Created by Nancy Oliver, Peacock’s ‘Angelyne‘ is a biographical drama series that delves into the intriguing life of Angelyne, a model and media influencer, who became a pop culture icon in Los Angeles during the 80s. Apart from her rise to stardom, the show also captures the perspectives of those who know her up close and how they impact her journey.
One such person is Jeff Glasner (Alex Karpovsky), an entertainment journalist, who sets out to find out the secrets Angelyne fiercely protects and drastically changes her life. The realistic portrayal of the character makes the audience wonder whether Jeff is based on a real person. Let’s unravel this mystery together, shall we? SPOILERS AHEAD.
Is Jeff Glasner a Real Journalist?
In ‘Angelyne,’ Jeff Glasner is a journalist from The Hollywood Reporter who writes an explosive feature about the sensational celebrity’s childhood and family. For his research, he spends time with her and records interviews. However, when Angelyne refuses to divulge anything substantial about her life and beginnings, he decides to conduct his own investigation. In reality, Jeff’s character is allegedly based on journalist Gary Baum, who works for The Hollywood Reporter.
In 2017, Gary wrote an elaborate investigative feature on Angelyne that details her humble background before she became famous as the “Billboard Queen” of Los Angeles. Earlier, he wrote a profile piece for her in 2015, but he claimed that the media personality dodged any questions about her parents or other topics like religion and her upbringing. In the 2017 piece, Gary shared that in the fall of 2016, he was approached by a man who went by the pseudonym, Ed Thompson. He was a federal government employee who undertook paid assignments as a hobbyist genealogist on the side.
For his personal interest, Ed decided to find out about Angelyne a few years earlier and then contacted Gary, who was researching her. He provided the material he had collected over the years from public databases, including her yearbook pictures, as well as details about immigration, marriage records of her parents, and the death record of her mother. All this information helped prove that Angelyne was born as Ronia Tamar Goldberg, which she later changed to Renee Tami Goldberg. She was born in October 1950 in Poland to Jewish parents who were Holocaust survivors.
Ed’s findings also revealed Angelyne’s tumultuous childhood as well as her brief marriage to Michael Strauss during her high school days. After her divorce in 1969, her original name resurfaced in 2016 when she discreetly petitioned to change it to Angelyne legally. However, in the legal document, she mentioned being a resident of Louisville, Kentucky, and claimed to have been born in 1962. Since all this data was different than what Ed had shared, Gary tried contacting Angelyne’s friend and assistant, Scott Hennig, for clarity.
To Gary’s disappointment, both Scott and Angelyne reportedly rubbished the data provided by Ed and discouraged him from pursuing the matter any further. Luckily, when he continued looking for clues, he found an advertisement for a trophy engraving company that matched the residential address which Ed had found earlier. Moreover, Gary managed to track down Angelyne’s former husband, Michael Strauss, who confirmed all of the journalist’s findings and provided a fitting conclusion to his research.
After so many months of hard work, Gary’s investigative feature got published in August 2017 and received a massive response from Angelyne’s fans as well as the other public, who, till then, were highly curious about her life. The journalist’s report is one of the most accurate feature articles on the media icon’s illustrious life and has provided the base for the narrative of the Peacock original.
Where is Gary Baum Now?
At present, Gary Baum works as a Senior Writer at The Hollywood Reporter, where he has been working for more than ten glorious years. Prior to this, he worked with Angeleno Magazine for almost seven years after receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree in Print Journalism from the University of Southern California.
— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) May 11, 2022
Over the years, Gary has written reports on several other relevant topics. Some of the renowned pieces of the journalist are on the clearing of tents for unhoused residents in Los Angeles for film shoots, Jewish studio heads in Hollywood history, and investigative pieces on prominent public and administrative figures. Though he is highly active on the professional front, he seems to be rather private on social media about his life. As far as we can tell, Gary Baum currently resides in Los Angeles with his family.