And tell your friends that Joe Hamill, a Great American from Brooklyn, has passed! Go drink for him, laugh for him, root for him, read a book for him, write a poem for him, have sex for him, enjoy life for him, and most of all, remember him.

I will always.

Regards and Deep Regrets

Lou Gordon