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Bill O’Reilly’s new book tackles the potentially fatal price of fame

Bill chats about fame factor

Fifteen minutes have passed so time for another Bill O’Reilly book. His 12th in his Killing Series, out tomorrow, is “Killing the Legends: The Lethal Danger of Celebrity.”

In a recent phone call, he said, “Celebrity is killing the celebrities.”

Me: Which means what?

“People once hid stuff. Nobody exposed John F. Kennedy’s lifestyle or bad-boy movie star Errol Flynn who had levels of protection. Years ago old-timers were just boozers.

“Different now. Safety’s gone. From Jesus to today, fame hasn’t been so dangerous. Targets are on your back. Kim Kardashian in Paris? There’s drugs, alcohol, social media running wild, insane personal stuff on the Internet, people making things up. No holding anyone to account. It’s plain notoriety.

“Fame’s a crushing weight. Janis Joplin, John Lennon. Jimi Hendrix, Michael Jackson left at a young age and on and on. I write about three — Elvis, Marilyn, Muhammad Ali. These were mega — not George Clooney level. These changed American society. Their celebrity crushed them.

“Elvis, who’d been driving a truck, didn’t understand. What did he know? Introduced rock ’n’ roll yet his pastor said he’s Satan. Not sophisticated, betrayed by people close to him he thought he could trust. He nearly filed for bankruptcy. His father took money but didn’t help him.

“I do five pages about Muhammad Ali who was unprepared and never the same afterward. His famous Thrilla in Manila fight against Joe Frazier almost killed him. His own people forced him to fight for the money. People stole him blind. He was broken.”

O’Really onto something

On celebrity, O’Reilly continued: “These stars are isolated. John Lennon, heroin addict — and that’s what broke up The Beatles. He wasn’t running out to any deli for a sandwich. He stayed holed up in his Dakota apartment.”

So human beings are supposed to always stay nobody and be nothing?

“No. They need lawyers who watch families on board.”

O'Reilly's book discusses the price Elvis Presley paid for being a celebrity.
O’Reilly’s book discusses the price Elvis Presley paid for being a celebrity.
HBO via AP

And YOUR lifestyle?

“Prepared. I know the basic training for it. I measure everything I do. Not running to parties. Not looking to get photographed in freaky outfits. Not into parties. Not with celebrity corroded people. Stay centric. Raise my kids. No publicists. Stick with people you can trust.

“Check our headlines today. Donald Trump, Joe Biden. Adulation is you get the best table in a restaurant, yes. But the downside is unkind things get said about you. Everyone tries to hurt you.”

Balancing new WFH duties

Meanwhile, Fox TV reprised one of my columns from last week — my at-home-just-we-two exclusive interview with former government employee Andrew Cuomo. Their small slap at me said ex-Gov. Andrew obviously had nobody left to have dinner with — but Cindy. What a shtick.

Wrong. We didn’t have dinner. Just a 5 o’clock drink and conversation. Being that he’s no longer in office and no longer in Albany, I served domestic wine. 

Lovely to have the United Nations here and all those foreign dignitaries triple-parking their rides. Especially those great people from Vladimir Putin’s neighborhood. And may they swim safely through shark-infested waters.

What? It’s called professional courtesy.

Only in New York, kids, only in New York.

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