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Graydon Carter is leaving his role as editor-in-chief of Condé Nast’s Vanity Fair magazine. He’ll officially leave the job after planning the 2018 Hollywood issue of the magazine, which publishes in January.
The move marks the end of an era for the media world, where Carter reigned as one of the industry’s most influential and well-known editors during his 25-year tenure at the magazine.
Vanity Fair’s glossy mix of hard-hitting investigative journalism and lighter entertainment fare made it the envy of the publishing industry at a time when many of its print peers struggled to adapt to the rise of the internet.
It’s unclear who will replace Carter, though speculation about potential successors was already in full-swing immediately following the news. Carter told the New York Times on Thursday that he had an “idea” for who he’d like to succeed him, but did not elaborate.
Short fingers and deep throats
In a statement accompanying Vanity Fair’s official announcement, Carter said he was eager to begin his “third act.”
Indeed, the 68-year old Carter has come to represent different things to different generations over the span of his career.
In the 1980’s, as an editor at the now-defunct Spy magazine, Carter popularized the term “short-fingered vulgarian” as a way of discussing now-President Donald Trump, who at the time was a popular figure in the tabloids.
He came back into the spotlight after the 2016 election as President Trump narrowed in on him as a target of critique. The national attention sent Vanity Fair’s subscriptions into overdrive in a time when many magazines have struggled to stay in print.
Has anyone looked at the really poor numbers of @VanityFair Magazine. Way down, big trouble, dead! Graydon Carter, no talent, will be out!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 15, 2016
Under Carter’s stewardship, Vanity Fair published several major exclusives, such as the unmasking of F.B.I. official Mark Felt as “Deep Throat,” and the first profile on Caitlyn Jenner after her gender reassignment surgery.
In 2014, he was elected to the American Society of Magazine Editors’ Hall of Fame.
“Oh, bittersweet day: the Grexit is upon us,” wrote Vanity Fair editor David Kamp, in a heartfelt departure announcement. “Among those of us who have worked with Graydon Carter for a long time, the thought has lingered uncomfortably in the back of our minds that he might someday snap shut his laptop, pull on his Anderson & Sheppard overcoat, and get on with the rest of his life, leaving Vanity Fair behind.”
Upon leaving the magazine, Carter will spend six months in France with his family, according to Kamp.