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so what do you do?

So What Do You Do, Cindy Adams?
The people in your media neighborhood.

| Cindy Adams, a syndicated gossip columnist who writes for the New York Post, is out with a new book this month on the new love of her life; an eight-pound Yorkie by the name of Jazzy. Adams made her mark as a gossip by "knowing the right people" and, as she says, "taking up the cudgels for whoever was going to the can." She's written several books, was a co-founder of FOX's "A Current Affair" and now, coinciding with the publication of The Gift of Jazzy, she is also opening up a canine boutique called "Jazzy, The Park Avenue Dog." While the book does center on her dog, it is also a personal memoir about her life and career as well as her marriage to comedian Joey Adams, who died in 1999. Here she talks about the pitfalls of being a gossip columnist and the joys of writing about her Jazzy. Order The Gift of Jazzy on Amazon.com

Hometown: New York City

Birthdate: "I'm not giving you that."

On her nighttable right now: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Tell me about your career path. Could it serve as a guide for an aspiring gossip?
Not really. I've had a series of careers. I've been a model, I've been an actress… And then I married my husband, who was in show-business, and I began to know people like Frank Sinatra [and other celebrities]. Through these people I began to know [a lot about] photography, modeling, advertising... I knew movies and celebrities, so it just became a natural progression. And so the Post came to me and asked would I do a column, since I knew everybody anyway. That's how it all got started.

For a lot of other people, their work and social/personal spheres are clearly separated. Do you think that these two spheres in your life are inevitably intertwined?
Infused, infused. They're one. Because it's the most interesting people you could ever meet, and they are my friends. I'm not somebody who came from some foreign place and am just looking out from my attic window onto this world; I'm part of this world. These are my friends and I go to the same places they do.

Is this an added pressure on your personal life?
Well, it means that if somebody who's very close to you gets into trouble you have to walk a fine line. You have to be a newspaper person and you have to be friend as well.

Is that the worst thing about being a gossip, constantly treading that fine line?
That's a difficulty. Another difficulty is keeping all of your friends while trying to be a juicy writer. And trying also not to harm anybody. I don't want to harm anyone, I just want to entertain them.

What is the worst thing about being a gossip columnist?
It's relentless, it never stops. Every day there's another deadline. It's like a hungry animal, it has to be fed.

Is "access to the stars" all-important or would you consider a sharp sense of humor more of an asset?
The humor helps. If you don't have an item that's particularly alive and exciting, you can almost always make it alive and exciting by writing it well.

Do you find it strange when other columnists dish about you? That you've become somewhat of a celebrity yourself?
I think that it's part of the game. I remember a couple of times I was in my own way. Not that I mean to imply that I am a celebrity, I do not mean to imply that. But sometimes you go to a place and say you're running after Julianne Moore and people are running after you because they didn't see Julianne Moore and they see you. And they impede you, so what you're there to do, you can't do because these people are stopping you. And I've occasionally had to be rude and say, "Listen, I'm working," and they didn't see the star I'm after and just think that I'm very rude.

Can this be helpful to you?
I think it helps with everything. The more clout someone thinks you have (whether or not you do), the easier it is to get them to talk to you and get the information you need. They're not going to talk to someone let's say, who's writing for a Whitefish, Montana weekly as quickly as someone who writes for a daily. That's the way it is.

You were one of the founders of "A Current Affair." Would you or are you considering producing a similar show now?
No, not a similar show, I think those shows have had their time. It seems to me the reality shows are going to come to an end. There's a time for everything, and everything has their fifteen minutes. No, if anything I'm going to write a play.

Were you affected by the Post's regime changes, such as the hiring of Col Allen two years ago? Or is your column pretty much untouchable in that respect?
So far it has been. I don't know whether it always will be. But they've all been very good to me, and the regime changes have been wonderful. Everybody they brought in are so professional and it's been a joy to work with them.

You've said "success has made failures of many men."
I don't remember making that remark. What I said is "Success is hard, it's almost as hard as failure." Failure is not easy, it's debilitating; Success can be exhausting, frightening, you don't always know where the next mountain is, can you get there, or have you used it all up, or are you competing with yourself. So I've said success can be as tiring, exhausting, or as debilitating as failure.

Is your new book, The Gift of Jazzy, the first book that you've written about yourself?
Yes. My Friend the Dictator was a book that I wrote on my own personal experiences with Sukarno of Indonesia, but this really is the only time that I've done anything that comes close to a memoir.

Do you think that it took more out of you?
Nooo… Because I wanted to do it, I love the little dog. And that was the focus of it, I was just writing because it gave me a lot if pleasure. Writing the book gave me pleasure.


So What Do You Do? appears on Tuesdays.

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