After Meat Loaf endorsed Mitt Romney last week, people wondered whether the New York Times would refer to the rocker as Mr. Loaf as, they claimed, the paper has done in the past.
Meat Loaf has made the same claim in interviews.
From the Las Vegas Mercury, July 24, 2003:
Mercury: Does anyone ever call you Mr. Loaf?
Meat Loaf: Have you ever heard of Clive Barnes? He was the premier theater critic for the New York Times. And the first year I did Shakespeare in the Park–it was with Raoul Julia, Marybeth Hurt, myself and another actress named Kathleen Widows–he wrote, “Mr. Julia, Ms. Hurt, Mr. Loaf and Ms. Widows.” That was when we performed As You Like It.
Here is that Barnes review from the June 29, 1973, Times; there’s no Mr. Loaf reference.
This comes from his CBS biography: “Meat Loaf went on to get his feet wet in Shakespeare when he appeared in a central part production of “As You Like It”. (It was this performance that led New York Times drama critic Clive Barnes, who was not impressed, to dub him “Mr. Loaf”).”
In a 2007 “Talk to the Newsroom” Q and A, Times standards editor Phil Corbett was asked about the “Mr. Loaf” reference. He said:
The notion that The Times referred to Meat Loaf as “Mr. Loaf” is more or less apocryphal. As my colleague Merrill Perlman explained when she took questions in this forum, our one use of “Mr. Loaf” was as a joke, in a headline for a review of a movie about him. The headline was, “Is He Called Just Plain Meat Or Should It Be Mr. Loaf?”
What about Michael Barbaro’s Times story last week about Meat Loaf’s Romney endorsement? The 65-year-old singer was referred to as Meat Loaf throughout; Mr. was never attached to his name.
UPDATE I: Greg Robb tweets: “but i think they might have called jamaican rapper shinehead, mr. shinehead.” You’re right. Here’s the 1988 story.
UPDATE II: It’s been pointed out that the Wall Street Journal has used Mr. Loaf. See the ninth paragraph of this story.
UPDATE III: The American-Statesman’s Ken Herman shares this: “Mitt, meet Meat. Meat, meet Mitt.”
UPDATE IV: Stacy Vogel Davis tweets: “I once heard NPR refer to 50 Cent as ‘Mr. Cent.'” Steve Inskeep did that in a 2007 piece.