Some people are surprised that Rupert Murdoch sat in secretly on Michael Gove’s interview with/colonoscopy of Donald Trump. But if you look closely at the photo at the end of The Shining, you’ll see Murdoch was sitting in at the Overlook Hotel’s July 4th Ball in 1921.
Earlier historical appearances of the News Corp boss include the anamorphic death’s head in Hans Holbein’s The Ambassadors, while Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights was essentially a game of Where’s Uncle Rupert? in the nursery of whichever inbred and porphyrically homicidal European royal house commissioned it.
Elsewhere, Murdoch’s wife’s ex depicted him in song decades before they even met. As Rupert whispered in Jerry Hall’s ear when he finally pulled on this thread and drew her into his orbit: “Please allow me to introduce myself … I’m a man of wealth and taste. I’ve been around for a long, long year; stole many a man’s soul and his faith.”
For all the finesse of Rupert’s surprise manifestations, though, perhaps his greatest trick has always been convincing people he didn’t need to appear. Having supported his bid for the Times and the Sunday Times in exchange for a cheerleader, Margaret Thatcher came to treat him as a Reagan-esque friend, inviting him several times to Chequers for family Christmas. Despite all this, would you believe that she never mentioned him once in her memoirs?