Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Explanation: LA Times reporter tells us why he left Jessica Hahn out of Ron Leavitt's obituary

The Los Angeles Times staff writer who filed yesterday's obituary for Married with Children creator Ron Leavitt has explained to us why he, virtually alone among other news sources, left out any mention of Leavitt's longterm mistress, Jessica Hahn.

Dennis McLellan responded to our query this morning:

"The information that was supplied to me from Leavitt's family did not mention Hahn, and only his two children were listed as survivors. Also, the information supplied to me by our librarian did not include any mention of Hahn."

Does the Times plan a correction to the story?

"No, there is nothing to correct. Normally, we only include the names of surviving family members."

The Times' obvious omission points to the short historical memory all too evident in our society, journalists' reliance on regurgitated, often incorrect "factoids," and, most glaringly, the gap in pop culture left when Howard Stern quit his vital morning radio show for a multimillion dollar deal to carry on before a miniscule, paying audience.

Those of us who listened to Stern in the Nineties recall the many conversations he'd had with Jessica and Leavitt in which both spoke of their special arrangement (Leavitt set her up with her own house).

And in the hours since our exclusive posting, current Stern listeners have slid away the manhole cover and used the Tabloid Baby site to bring the world the otherwise private conversations that took place on the pay-to-listen Stern show in the days before and after Leavitt's death, in which his relationship was discussed, though no one in mainstream pop culture got to hear:

Anonymous said:


Jessica Hahn called in crying that she didn't know what to do, because her longtime boyfriend, Ron Leavitt (the creator of “Married with Children”), died unexpectedly of cancer yesterday. Howard asked Jessica if Ron was a smoker, and Jessica admitted he was, adding that a collapsed lung had been one of the ailments plaguing him. Jessica said she'd been with Ron for 16 years, and he'd taken care of her the whole time, paying her rent and eventually buying her a home. Howard told Jessica he was sorry for her loss and would be thinking of her.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wrap Up Show
Steve Grillo And Jessica Hahn Discussions. 02/11/08. 11:50am

A caller told the guys he thinks that Jessica Hahn is an attention whore and that's why she called in. Gary said that he doesn't think that's the case. He said that she thinks of them as her family and that's why she was calling in today.

Fred said he agrees with Gary about that. He said that Jessica is a genuinely nice and sweet person. He said that she's been misdirected at times but she's really a good person. Gary said that Will was looking at him weird and he doesn't believe that. Will said that it is a bizarre reaction to call a radio show when you're boyfriend dies. Fred and Gary told Will that her relationship with the show is very strong and she listens day and night because she's such a fan.

Gary said that there are people who think of the show as their family. Will said that Mariann from Brooklyn is like that. Will thinks that it's kind of exploiting the whole situation. Benjy said that would be like some kid with cancer calling the show and getting on and then living... He was talking about Will.

Jon took a call from a guy who said that Jessica's situation was very traumatic because the guy passed away so quickly. Fred said that Jessica really loved that guy and he knew that she was going to be fucked up today from that whole thing. He said that he was a stand up guy who treated her very well and they seemed to really care about each other very much.

Will said he believes that they were very close and Jessica was really upset. He said that her coming on the air was a little odd to him. He said that they didn't hear from Jim Florentine for 3 months after his girlfriend died. He had a long grieving process while Jessica didn't. The guys talked about that for a short time before they had to wrap up the show.


Anonymous said...

Amazing that you would post transcripts from the Stern show a couple of years after you were all breathless swearing that he would return to terrestrial (unlistenable) radio. Nice job twit.

Anonymous said...

The above poster makes no sense. The whole point is that no one heard the interview BECAUSE he's on satellite. The LA Times decided to use info provided by the family.

Anonymous said...

Props to Marks Friggin, the site for complete Howard transcripts every day....