Exclusive: TMZ’s Cork native Peter O’Riordan ruffles feathers of Hollywood celebs
A day in the life of a TMZ scribe
Four years after graduating with a degree in political science from University College Cork (UCC), Peter O’Riordan now finds himself scouting the hills of Hollywood for celebrity news for one of the world’s most popular gossip websites.
The two may seem worlds apart, but for this Irish man it was an organic transition. “It’s been an interesting journey,” O’Riordan told the Irish Voice by phone from the TMZ offices in Los Angeles on a recent Thursday afternoon.
It’s now just over a month since O’Riordan, from Ballincollig in Co. Cork, landed a coveted position in a company which has redefined celebrity news. As expected the 27-year-old describes it as a “dream job.”
“It’s an incredible organization and an incredible team,” he says. “I am very humbled by the whole thing”.
Launched in 2005, TMZ takes its name from Hollywood’s “Thirty Mile Zone,” a designated area movie studios established to monitor rules for filming.
The celebrity news organization was founded by Harvey Levin, a TV producer, lawyer, legal analyst and celebrity reporter. Since its inception TMZ has broken some of the biggest celebrity news stories, such as the death of Michael Jackson in 2009.
“TMZ is the number one news broadcasting agency in the world of celebrity news,” says O’Riordan, the site’s newest Irish employee.
“Aside from the TV show, we still are a news organization so it is important we are number one,” he adds.
But how does a Cork man end up working at TMZ?
“It’s a funny story,” he says.
Working in a grocery store in the same complex as TMZ, O’Riordan impressed the show’s producers with his easy going personality, and after initial recruitment talks managed to secure a job at the news organization.
“I would talk the hind legs off a donkey,” he laughs. “They took a risk and a chance with me. They didn’t have to do that and I am very grateful.”
Over the phone line from LA to New York, the enthusiasm in his voice is unmistakable. This is one LA resident who is not taking his existence for granted.
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