Ross Johnson


United States

Ross Johnson has covered the intersection of media, entertainment and big money since 1994. As a writer, his work has been featured in the New York Times, Esquire, New York magazine, Los Angeles magazine, and the late Buzz magazine. He contributed enterprise stories to The Hollywood Reporter Weekly while also serving as executive editor of the special issues section of the publication.

He can be reached at (+1)310-780-8117 (also good for WhatsApp). His email address is [email protected]

Esquire magazine
Ross Johnson in Esquire

Here are my interviews with the late James Caan, Suge Knight, the late Burt Reynolds, Haley Joel Osment and the incredible Ozzy Osbourne!

Los Angeles magazine
"Tequila Sunset," LA Press Club Award nominee

An inch wide, mile deep look at the drama on a couple of streets in Malibu's Point Dume neighborhood. It's got ocean swells, huge cannabis plants, Rottweilers and Barbra Streisand!

The best of The Hollywood Reporter

From 1994 to 2006, I wrote for THR as an executive editor, reporter and free lancer. Here are my two favorites: An interview with sci-fi author William Gibson at the dawn of the internet, and a brutal look at how Hollywood agents ripped each other off when agents ruled the earth.

Los Angeles Magazine, The Hollywood Reporter
Lawyers, Guns and Money: Hollywood Edition

One of my specialties over the years is understanding the business, art and hustle of criminal trial litigators. Here are best-in-practice looks at Hollywood's pitbull lawyers, former U.S. Attorney Alejandro Mayorkas (now head of the Department of Homeland Security), and the train wreck of litigators who swarmed around the Anthony Pellicano brawl.

Premiere Magazine
The Incredible Endurance of Elie Samaha

Elie Samaha has been a lightning rod since he hopped from the dry cleaning biz to run the VIP room at the Roxbury Club. From there he went to film producer, then to theater owner (Grauman's Chinese Theater), then to elite hotel proprietor (Two Bunch Palms), then back again to film producer. The Premiere story caught him at his most controversial when he briefly partnered with a German stock promoter who was flummoxed when Elie did what he said he was going to do: actually make lots of movies....

Buzz magazine
Young Gun in Hollywood Story, Part One

Back in 1995, there were few young players like Gavin Polone, then an agent with an all-star list of clients like Larry David and Conan O'Brien. The headline of this story, "The Infuriating Confidence of Gavin Polone," was, unfortunately, too prophetic. Gavin was fired shortly after this article appeared. Buzz magazine is long gone, but Gavin survived in Hollywood, to this credit. Bonus flip slide feature follows: "Grumpy Old Producers."

New York Times
Young Gun in Hollywood Story, Part Two

11 years after I did the Gavin Polone story, the New York Times asked me to do another "brash young studio exec on the come" profile. Alas, the business had changed, and Young Men Acting Like an Asshole was a cliche. Working with the great editor Michael Cieply, this profile of New Line Cinema executive Richard Brener was a nuanced look at a few days in the life of a man trying to do an honest day's work. I wasn't trying to play any tricks, and neither was Richard. The man still has his job...

Four Seasons Magazine (Forbes offshoot)
A Nice Santa Barbara Story with Rich People

The trick in covering Santa Barbara or East Hampton or Cap d'Antibes is knowing that being rich does not make someone a bad person. It just makes them rich. Sometimes, one has to report on them like one would a baseball game: record the hits, runs, errors -- and add a Gulfstream or two. In this Santa Barbara story, the facts are dead on, because, in Santa Barbara, they check the box scores.

LA Weekly
A Mean Santa Barbara Story with Rich People

In the late 1990s, when Wendy McCaw moved to Santa Barbara with a huge divorce settlement, she bought the Santa Barbara News Press, the struggling local paper. When I caught up with her in 2007, she was being blown up in scores of publications for cleaning house at the News Press. I focused on the herd of lawyers, flacks and whisperers that were encouraging her at high hourly rates."Wendy's Posse" was nominated for a Los Angeles Press Club award. Enjoy.