Gladys Bourdain, mother of celebrity chef, dies at 85
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Gladys Bourdain, mother of celebrity chef, dies at 85

Longtime New York Times copy editor and ‘pushy mom’ gave her son his start when she convinced New Yorker editor David Remnick to give him a chance

Anthony Bourdain in New York City, June 2, 2016. (Mike Coppola/Getty Images)
Anthony Bourdain in New York City, June 2, 2016. (Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

Gladys Bourdain, who convinced an editor to publish the first article written by her chef son Anthony, has died.

Bourdain, who was Jewish, died in hospice on Friday in the Bronx, New York. She was 85.

She worked for nearly 25 years as a copy editor at The New York Times beginning in 1984, “developing a reputation as a strict grammarian on the culture and metropolitan desks,” according to an obituary in that newspaper.

Anthony Bourdain wrote an expose on life in the restaurant business but had trouble getting it published. His mom tried to help.

According to former Times reporter Esther Fein, Bourdain gave his mother a copy of the article and asked Fein to pass it on to her husband, David Remnick, then the new editor of The New Yorker. In doing so, she called herself a “pushy mom.”

Remnick published the article, which led to a book deal shortly after.

Anthony Bourdain, who hosted popular food and travel shows on CNN, committed suicide in 2018. His mother memorialized him with a tattoo of his name on her wrist.

Gladys Bourdain worked for TV Guide, The Record of Bergen County, New Jersey, and Agence France-Presse before joining The Times.

She is survived by a son, Christopher, and three grandchildren.

Anthony Bourdain revealed his Jewish heritage in an episode of his show “Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown,” taped in Israel. While visiting the Western Wall, he was approached to put on tefillin — and did so, reciting the requisite blessing — disclosing that he had one Catholic parent and one Jewish parent, though he was raised without religion.

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