The great N.Y. Times “Media Equation” columnist and all-around sage David Carr died Thursday at age 58. Just like that. Collapsed inside the Times newsroom, found around 9 pm and pronounced dead at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital. A Houdini punch in the stomach. Devastating. Words fail. Shocked.
Solemn, pained condolences are offered to David’s many friends and colleagues at the Times (particularly Tony Scott, with whom David taped several “Sweet Spot” video discussions) and especially his wife, Jill, their daughter Maddie and David’s twin daughters from a previous marriage, Erin and Meagan.
I became friendly with David during his run as the Times‘ Oscar-beat guy (a.k.a., “the Bagger”) from…was it ’05 to ’09? I know that Melena Ryzik took the reins in late ’09. Carr was taxed and tested by Hollywood, but he was absolutely the greatest at that gig. I loved his wit, his bon mots, his columns, his insights into the game, his Times Square video interviews. I loved his personality, his scratchy voice, his pencil neck, his laser brain. I loved that he found Steven Spielberg‘s Lincoln tedious and said so during one of his “Sweet Spot” chats.
He treated me like a regular hombre colleague and took me to lunch once in Manhattan, at a haunt on West 44th. Or was it twice? We saw each other all the time at the same Oscar-season parties on both coasts, one after another after another. And he did a video interview with me on Park City’s Main Street during an ’06 or ’07 Sundance. But he was closer buds with Sasha Stone.
I only know that I worshipped the guy and that I felt duty-bound to plug the shit out of his Bagger columns during that four-year run, and I just feel awful…shattered. This is beyond any realm that I know. It’s almost like when Elvis died.
About four and a half hours ago I watched a video feed of Carr moderating a live TimesTalk interview with Citizenfour director Laura Poitras, journalist Glenn Greenwald and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in a video feed from Moscow.
Then I poked around and hopped on the bike and did a few errands for about three hours, give or take. I just got back a few minutes ago and read that Carr was gone. Wham. I literally shrieked when I read the news. The fuck! All I know right now is how it feels.
David was and is the absolute star of Andrew Rossi‘s Page One: A Year Inside the New York Times, a stirring and thoughtful doc that premiered at Sundance in 2011. Below is some video I took in Park City during a discussion of the film between Carr, Indiewire‘s Anne Thompson and Rossi.