Memo Pad: Last Words... Back to Basics

Did Evel Knievel underestimate his own resilience? Knievel, who died Friday at age 69, has been slipping away for years...

Bon Appetits January 2008 issue cover

Bon Appetit's January 2008 issue cover.

Photo By WWD Staff

LAST WORDS: Did Evel Knievel underestimate his own resilience? Knievel, who died Friday at age 69, has been slipping away for years, resuscitating himself after stunts gone bad, liver failure and a rare lung disease, but the stuntman may have predicted his death too soon to both Maxim and Vanity Fair. Knievel told Maxim's Pat Jordan: "This may be the last interview I ever do," in his feature in the December issue. But to Vanity Fair contributor and historian Douglas Brinkley, who had been working on a book about extreme sports and a feature to run in the February issue, the stuntman said: "You'll be my last interview. No more after these." On, the site bills Jordan's story as "some of the last words of an American legend." Vanity Fair bills it as Knievel's "last major interview."

So who actually did capture Knievel's last words? According to a Maxim spokeswoman, Jordan interviewed Knievel once on Oct. 1 at his St. Petersburg, Fla., home. Meanwhile, according to a Vanity Fair spokeswoman, "Doug interviewed Knievel three times in person over an 18-month period and had around 10 phone call follow-ups, the last of which was in mid-October." Brinkley interviewed Knievel at his home in Florida and in his hometown of Butte, Mont.

Knievel's spokesman confirmed Maxim had the last coordinated interview in October with the late bike rider. Vanity Fair's piece had been in the works prior to that, and the last in-person interview was in September. And neither magazine should be too upset about Knievel's foreshadowing his own death in their respective interviews. As his spokesman said, "He's been saying that for a while, on separate occasions, for two years." — Stephanie D. Smith

BACK TO BASICS: Hoping to capitalize on the growth of foodie culture, Bon Appétit is remaking itself as a younger, more accessible title. Starting with the January issue, it will introduce a new logo featuring a lowercase font with a rotating color for the "o" and accent mark. "Think of it in fashion terms: We've simply changed and freshened our lipstick, or, perhaps, traded in our pair of sensible shoes for something a little more stylish," editor in chief Barbara Fairchild writes in the editor's letter.
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