Like many others I was touched and impressed by Kim Masters’ farewell piece about Brad Grey, “30 Years of Humor, Ruthless Ambition and a ‘No B.S.’ Relationship.” Honest and smoothly written. The best parts are the beginning and the ending, both of which allude to the last few months and especially the looming banshee:
“Like many who knew him, I was too shocked to formulate thoughts [when he passed]. He died so suddenly, so young at 59, and had seemed in good shape just recently. My first impulse was to call him and demand, ‘What the hell, Brad?’
“[Grey] had known he was sick for a long time but told almost no one. It seems his higher-ups at Viacom didn’t know. I hear Brad may have confided only in Bob Daly, his friend and discreet adviser, and confidant Lorne Michaels.
“I told Brad once or twice recently that he sounded tired, but he deflected that. On a couple of occasions, I thought that he was slightly slurring his words, and I wondered whether he might have had a drink to cope with the stress of Paramount’s terrible box-office run and the growing threat of being fired. But he was still shrewd and funny, and I didn’t think much of it, which obviously was how he wanted it to be.
“With a change in regime at Viacom and losses mounting, Brad insisted for a time that he would be perfectly fine with being paid to go away. Certainly he wasn’t telling the truth. He waged a ferocious fight to keep his job. He was sick, but maybe he still hoped he could live a while longer. Or maybe he hoped to die as chairman of Paramount Pictures.