Vanity Fair Editor Graydon Carter to Step Down After 25 Years

  • Magazine mixed glam with journalism, nabbed Deep Throat scoop
  • Influential editor says he’s headed for his ‘third act’

Graydon Carter

Photographer: Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Vanity Fair

Graydon Carter, who helped make Vanity Fair magazine a must-read publication in Hollywood studios, Washington townhouses and Wall Street corner offices, is stepping down after 25 years as one of the nation’s most influential editors.

Carter, 68, will stay on long enough to oversee the planning of the 2018 Hollywood Issue, an annual blockbuster that he established in 1995, the Conde Nast-owned magazine said Thursday. Along with the magazine’s star-studded Oscars party, the issue is to Hollywood what Vogue’s September issue is to the world of high fashion.

“I’ve loved every moment of my time here, and I’ve pretty much accomplished everything I’ve ever wanted to do,” Carter said in a statement. “I’m now eager to try out this ‘third act’ thing that my contemporaries have been telling me about, and I figure I’d better get a jump on it.”

Carter mixed glamour -- including hiring famous people to write about other famous people -- with top-notch reporting by journalists such as Michael Lewis and Dominick Dunne. He added columns by the late British-American raconteur Christopher Hitchens and photos by Annie Leibovitz to create what Carter called a publication built with “sophistication, wit and an international outlook on a bedrock of solid journalism.”

The magazine hit the news jackpot with its 2005 interview of Mark Felt, the former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent who revealed that he was Deep Throat, the long-anonymous source that helped the Washington Post uncover the Watergate scandal.

Trump Feud

While his tenure spanned five presidencies, Carter had a particularly contentious relationship with Donald Trump going back to the 1980s when he edited Spy, a satirical monthly that often described the real estate developer as a “short-fingered vulgarian.” Decades later, the feud was moved to Twitter by Trump after his election as U.S. president. Trump derided Vanity Fair’s “poor numbers” and Carter’s supposed lack of talent following a bad review of a Trump restaurant.

In an interview with the New York Times, Carter said he blew up all of Trump’s 42 tweets, framed them and hung them on a wall outside of his office -- “the only wall Trump’s built.”

A Canadian by birth, Carter moved to New York in 1978, writing for Time and Life before co-founding Spy with Kurt Andersen. He joining Vanity Fair in 1992, succeeding Tina Brown, who had resurrected the magazine. 

He wrote a book on the Bush administration, produced several films and even a Broadway show, and is the co-owner of two Manhattan restaurants.

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