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‘The Wire’ Creator David Simon Writes Loving Tribute to Anthony Bourdain: ‘He’s the American We Wish Ourselves to Be’

Simon once called Bourdain out of the blue for guidance on a character in "Treme," which led to the chef joining the series as a writer and consultant.

Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain


David Simon has posted a lengthy tribute to the late Anthony Bourdain on his official website. The emotional post finds Simon, creator of HBO drama series “The Wire,” “Treme,” and “The Deuce,” looking back on his relationship with the celebrity chef, author, and television host. Bourdain was found dead in his French apartment on June 8 and his death was later ruled a suicide.

Simon remembered watching an episode of “No Reservations” while he was working on “Treme” and being struck by Bourdain’s presence on camera. The showrunner made it his mission to become friends with Bourdain in that moment.

“I was still on the sofa at four in the afternoon, still half-dressed, when I decided that my life could not be complete if I did not somehow become friends with Anthony Bourdain,” Simon wrote. “’This guy is so f—ing real,’ I remember telling my son [Ethan]. ‘This guy,’ Ethan replied, correcting me, ‘might be the absolute coolest person on the entire planet.’”

Simon ended up getting Bourdain’s number and called him out of the blue. The call was Simon’s way of trying to become friends with Bourdain, but he disguised his real intentions by saying he needed Bourdain’s advice since he was writing a chef character on “Treme” played by Kim Dickens.

“I hadn’t focused much on that arc or on what Bourdain could do with it,” Simon said. “No, I just wanted a bromance.”

“A lot of people will tell you that on meeting Tony — despite how extraordinary a being he was — they somehow felt as if they’d known him for years,” Simon continued. “In part, this was the natural result of having so much of his wit and intellect bleed across our television screens. But just as elemental, I believe, was the man’s almost unlimited capacity for empathy, for feeling the lives and loves and hopes of others. He listened as few listen.”

Bourdain went on to be a writer and consultant on “Treme” for four seasons. Simon said Bourdain “guided and wrote us all the way home” during the years they worked on “Treme.” The creator went on to write Bourdain represented the very best of America.

“He remains, for many of us, the American that we wish ourselves to be in the world’s sight,” Simon said. “To have him widely displayed as our countryman, open to and caring about the rest of the world, and being so amid our current political degradation — this was ever more important and heroic. To lose him now, amid so many fear-mongering, xenophobic tantrums by those engaged in our misrule, is hideous and grievous.”

Simon is currently the showrunner of HBO’s “The Deuce.” You can read his entire tribute to Bourdain here.

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