HOLLYWOOD—Oh, devastating news struck the San Francisco News family last week when we learned our entertainment columnist Michael St. John passed away peacefully on Friday, July 23 in his sleep. Michael had been part of the San Francisco News family since our inception, delivering his witty, blunt, entertaining, and awesome columns each week for the column, St. John’s Confidential File.
I learned so much about the inner workings of Hollywood during the Golden Era thanks to Michael. He was never afraid to share tales of the struggles he encountered breaking into Hollywood. As an actor, but writer, producer, radio host and a power player in the entertainment industry people, Michael has told all kinds of stories. Some that haunt you long after you have read them. He encountered racism while attending school at USC, breaking barriers while working at NBC, making a name for himself in the entertainment industry appearing in the musical “Carmen Jones,” this man was one-of-a-kind.
As a fellow writer, it was a treat to read Michael’s column each week in the publication where he highlighted a unique actor, actress, director, writer, singer, producer or talent who may have not gotten his or her shine just yet, but Michael wanted to ensure they got a bit of love. His insider knowledge of the industry and the people he knew in the industry is something anyone in the entertainment industry would be salivating to know and be connected to.
St. John’s insider peak of his book “Hollywood Through the Back Door” was a chronicle within a chronicle. The tales Michael shared about his upbringing and encounters with some of the biggest and I mean just that, the BIGGEST names in Hollywood left me stunned. Candid, eye-opening and just riveting and it proved that this man was one of a kind, a true talent. He did not mince his words, he said things with a blunt truth that rather you liked it or not, you heard it and you knew where MSJ as we call him at Canyon News stood on certain issues.
One thing that I will ALWAYS and I mean ALWAYS remember about my friend Michael St. John was that his column was always submitted every single week for the past 14 years that I have known him without delay. I looked forward to reading MSJ’s column for the week to see which industry insider or soon to be star or what hot topic issue would be highlighted by the famed writer. I will dearly miss my friend who while I never shared with him, he taught me so much about writing style, tone and being unapologetic for what you write. Any good writer puts things on paper for a purpose and MSJ and his presence was more powerful than many of you know.
We will dearly miss our pal Michael St. John who fought hard in the past few weeks after getting ill. You may be gone Michael St. John, but here at the San Francisco News you will always and I mean always be remembered.