Jeffrey Slonim didn’t shout. While the other red carpet reporters tried to get the attention of celebrities by yelling their names, he usually waited for them to come to him. And they usually did.

 

Although Mr. Slonim specialized in light journalistic fare, he took it seriously. He wrote out his questions in advance and avoided the clichéd “Who are you wearing?” As a result, the quotations he gleaned had some charm.

 

Kim Kardashian West marched straight to his side. Anne Hathaway greeted him with a kiss on the cheek. Gwyneth Paltrow and Melissa McCarthy breezed past the other quote-hungry reporters to speak into the recorder that seemed permanently attached to his hand.

 

“He was this little island of sanity at every red carpet,” said Andy Cohen, the Bravo talk show host and author. “When I read the news, I just thought, ‘Wow, how sad.’”

 

From the 1990s until it all came to a blunt and violent end on Oct. 13, Mr. Slonim, who died at age 56, was a steady and affable presence on the circuit, always neatly turned out and professional as he chronicled the endless balls and premieres. So when he jumped from the roof of a Lincoln Center building, it came as a shock to his relatives, friends and co-workers, not to mention the celebrities who considered him a gentleman among brutes.

 

“It still doesn’t register,” said Mr. Slonim’s brother, the artist Hunt Slonem (who spells the family name differently). “It’s like, How? What happened? It’s just so shocking.” He paused. “Anyway, he really made up his mind.”

 

Mr. Slonim’s writing for Allure was his main source of income from the mid-1990s until late 2015, when he lost his special correspondent position at the Condé Nast monthly. The change came as part of a cutback that followed the firing of the magazine’s founding editor, Linda Wells. A few months later, Lena Dunham stopped on the red carpet to tell Mr. Slonim she missed his page. He appreciated that. “What a doll,” he wrote on Facebook.

 

In the last year of his life, he was trying to piece together a living by turning out celeb-centric items for Gotham, Architectural Digest, Hamptons, the New York Post Page Six column and other outlets.

 

“I don’t want to say that’s what he lived for,” his wife, Fiona Moore, a school administrator, said, “but he really loved his work.”

 

Always on Deadline

 

He cut a stylish figure, never failing to dress for the occasions he covered, which meant crisp tuxes for galas and preppy seersucker suits for summertime Hamptons fetes. He wore his eyeglasses low on the bridge of his nose as he worked, and the J. Press scarf completed the look of someone who might have stepped out of a novel he loved, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Tender Is the Night.”

 

But the man who might have struck casual onlookers as just another partygoer would inevitably leave the night’s affair for his desk, where he stayed until his copy was ready to file.

 

“Hardest working man in the business,” said George Wayne, a veteran celebrity-and-fashion journalist. “The thing about Jeff is, unlike some of us — and I’m one of them — he didn’t want to be part of the story. He was always the humble, ink-stained wretch. He waited at the ropes with everybody else, in the herd. He didn’t mind that. He was so unaffected and so good at his job.”

 

On a typical day, after working the carpet and filing his items, he would get into bed with his wife at 5 a.m. in their railroad apartment on the Upper East Side and sleep until 7:30. “He wasn’t a great sleeper,” Ms. Moore said. After spending time with his two sons, he would take a nap — then it was back to the job.

 

“I just couldn’t believe the pace he kept,” his brother, Mr. Slonem, said. “He’d be up writing until 5, 6 in the morning. He seemed to have deadlines all the time. He’d always say, ‘I’m on deadline — I’ve got to have this done in two hours.’ For years this went on.”

 

To those who saw him only when he was in his element, Mr. Slonim seemed to lead a charmed life, unruffled in a milieu peopled with sometimes-sensitive celebrities and often-rude publicists.

 

He joined the media scrum at Interview magazine in 1984, when Andy Warhol was overseeing it, thanks, in part, to an introduction from his cousin, the writer Tama Janowitz. Mr. Slonim, a Yale graduate, class of 1982, took the job after an unhappy stint at IBM in Florida, where his habit of moonlighting as a cocktail pianist in a hotel bar suggested he was not cut out for corporate life.

 

He spoke French, Italian, Spanish and Swedish. As a young man he banged out short stories on a portable typewriter. Friends fondly recalled him as an expert orchestrator of parties who sometimes entertained guests with his renditions of Scott Joplin rags and Cole Porter standards.

 

What he did for a living gave him a front-row seat for the passing celebrity parade. He dined with Warhol at the Odeon. He stood nearby when Tommy Hilfiger got into a fistfight with Axl Rose in the V.I.P. area of the Chelsea club the Plumm. He saw Tom Cruise roar into a Vanity Fair Oscar party on a black Ducati motorcycle. When Prince held an impromptu, after-hours get-together at Lily Pond, a cozy East Hampton nightclub, Mr. Slonim stayed among the dozen or so select guests until 5 a.m.

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