Cosmo Landesman

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Cosmo Landesman is an American-British journalist and editor. With his wife Julie Burchill and friend Toby Young, he founded the magazine The Modern Review, which operated from 1991 into 1995 with Young as editor.

Early life and education[edit]

Cosmo Landesman is the oldest of two sons of Jay and Fran Landesman, a writer and impresario, and a lyricist and poet, from St. Louis and New York, respectively. He and his younger brother Miles Davis Landesman were both born in St. Louis. He thought Miles as cool as his name.[1] Their parents worked in music and theatre. Born in New York and St. Louis, they emigrated to London in 1964 with their two sons. By 1967, they embraced hippie culture, wearing their own beads and long hair. While Cosmo studied books more deeply, Miles became footloose, leaving their secondary school. Always more bookish, Cosmo envied his younger brother's willingness to plunge into the world; he left school in London at age 16 and experimented with the fringes of performance.[1]

Career and marriage[edit]

Cosmo Landesman went into journalism. As a young man, he joined the Groucho Club. He met and married Julie Burchill, who was also a writer. Together they had a son Jack.

The couple became friends with Toby Young, a writer and editor. The three collaborated on founding The Modern Review in 1991, which they intended to cover low-brow culture for the high-brows.

The founders argued how to proceed when circulation fell. The Landesmans separated after she had an affair with Charlotte Raven, then an intern. Landesman quit the UK in 1995 to work in New York City. He was one of the contributors to Vanity Fair's Cool Britannia issue in March 1997. He is the film critic for The Sunday Times.

In 2008, Landesman published his memoir Starstruck, which largely concerns growing up with his theatre parents, described by Geordie Gregi as "Jay and Fran were two wacky, middle-aged American egotists who arrived in ‘the land of the stiff upper lip’ and caused mayhem. Blind to their own blush-making toxicity, they were obsessed with being famous."[2] Landesman also came to terms with his parents, who viewed themselves as appropriate subjects for his book.[3]



  1. ^ a b Cosmo Landesman, "My brother, my hero", The Guardian, 11 October 2008, accessed 16 January 2014
  2. ^ Geordie Greig "Unruly children as parents", Review: Cosmo Landesman, Starstruck, The Spectator, 1 October 2008
  3. ^ Christopher Sylvester Review: "Fame, my family and me": Cosmo Landesman, Star Struck, The Independent on Sunday, 23 November 2008