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What Stays in Vegas by Adam Tanner

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5

A Celebrity, a Private Eye, and a Hit Man

Finding a Hollywood Star on Holiday

Former US President Gerald Ford died shortly after Christmas in 2006. I was working at the time in San Francisco as a wire service reporter. When news broke, I often had to find people quickly to interview. For a follow-up story the next morning, I wanted to talk to veteran comedy actor and writer Chevy Chase, star of the National Lampoon’s Vacation and Fletch movies. Through his portrayal of Ford during the first season of Saturday Night Live in 1975–76, Chase had helped cement the public image of the unelected president as a bumbler.

To reach celebrities, journalists typically must penetrate a barrier of agents, publicists, and lawyers. A formal request for an interview ...

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