There has been ample affectionate coverage of longtime New York Post reporter Steve Dunleavy’s retirement. Tabloid Baby has some nice shots of the genius behind “Sam Sleeps,” “A Current Affair,” and other journalistic milestones as he’s toasted at the Bourbon Street Bar by Rupert Murdoch and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. We also approve TB’s posting of the video, in which Dunleavy describes, with tears in his eyes, the time his father locked him in an outhouse.
And we’d like to take this opportunity to clear up a classic Dunleavy punchline.
Many reputable sources have repeated that when Dunleavy had his foot run over by a plow while he was copulating in a snowdrift, and friends called his editor, Pete Hamill, to explain his absence, Hamill replied, “I hope it was his writing foot.”
That doesn’t make sense: Hamill, an old pro, would have been less likely to indulge in simple anger than to slyly relay to Dunleavy the message that a broken-footed reporter can still file copy. Thus the correct version: “I hope it wasn’t his writing foot.”
We close with perhaps Dunleavy’s most lasting tribute — Robert Downey Jr.’s impersonation in Natural Born Killers.