Robert Couri Hay, born April 1949, is an American publicist, blogger and gossip columnist. He was a gossip columnist for the National Enquirer from 1976 to 1983.
Early life and education
Robert C. Hay has said that he was born and raised in Portland, Maine. He dropped out of American University in Washington, D.C. He claims to have moved to New York in 1970 at age 20.
Hay is a publicist based in Manhattan and the Hamptons. He has been the publicist of aspiring socialites including Fabian Basabe, Devorah Rose, Jean Shafiroff, and Melissa Berkelhammer. His company's mission is "founded on the premise that luxury has responsibility to philanthropy." He has worked with luxury brands such as Harry Winston, Bergdorf Goodman, Prada, Chopard, Escada, Bulgari and more and created philanthropic events for the Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, Henry Street Settlement, the Central Park Conservancy, and the Lighthouse International and New Yorkers for Children that served the ever first benefit after 9/11 where Mayor Rudolph Giuliani attended. According to ABC News, Hay is known "to marry luxury and philanthropy." The Times featured a story on Hay in October 2014 titled, "The Gossip Guy." The story noted career milestones of Hay as a publicist and quoted the writer Jay McInerney who called Hay "irrepressible."
Gossip columnist and blogger
Hay was a gossip columnist for the National Enquirer from 1976 to 1983. He was an editor for Andy Warhol's Interview magazine. Hay starred in Anton Perich's public access television show. Hay appeared on the cover of New York Magazine in August 1979 talking about "The Weird World of Cable TV," and was also on the cover of Cable TV World. The Los Angeles Times labeled Hay one of the interviewers who had the "skill and subtlety to draw... flashes of devilish wit and astute observation, as well as delicious gossip." Hay was the columnist for the National Enquirer, and was quoted about gossip in Newsweek Magazine. In January 1979, Hay and Zandra Rhodes shared fact-findings on their trip to China, and in 1970, Hay reported on his trip to Cuba. Hay also began to write for Town & Country and People. The same year, Hay started his own company: R. Couri Hay Creative Public Relations.
Until it was sold and suspended publication late in 2018, Hay wrote a monthly society column for Avenue Magazine (New York) covering the "Hamptons chicest galas and posh private parties to "Happening in Manhattan and the South Fork." He is the society editor for Hamptons Magazine and a columnist for Gotham Magazine. In the summer of 2013 and 2014 he wrote weekly Hampton's Magazine profiles on cultural icons. He also writes "Corner Office" profiles in Gotham Magazine. Currently, he is the culture editor for Resident Magazine and writes a monthly column entitled, “Social Safari.” Hay has been mentioned in gossip columns such as the New York Post, Daily News, and the New York Observer.
He has appeared as a gossip blogger on The Today Show, Fox, MSNBC, Extra, PBS, ABC's Primetime Live, CNN Headline News, Showbiz Tonight, E! News Live, E! True Hollywood Story, ABC World News Now and VH1's The Fabulous Life.
Hay took on the role of drawing a younger crowd to the American Ballet Theatre and organized a "Junior Council" that acted as co-chairs for the ballet theater's annual gala with Anne Hearst, Cornelia Guest and Erik Wachtmeister. By the 1980s, Hay began planning parties at Studio 54 and hosted celebrity parties at his New York City townhouse; one party was Boy George's 24th birthday party. Hay became a partner in the now-defunct supper club Tatou in New York.
In May 2014, Hay "lent a series of rare James drawings" to the Metropolitan Museum of Arts Exhibition, "Beyond Fashion" and was referenced in the Charles James' book by Harold Koda titled "Beyond Fashion" for a 24-hour "video project" both Hay and filmmaker Anton Perich created. Interview Magazine revisited Hay's interview with Charles James. In the fall of 2014, New York Magazine announced that Hay's collection of Charles James' sketches would be displayed at The National Arts Club. The New York Times art critic Roberta Smith reviewed the exhibition, "Charles James Beneath the Dress," at The National Arts Club saying: "Nothing reflects the complex, sometimes fraught sensibility of the great fashion designer Charles James as completely as his drawings...this exhibition presents 93 drawings from the 1960s and '70s. All come from the collection of R. Couri Hay, a writer who works in public relations and was a confidant of James' late in his life." In 2015, Hay will appear weekly on The Charles James Story, a documentary series on the designer by Anton Perich that airs on cable television every Monday night. Hay's novel Secret Lives was excerpted on a blog post by Michael Musto.
At age 17, Hay had a brief affair with the designer Halston: “Halston said I was the only white boy he ever loved.” Hay currently lives in New York.