A. J. Benza
|Alfred Joseph 'A.J.' Benza|
June 2, 1962 |
New York, New York
|Occupation||Gossip columnist, Television host|
During college Benza began writing for Newsday and was soon hired full-time as a gossip columnist for that paper and eventually for the New York Daily News. It was as a gossip columnist that he began appearing on E! Entertainment Television's The Gossip Show in the early 1990s. This led to appearances on talk shows such as Geraldo, Hard Copy, The Montel Williams Show, The Maury Povich Show, and various other television talk shows. He was later fired from the New York Daily News by editor Pete Hamill.
E! Network Shows
Soon after leaving the paper, Benza was offered a job hosting a new show at E! entitled Mysteries and Scandals, which necessitated a move to Los Angeles, California. It was on this show that Benza popularized the catchphrase "Fame, ain't it a bitch," which later became the title of his autobiography. The show ran for three seasons between 1998 and 2000.
Also in 2001, during an appearance on The Howard Stern Show, Benza punched Stern show producer Gary Dell'Abate in the face as he was attempting to punch staffer "Stuttering John" Melendez, ostensibly because Benza didn't appreciate the incessant lampooning of his failed late-night show and blamed Melendez as the main culprit. The on-air punch prompted an extended fracas and it resulted in Benza being permanently banned from the Howard Stern Show.
He appeared as a co-host on the first five seasons of High Stakes Poker (along with Gabe Kaplan) on the GSN. He was replaced by poker pro Kara Scott for the show's sixth season. He wrote an open letter expressing his discontent with network executives at GSN in a post on his blog titled "Flop turn and river of shit".
Benza also had an acting role as L.C. Luco in the 2006 film Rocky Balboa. He also is working on a second book which is tentatively titled Star Trip. Benza appeared on the sixth season of Celebrity Fit Club on VH1, where he lost 12 lbs.
In 2008, Benza appeared in Gimme My Reality Show, a reality competition series on Fox Reality that followed a group of D-list celebrities with previous reality credentials as they battle for their chance to shine with their own show.
Benza dated fashion model Kara Young from 1998 to 2001. During a phone call with her and Donald Trump on the Howard Stern Show on May 10, 2001, the three of them argued about whether or not she left A. J. for Donald.
He is currently married to his second wife, Virginia Folk, and the couple has one child, a girl named Roxy. He also has a son from his first marriage.
- A. J. Benza at the Internet Movie Database
- Online interview at The Black Table
- Q&A with fans from E!