“Honestly,” CNN’s Anderson Cooper said, “it’s hard to even talk about him in the past tense at this point.”
Anthony Bourdain’s death is “hard to imagine,” Cooper said, channeling the feelings of so many others at CNN.
Bourdain’s death by suicide shocked viewers around the world. After the news broke on Friday, some of Bourdain’s friends and fellow faces of CNN talked about his life and death for an hour-long documentary. “Remembering Anthony Bourdain” aired on Friday night and again on Sunday. Here are a few of the reflections from CNN anchors:
“New Day” co-host John Berman: “For me, the word that best describes Tony is passion. He just felt so much passion for what he did and what he saw. I don’t think he ever had no opinion on something. It wasn’t like, ‘Meh, whatever.'”
“New Day” co-host Alisyn Camerota: “He was somebody who was actually introverted and just happened to have this very public job of being on television and being in the public eye.”
Cooper: “He was exactly as you see on television. You know, he was funny, he was sarcastic, he had a dark sense of humor.”
Anthony Bourdain speaking with Anderson Cooper.
“OutFront” anchor Erin Burnett: “You know, he just was a regular person, you know, in his regular jeans, in his regular shirt. He had no pretension, he had no interest in pretension, and it was one of the most compelling and endearing things about him.”
“At This Hour” anchor Kate Bolduan: “Whenever we’d tape” a segment, “I would always, like, yell back at him, ‘In my next life, I’m coming back as Anthony Bourdain!’ And he’d turn and look at me and be like, ‘OK, OK, good luck with that one.’ But I think that’s why — that is not unique to me, right? Everybody wanted to be a little bit of Anthony Bourdain. You know, over-liquored, overfed, traveling the world, having fun, connecting with people, and getting paid to do it.”
“The Lead” anchor Jake Tapper: “It was interesting, because he was such a dichotomy. He was, you know, this swash-buckling, larger-than-life character who was very good looking, and you know, women loved and men wanted to be. And yet he was always kind of — to me, it always seemed like — even though he was very confident or seemed very confident, he was always I think — he was always — just winking at it all.” He was “kind of all in on the joke, that it didn’t really mean anything, that we’re all humble, we’re all fragile.”
“Amanpour” host Christiane Amanpour: “I think the real thing to know about Tony Bourdain was that he was a deeply, deeply human being. He was a giant talent. He was a unique voice. But he was deeply human.”
“CNN Tonight” host Don Lemon: “He was a better journalist than many of us ever could be. Because it came to him naturally. It was just curiosity. And, isn’t that really what being a journalist is all about, being curious?”
“The Situation Room” anchor Wolf Blitzer: “I think Tony was trying to make the world a little bit more hospitable, a little bit more understanding, a little bit more friendly. He was trying to show, yes, we speak different languages, we come from different cultures, we have different religions, but we’re all people. And we have unique stories to tell, and he wanted to share those stories. In the process, he would make the world a little bit smaller, a little bit more personal. And I’m sure his hope was, maybe we can eliminate some of the abuses, the wars, the hatred.”
Tapper: “I know people loved him because of the food and drink, but there are also a lot of us who, like, that was almost beside the point. It really was just about him, and his way of looking at the world.”
Lemon: “His stories weren’t about food. Food was a conduit, it was a thing that drew you in. And once you were drawn in, it was about the experience, it was about the connection, it was about his interaction — his interactions with people.”
Bolduan: “One of his friends described him to me as a freak of nature, a force of nature, unexplainable. And the world is lucky to have had him.”
Cooper: “He was a modern day adventurer, and a unique — somebody with a unique voice, and there’s not a lot of people like that left in the world, to be honest.”
“Cuomo Prime Time” host Chris Cuomo: “He touched on the basic ingredients for all humanity, no matter where it exists, and that’s why no place was too remote, no people too obscure, no cuisine too exotic. He could make everything familiar. What a gift. What a blessing that was. The tragedy is that it wasn’t enough for Tony to know his own self-worth.”
“Newsroom” anchor Brooke Baldwin with Anthony Bourdain in April 2016.
“Newsroom” anchor Brooke Baldwin: “Tony Bourdain is the guy you just want to hang out with — like, through osmosis, you hope to learn a thing or two about life. Losing Tony was losing a member of your family. Our CNN family.”
CNNMoney (New York) First published June 11, 2018: 12:30 AM ET