Pop Culture

Graydon Carter ‘consultant fee’ raises questions

The editor of Vanity Fair magazine, which often decides what’s hot and not so hot in Hollywood, received a $100,000 “consultant fee” for a movie project, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.

According to the Times, Graydon Carter asked for the fee after recommending the book that later became the Academy Award winning film “A Beautiful Mind” to Imagine Entertainment producers Brian Grazer and Ron Howard.

The Times said that Grazer, a friend of Carter’s, reportedly was uncomfortable about the transaction but authorized it about 18 months after the film’s 2001 release. He later thanked Carter in his Oscar acceptance speech, the Times said.

The gray-maned editor also convinced Universal Studios-owned USA Films to fund a 2000 documentary about famed Hollywood producer Robert Evans, “The Kid Stays in the Picture,” for which Carter took a producer’s credit, the Times reported.

A spokeswoman for Chuck Townsend, chief executive of Vanity Fair publisher Conde Nast, told the Times the two men were ”completely on the same page regarding Graydon’s editorship of Vanity Fair.”

The Times said some Vanity Fair writers and other major magazine editors expressed concern about Carter’s deals with companies and entertainment figures the magazine covered.

Carter and three former colleagues received a $1 million advance from the publishing arm of Miramax Films to publish an anthology of the now-defunct New York humor magazine, Spy, which he co-founded.

After the Spy deal was struck, Vanity Fair published excerpts from another Miramax book, the memoirs of former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and helped throw a party for Albright, the Times reported.

But the magazine also published passages from “Down and Dirty Pictures,” an unflattering portrait of Miramax founder Harvey Weinstein by Vanity Fair contributing writer Peter Biskind — a move that Weinstein said angered him.

Carter, 54, was named editor of the year in 2003 by Adweek magazine, which described him as “a model editor for the 21st century.” He took over Vanity Fair in 1992 from British journalist Tina Brown, who is credited with raising the glossy magazine’s circulation and profile.