Psst — Ted Casablanca’s financial secrets revealed! [classic article]

As first seen on Bankrate.com

Ted Casablanca is funnier and more entertaining than most of the celebrities he covers, but he says he and the rest of Hollywood would rather talk about dye jobs or body part sizes than money.

Ted Casablanca is based at www.eonline.com, where he pens his weekly gossip column, “The Awful Truth.” From the red carpet, Casablanca hosts E! Online’s popular live Web casts, including world premieres. He also contributes profiles on Hollywood’s celebrities. He has hosted chats with Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillipe, Reese Witherspoon and Christian Bale, among others.

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Prior to joining E! Online, Casablanca spent nine years at Premiere, the monthly film magazine, where he conceived Ted Casablanca’s “The Awful Truth.” Before Premiere, Casablanca worked for Rolling Stone and Esquire magazines.

Casablanca also served as E! Online’s gossip correspondent on E! Entertainment Television’s “The Gossip Show.” He is also a regular contributor to E! Entertainment Television’s flagship series “The E! True Hollywood Story” and numerous E! specials. Casablanca himself has appeared as an interview subject on numerous TV shows and networks, including ABC’s “The View,” “Extra,” CNN.com, Court TV’s “Hollywood & Crime,” “Roseanne,” “Fox & Friends,” as well as many international appearances for the BBC and Australian television programs. Ted Casablanca did a cameo on the WB show, “Grosse Pointe,” as himself.

Bankrate: What new projects do you have going?

Ted Casablanca:Other than changing my underwear? Nothing that I can really talk about. I’ve got E! and my other TV work.

Bankrate: What’s a typical day like for you?

Ted Casablanca:I go entirely day by day. In the beginning of the week, I do the column, at the end of the week I work on TV. It’s a very organic schedule. I have very little time off, but it’s the way I like it. There’s always variety. In L.A., often a star is around. I’m always up for a little news, some talk.

Bankrate: Your job depends on a smooth relationship with celebrities, but you aren’t afraid to comment on your true feelings, such as with Paris Hilton. How do you know where to draw the line?

Ted Casablanca:Basically, I draw the line from my gut. Can I handle it being said about myself? I do think most people know that I have a job to do. As for Paris, I would doubt her ability to discern what I put in the column and my personal feelings. George Clooney’s fine with whatever I say.

Bankrate: Has the gossip business changed since the days of Hedda Hopper?

Ted Casablanca:Absolutely. Some stars from the ’50s and ’60s are still prickly about what gets published. It’s hilarious, James Mason used to feed stories about his womanizing, because he liked it! Now, it’s become chic to be hyper-concerned about your publicity.

Bankrate: It seems that politicians do not welcome the personal scrutiny that stars do. How will the coverage of Arnold Schwarzenegger change?

Ted Casablanca:He is incredibly naive. Even Ronald Reagan knew to distance himself from his movies. I liked that. He was self-deprecating. He didn’t take it seriously. I mean, it’s only Hollywood, hello! Arnold just doesn’t get it, with his “Collectinator,” have you heard about that? He doesn’t understand that he didn’t get elected because of his box-office appeal, he got elected because of Gray Davis’ foolishness. He has no idea how inappropriate he is. Did you hear, he was in a meeting, and he asked one of the female staffers, “Do you always speak that loud? You sound like my wife.”

Bankrate: Will he have the same fate as Jesse Ventura?

Ted Casablanca: That’s an interesting question. I wouldn’t have the hubris to guess. He won’t last long.

Bankrate: What new expenses do you find yourself incurring, being on E!? Did you have to buy a slew of tuxes?

Ted Casablanca:I had to become patient in traffic. Well, there was the car expense, I never had a car in New York. I had to get a cell phone for the first time. I threw every tie I ever owned! It was delicious! I won’t wear one, except for a funeral. When I leave the house and I see someone wearing a tie, I think, “I hope someone is paying you an obscene amount of money to wear that noose!” My rent got more expensive, because I had to get a house with a garden. That’s my passion. Also, it’s more expensive to rent a house than an apartment.

Bankrate: Tell me about some of the perks you get. Do you get wined and dined so much, do you still have to buy groceries?

Ted Casablanca:I still have to go to the grocery store. Gelson’s Market doesn’t deliver to my house. I don’t go out for breakfast. I do cook at home. I have to spend one night a week at home, or else I’d lose my mind. You have to have some sort of outlet. My outlet used to be cigarettes, but then I got up to three packs a day. You have to give yourself little rewards, only a fool wouldn’t do that.

Bankrate: The gossip columnists of yesteryear used to get all kinds of gifts. Has anybody ever tried to bribe you?

Ted Casablanca:Nothing serious, there’s no Maserati in my yard. I don’t accept them. I have been tempted, though. At the Oscars, they wanted to give me one of the gift bags, it was worth $42,000! Are you kidding me?! They could have said, “Here, it just fell off a truck!” Nobody would have missed it. But I couldn’t. I had to give it back. You have to, you know? Otherwise, I might as well give up the gig. I’d be working for them. I go to their parties, and I’m friendly, but then you have to excuse yourself. These aren’t my friends. My friends aren’t in the business.

Bankrate: Who has been the most pleasant surprise, celebrity-wise?

Ted Casablanca:Alec Baldwin. He slugged a reporter! He was always gracious with me, though. Sean Penn and Madonna, too. A lot of people with a sour reputation turned out to be nice. Faye Dunaway. Now, Schwarzenegger was such a jerk to me, but that was to be expected. He has the worst hairstylist! His dye job is the worst. I mean, girlfriend, he ought to get mine.

Bankrate: The gossip business is no 9-to-5-er. How are you able to control the invasion on your time? Has that changed over the years?

Ted Casablanca:I went into this with eyes wide open. Has it changed? Not really. The change is, I’m much more accepting. I used to be monthly at Premiere. I started going weekly in 1996. Back then, I’d start panicking on Friday. Now, I put it off and start panicking on Monday and Tuesday! I do get calls in the middle of the night … but not for work, ha ha!

Bankrate: What’s a splurge for you?

Ted Casablanca:Buying from wardrobe, like when I bought the Ted Baker shirt. I can buy anything from wardrobe that I want! The stars, they walk away with the wardrobe. Then, there’s a fury of e-mail sent back and forth. The stars just expect it to be taken care of — and it is! Usually, because the fashion houses and jewelry stores want to have relationships with the celebrities, it’s settled quietly. It’s only when they can’t settle it, and the stars won’t give it back, that you hear about it.

Bankrate: Do you manage your own money?

Ted Casablanca:No, my real splurge is a business manager. The reason is, I’m not good with money. I figured, I have a decent salary, but I never had any money. I never kept records.

Bankrate: Do you have investments?

Ted Casablanca: My business manager, she takes very good care of me. It seems that in Hollywood, asking about money is like asking about penis size. And I’m the same way. It’s such a measure of success. When the money’s not good, when a show or movie has to cut down, people are embarrassed.

Bankrate: Is there a lot of faking of success in Hollywood?

Ted Casablanca:That happens, some. I get tips all the time about people who don’t pay their bills. Some celebrities are notoriously cheap. Others are generous.

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