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Obituary: N.Y. Post Columnist Neal Travis, 62, Dies

NEW YORK — Neal Travis, gossip and entertainment columnist for the New York Post, died Wednesday at New York University Medical Center.<br><br>Travis, 62, died of cancer, said a spokeswoman for the Post.<br><br>His column, "Neal Travis’...

NEW YORK — Neal Travis, gossip and entertainment columnist for the New York Post, died Wednesday at New York University Medical Center.

This story first appeared in the August 15, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Travis, 62, died of cancer, said a spokeswoman for the Post.

His column, “Neal Travis’ New York,” began in October 1993 and chronicled the marital infidelities of socialites such as Nina Griscom, the mishaps of Lizzie Grubman, and the comings and goings of his favorite politicians, including Alfonse D’Amato and Rudolph Giuliani. Travis told New York Magazine last month that Mayor Bloomberg, whom he called Bloomy, “was a bit harder to get colorful copy out of than Rudy was.”

He began working at the Post in 1977, when News Corp. first owned the paper, and became the first editor of “Page Six.” He left to become editor of New York Magazine’s Intelligencer column until December 1978, returning to the Post to begin his own column.

Despite his illness and having lost 85 percent of his vision last August, Travis continued writing his column from his home in Bridgehampton, where he would dictate copy to the newsroom and receive faxes of his column for final editing. At the end of July, he entered NYU Medical Center, where he continued to enjoy cigarettes, wine and dinners sent over from Le Cirque.

“Neal Travis made me proud to be a journalist,” said Richard Johnson, editor of “Page Six.” “He wasn’t afraid to write the truth even when he knew it would anger the rich and the powerful.”

Born in Otago, New Zealand, Travis worked for newspapers in Australia and New Zealand, before joining the Sydney Daily Mirror, his first Murdoch-owned publication. He later became editor in chief of three Murdoch-owned newspapers.

Traveling extensively, Travis had lived in Bermuda, Hong Kong and the Pacific Island of Vanuatu. He also wrote several novels, among them “Manhattan” and “Island.”

He is survived by his wife, Tolly; three children, Sarah, Anna and James, and his brother, Murray.