Gay Talese Names His Favorite Interview, and He’s an Irishman


While visiting Late Night with Seth Myers this past Thursday night to discuss his latest book, The Voyeur’s Motel, Gay Talese also talked about his extensive career as a reporter.

To Myers’ question about the famous 1965 Esquire magazine profile, Frank Sinatra Has a Cold, if Talese had any inkling of the outsize success that piece would have, the Ocean City, NJ tailor’s son said “No, I never know what the public is going to like or remember.”

What came next is what caught my attention.  Talese went on to reveal:

In my 65 years as a reporter, the only time I really enjoyed talking to someone… I know you have a wonderful experience talking to everyone every night and you love them all.  I don’t love any of them except Peter O’Toole, and he affected my life.  I went to London and he let me go with him to Ireland.  Not that we drank all the time, but much of the time when we weren’t drinking, so surprising, this superstar actor, great actor, he’d ask me about myself.  God, I’m the interviewer and he’s interviewing me!

To see more about Talese’s trip to Ireland – and the influence Peter O’Toole had on Gay and Nan Talese deciding to start a family – you can watch the full Late Night the clip here.

Photo credit: Esquire magazine
Photo credit: Esquire magazine


The August 1963 Esquire article that came from that visit is O’Toole on the Ould Sod.  That’s a text-only version of the story.  You can see the full piece as it appeared in the magazine if you have a subscription or paid access to their archives here.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.