Joan Juliet Buck

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Joan Juliet Buck
Juliet by Reginald Gray.jpg
Study for a portrait of Buck by Reginald Gray, Paris 1980s (graphite on canvas)
Born Los Angeles, California
Occupation Writer, editor, actor
Nationality American
Years active 1968 - Present

Joan Juliet Buck (born 1948) is an American writer and actress. She was the editor-in-chief of French Vogue from 1994 to 2001, the only American ever to have edited a French magazine.[1] She was contributing editor to Vogue and Vanity Fair for many years and now writes for T, New York Times's fashion magazine, W magazine, Newsweek/Daily Beast, among others.

Early life and family[edit]

Born in 1948,[2] she is the only child of Jules Buck (1917–2001), an American film producer, who moved his family to Europe in 1952 in reaction to the political repression in the United States at the time.[3][4] Her mother, Joyce Ruth Getz (aka Joyce Gates, died 1996), was a model, actress, and interior designer.[3][5] John Huston, for whom her father worked as a cameraman,[4] was the best man at her parents' 1945 wedding. Her first language is French and she identifies as Jewish.[6]


US journalism[edit]

Dropping out of Sarah Lawrence College to work at Glamour magazine[7] as a book reviewer in 1968, Buck became the features editor of British Vogue at the age of 23, then a correspondent for Women's Wear Daily in London and Rome.[8][9] Buck was an associate editor of the London Observer. A contributing editor to American Vogue from 1980 and also Vanity Fair,[7] she also published profiles and essays in The New Yorker,[10] Condé Nast Traveler,[11] Travel + Leisure,[12] and The Los Angeles Times Book Review.

As movie critic for American Vogue from 1990 to 1994, she served on the New York Film Festival selection committee the year its program included Chen Kaige's Farewell, My Concubine, Jane Campion's The Piano, and Robert Altman's Short Cuts.[13] From 1994 to 2001 she was editor-in-chief of French Vogue,[7] where she doubled the magazine's circulation and produced thematic year-end issues on cinema, art, music, sex, theater, and quantum physics.[14]

For US Vogue, she profiled such cover subjects as Marion Cotillard,[15] Gisele Bündchen,[16] Carey Mulligan,[17] and Natalie Portman, writing also about the playwright Tom Stoppard[18][19] and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy for the magazine.[20] For Vanity Fair, she profiled people like Bernard-Henri Lévy[21] and Mike Nichols.[22] For the New Yorker her subjects included the actor Daniel Day-Lewis, chronicler of Russian émigrés in Paris Nina Berberova, and Princess Diana's relics post-death.[23][24][25]

She has appeared in numerous documentaries, among them James Kent's Fashion Victim, the Killing of Gianni Versace, Mark Kidel's Paris Whorehouse and Architecture of the Imagination. Buck narrated James Crump's 2007 documentary Black, White + Gray, about art collector Sam Wagstaff and photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.[26]

She writes for T magazine, New York Times's fashion magazine and W,[7][27][28] among others.[29][30][31] Her humorous cultural pieces for T have included such subjects as Willem Dafoe, the evolving culture of high-end bedding, and the cross-country tour of The Moth storytelling series (in which she participated in 2009 and 2011).[32][33][34] Since 2011, Buck has also been the consulting editor to Dasha Zhukova on her Garage magazine which the New York Times called "one of the most intriguing magazines to come along in years."[32][35][36]

European journalism[edit]

She became the features editor of British Vogue at the age of 23, then a correspondent for Women's Wear Daily in London and Rome. She was an associate editor of the London Observer between the times she worked for Women's Wear Daily and her work for Vogue and Vanity Fair in New York City. She was as French Vogue's editor in chief from 1994 to 2001.[37] Her selection was described by The New York Times as an indication that Conde Nast intended to "modernize the magazine and expand its scope" from its circulation of 80,000.[38]


She began studying acting in 2002, and appears in a supporting role in Nora Ephron's 2009 movie Julie & Julia as Madame Elisabeth Brassart, head of the famed Le Cordon Bleu cooking school.[14][39][40][41] She wrote about the experience of auditioning for Ephron after she died in June 2012.[6]

In November 2009, she appeared in an action theater piece with other actors for Performa09 at the White Slab Palace in New York City.[42] Curated by Michael Portnoy and Sarina Basta, it was part of a week of Weimar cabaret,[43] and in it, Buck and another actor held a conversation guided by the third actor's random flashing of prompt cards.

In 2010, Buck played Mrs. Prest in an adaptation of The Aspern Papers, a Henry James novella, directed by first-time filmmaker Mariana Hellmund.[44][45] She played Marguerite Duras in Irina Brook's La Vie Materielle that spring and again in 2013 at La MaMa E.T.C. theater in New York City alongside Nicole Ansari from Deadwood.[46][47]

In May 2012, she appeared with comedian Eugene Mirman, performers Ira Glass, Lucy Wainwright Roche, and Amber Tamblyn in a night of interpretations of the Joan of Arc narrative at the Littlefield, a Brooklyn performance space.[48]

As a child, Buck was cast as a Scots waif in the Walt Disney film Greyfriars Bobby.[49]

Novels and adaptations[edit]

Buck's novels about multicultural expatriates are The Only Place To Be published by Random House in 1982 and Daughter Of The Swan published by Weidenfeld in 1987.[50][51] She was one of a long line of writers commissioned to adapt D. M. Thomas's novel The White Hotel. Her version was singled out by Thomas as "faithful and intelligent" among versions that included ones by the writer himself and Dennis Potter but the film has never been made.[52]

In 2009, the story "The Ghost Of The Rue Jacob"[53] was a big hit at The Moth. In February 2012, Buck went on "The Unchained Tour" through Georgia with George Green, founder of The Moth.[54][55]

Asma al-Assad article[edit]

In March 2011 Vogue published a profile that Buck wrote about Asma al-Assad, wife of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, describing her as "glamorous, young and very chic—the freshest and most magnetic of first ladies."[56] The piece caused a furor within the East Coast US media.[56] Max Fisher attacked it in The Atlantic as an ill-timed "puff piece" that ignored human rights abuses under Syria's Ba'athist regime.[57] In The Wall Street Journal, Bari Weiss and David Feith suggested that "Ms. Buck's aim was more public relations spin than reportage." [58] In May 2011 the article was removed from Vogue's website,[56] even though the magazine had previously said it had taken "more than a year" to cultivate.[57] The article was satirized in The Philadelphia Inquirer in April 2012.[59] The New York Times subsequently reported that the Assad "family paid the Washington public relations firm Brown Lloyd James $5,000 a month to act as a liaison between Vogue and the first lady, according to the firm."[60]

The appearance of the profile coincided with Assad's crackdown on his opponents, prompting Paul Farhi to write in The Washington Post, "It may have been the worst-timed, and most tin-eared, magazine article in decades."[56] Several months later, however, columnist Jennifer Rubin observed in the Post, "[I]t was the Washington liberal foreign policy community that, for years, had fancied Bashar al-Assad as a constructive player in the Middle East," specifically naming President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Quoting Lee Smith, Rubin pointed out that John Kerry, Teresa Heinz, James A. Baker and Brent Scowcroft, among others, courted Assad in an attempt to sway him from Iran. "American liberals and Republican realpolitikers were every bit as sycophantic and deluded as Buck," she wrote.[61] In the wake of the controversy, Buck's contract with Vogue was not renewed.[1]

She subsequently described her encounter with the Assads in fuller scope in Newsweek, saying that she had not wanted to write the story.[62] Her follow-up also generated controversy and was derided on social media.[63] In The Guardian, Homa Khaleeli wrote that Buck's "mea culpa is almost as disastrous as the initial interview." Khaleeli added, "In fact it's hard to tell if Buck asked Asma—or Bashar whom she also met—any real questions at all." [64] In Maclean's, Canadian socialite Barbara Amiel pointed out that at the time Buck wrote the original article, Syria was already on the U.S. State Department list of state sponsors of terrorism.[65] restored Buck's article to the web in early September 2013.[66]

Personal life[edit]

In 1977, Buck married John Heilpern, a journalist and writer; they divorced in the 1980s.[14][67]


  1. ^ a b "Rag Trade: Kate Upton Tells GQ About That Time Her Top Fell Off". Retrieved August 27, 2012. 
  2. ^ Glowczewska, Klara (2012). The Conde Nast Traveler Book of Unforgettable Journeys, Volume II. Penguin. ISBN 9781101603642. Retrieved 31 December 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Jules Buck". London: Telegraph. August 10, 2001. Retrieved April 12, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Gussow, Mel (July 26, 2001). "Jules Buck, 83, Film Producer And Battlefield Cameraman - New York Times". Retrieved April 12, 2012. 
  5. ^ Lauren Bacall (August 21, 1996). "Obituary:Joyce Buck - People - News". London: The Independent. Retrieved April 12, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b Joan Juliet Buck (June 27, 2012). "Joan Juliet Buck on Being in Awe of Nora Ephron". Newsweek the Daily Beast. Retrieved August 6, 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Joan Juliet Buck: No Longer in Vogue". June 18, 2012. Retrieved June 18, 2012. 
  8. ^ "THE MEDIA BUSINESS; French Vogue Names Editor - New York Times". April 11, 1994. Retrieved April 12, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Gale Contemporary Fashion: Missoni". Retrieved August 23, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Contributor: Joan Juliet Buck". New Yorker. Retrieved August 23, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Contributors: Joan Juliet Buck". Condé Nast Traveler. Retrieved August 23, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Under the Tuscan Sun". Travel + Leisure. February 2004. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  13. ^ William Grimes (August 26, 1993). "Film Festival '93: An Emphasis On the Epic, as Seen Personally - New York Times". Retrieved June 9, 2012. 
  14. ^ a b c La Ferla, Ruth (September 17, 2009). "Stepping Out of Fashion and Into Film, Without Glancing Back". The New York Times. Retrieved April 16, 2012. 
  15. ^ Joan Juliet Buck. "Voguepedia: Marion Cotillard". Retrieved August 30, 2012. 
  16. ^ Joan Juliet Buck (March 15, 2010). "Vogue Diaries: Gisele Bundchen". Retrieved August 30, 2012. 
  17. ^ Joan Juliet Buck. "The Talented Miss Mulligan". Vogue. Retrieved August 30, 2012. 
  18. ^ Joan Juliet Buck, "Tom Stoppard: Kind Heart and Prickly Mind," Vogue, March 1984.
  19. ^ Kelly, Katherine E. index from The Cambridge Companion to Tom Stoppard. Retrieved September 3, 2012. 
  20. ^ Buck, Joan Juliet. "Carla Bruni: Paris Match". Retrieved September 3, 2012. 
  21. ^ "France's Prophet Provocateur". Vanity Fair. Retrieved September 4, 2012. 
  22. ^ Joan Juliet Buck, "Live Mike: Interview with Mike Nichols," Vanity Fair, June 1994.
  23. ^ "Postscript: Nina Berberova". The New Yorker. Retrieved September 4, 2012. 
  24. ^ "Diana's Relics". The New Yorker. Retrieved September 4, 2012. 
  25. ^ "Actor from the Shadows". The New Yorker. Retrieved September 4, 2012. 
  26. ^ Weissberg, Jay (May 9, 2007). "Black White + Gray: A Portrait of Sam Wagstaff and Robert Mapplethorpe" (PDF). Variety. 
  27. ^ "Taryn’s World". Retrieved April 16, 2012. 
  28. ^ "Blithe Spirit". Retrieved April 16, 2012. 
  29. ^ "Joan Juliet Buck". Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  30. ^ "wOw Scenes: The Views From Our Windows". March 18, 2011. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  31. ^ "Full House". The New York Times. December 4, 2010. Retrieved April 16, 2012. 
  32. ^ a b "Rich as Creases". The New York Times. February 28, 2012. Retrieved April 16, 2012.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "NYTimes" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  33. ^ "Deep Sleep". T magazine, New York Times. October 10, 2012. 
  34. ^ "A Bus Called Wanda". The New York Times. September 21, 2012. 
  35. ^ "Entrepreneur Dasha Zhukova Is Launching A Magazine Because She Can". TheGrindStone. Retrieved April 16, 2012. 
  36. ^ Helmore, Edward (May 26, 2011). "Dasha, Dasha, Dasha". WSJ. Retrieved April 16, 2012. 
  37. ^ Trebay, Guy. "She's the face of fashion, and its prophet". The New York Times (April 16, 2002).
  38. ^ "French Vogue names editor". The New York Times (April 11, 1994).
  39. ^ Pols, Mary (August 17, 2009). "Julie & Julia: The Joy of Cooking". TIME. Retrieved April 12, 2012. 
  40. ^ Reiter, Amy. "Entertainment - entertainment, movies, tv, music, celebrity, Hollywood - -". Retrieved April 12, 2012. 
  41. ^ Goldfarb, Michael. ""Julie & Julia" - France". Retrieved April 12, 2012. 
  42. ^ "The PROMPT (a night club)". Performa. Retrieved July 1, 2012. 
  43. ^ Kunstverein programs
  44. ^ "The Aspern Papers (2010)". Retrieved August 20, 2012. 
  45. ^ "Mariana Hellmund". Retrieved August 20, 2012. 
  46. ^ "La Vie Materielle". 
  47. ^ "Irina Brook Will Make New York Directorial Debut With Shakespeare's Sister at La Mama". Playbill. 5 Sep 2013. 
  48. ^ "The Talent Show Brand Variety Show: The Shows". The Talent Show. Retrieved August 20, 2012. 
  49. ^ Greyfriars Bobby (1961) on
  50. ^ "Daughter Of The Swan by Joan Juliet Buck 3.82 stars". Retrieved August 22, 2012. 
  51. ^ "Daughter Of The Swan by Joan Juliet Buck". Powell's Books. Retrieved August 22, 2012. 
  52. ^ DM Thomas (August 28, 2004). "DM Thomas: My Hollywood hell | Film". London: The Guardian. Retrieved April 12, 2012. 
  53. ^ "The Moth: The Ghost of the Rue Jacob". HuffDuffer. Retrieved April 16, 2012. 
  54. ^ "The Unchained Tour Rides Again". Retrieved April 16, 2012. 
  55. ^ "Unchained". Retrieved April 16, 2012. 
  56. ^ a b c d Farhi, Paul (April 26, 2012). "Style: Vogue's flattering article on Syria's first lady is scrubbed from Web". The Washington Post. 
  57. ^ a b "Vogue Defends Profile of Syrian First Lady - Max Fisher - International". The Atlantic. April 6, 2012. Retrieved April 12, 2012. 
  58. ^
  59. ^ "The Puff Piece and Its Perils". The Philadelphia Inquirer. 6 April 2012. Retrieved 14 September 2012. 
  60. ^
  61. ^ Rubin, Jennifer (Aug 26, 2012). "Diplomats’ delusion on Damascus". The Washington Post. 
  62. ^ Syria's Fake First Family, The Daily Beast, July 30, 2012
  63. ^ Chozick, Amy (July 31, 2012). "Defense of Ridiculed Vogue Profile of Assad Leads to More Ridicule". The New York Times. 
  64. ^
  65. ^
  66. ^
  67. ^ [1][dead link]

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