Claire O'Connor

I am so sad to say my friend Claire O'Connor of almost 30 years, has died of cancer. This is such a huge loss to everyone that knew and loved her.

I've been wandering the streets of Hells Kitchen for a few hours now, crying and crying about what a wonderful person this world has lost and what a beautiful friend I have lost. I kept walking back and forth in front of her apartment on West 44th street, and I don't know why. Maybe it was to feel close to her, knowing that she has walked the same pavement for so many years, to know these were the doors she walked through millions of times, I don't know. I just know that in this world of such horrible people, Claire was a Saint. Claire cared about people and she loved and watched over her friends. She was also the most talented publicist and everyone in the media world adored Claire.

I could talk to Claire as a friend. She would give me advice or tell me what I could do to make my life better. When I had no photo jobs, she would have me hired for her clients, knowing how much I needed the business. At times, I knew she really didn't need a photographer, but she wanted me to make money. She watched out for me and she was a true friend.

She never told me how sick she was. I don't think she told anyone. Early this year, she announced to me that she wanted to quit smoking. She wanted those plastic cigarettes to help her, so I ran over and brought them to her. Claire knew I had everything to quit, the patch, plastic cigarettes and just about everything else. She knew I wanted to quit, but I was just not ready. She emptied her house of all her smokes and gave them to me. I was in shock when months later, she still had not had a smoke. I was proud of her, I wished I could be as strong.

A few months ago I kept trying and trying to reach Claire. I got no return calls and I was concerned. Finally she calls. She said she broke her arm, that she was OK and not to worry. She disappeared again. I left message after message and finally I get another call. She said she was fine, that she needed a operation on her arm and while she was there she had a back procedure. She sounded good. I called her again the next day and she sounded horrible. She said she was in such pain. I told her I was right down the block. I said I can bring you anything, soup, food, just name it. Claire said she had family there to help her. I told her how much I love and adored her and we ended the conservation as I could tell she was in so much pain.

The other day I called her home. Claire's sister Maureen answered and wanted to know who I was. I told her and she said she was trying to get Claire to go to the hospital and she did not want too. She asked for my number and I gave it to her. I just thought to myself, that there must be complications from the surgeries, I had no idea it was cancer.

Tonight I get a message from her husband, Rock Star Adam Bomb. He said Claire has passed away. I tried to reach him, but none of the phones are being answered. I can understand that. I called several friends of Claire's. Everyone is crying and everyone is in shock. No one knew what Claire was going through. She was a strong Irish woman. She always wanted to know how we were doing.

Most people who read Times Square Gossip, know that a few years ago I took in a homeless kid who has had a very abused life. Claire was at every one of his birthdays except for this year. She said she could not come because of her arm, but she sent over cards for me and the kid. Each card had cash in it. My card said worlds best dad.

Claire had a wonderful life and a wonderful family. Her husband Adam is a great guy and her two daughters are gems. Claire had it all. A great business and a great family. I always said to her, I don't know how you do it all. She was very proud of her kids. She was very proud of her family. She always told me. And I was very lucky to have a friend like Claire O'Connor. I was very proud of her. Rest in peace my friend!


The wake for Claire is this Monday August 1 at Frank E. Campbell Funeral Home (1076 Madison Avenue at 81 Street), from 2-5 PM and 7-9 PM. Her family is requesting flowers.

And her funeral will be on Tuesday August 2 at 10 AM at St. Thomas More (65 E. 89th Street).


Anonymous said…
I'm so so fucking sad. RIP Claire. The kindest most caring person I've ever met. I can't stop crying.
Linda said…
James, what a lovely testament to our sweet friend Claire. And you are right, she was the exception. Kind, nice, smart, funny. She is loved and remembered. I am so sorry and saddened...I loved Claire too.

Linda Shafran
Anonymous said…
I am so sad to hear of Claire's passing. She was an amazing woman, friend and mother. I am thinking of her girls at this time. May she rest in peace.
Anonymous said…
I can't imagine life without her... she changed so many of our lives in amazing ways! RIP Sydney
Anonymous said…
I knew Claire in the "olden days." I was 4 yrs older. She was always a nice girl. The last time I saw her was about 1990 or so, at a modeling agency Xmas party. I remember that, because my husband (who is now deceased) at the time had just moved to NYC from London, and I introduced them (he was a musician that she had known of, because his U.K. band was well known, but they'd never met before). When we bumped into eachother at the Xmas party, we hadn't seen eachother since maybe Max's Kansas City...Or at least not for several years... but she recognized me and came over to say hello, and was just as friendly and warm, as if we saw eachother the week prior. She was always so genuine, in a scene that had more than a few phonies. My condolences to her daughters, especially. If I could have gone in her place, I would have readily volunteered to do that.
Rest in Peace, Claire...And say "hi" to my husband, and to dearest Amy W., if you see them up there.
WIZARD of ROZ said…
I'm so sad, I wish I kept in touch with her. She'd given me my very first assistant job. She was very fun. She always told me how much she just wanted to be a mother. I don't know why I was so shocked by this at the time. I should've known how cool she was already. She helped me out when I needed it & unfortunately we lost touch since my life took a different turn. I hope she's at peace now & hope her family finds some peace now. I just wish I could've seen her again. I'll miss her. Thanks Claire for being so cool. xoxoxoxo
Anonymous said…
It's been almost a week since I heard the news of Claire's passing and I am still flooded with memories of her. I haven't seen Claire in a very long time, but for a part of our lives, before and during the Limelight years, she was my roomate and a very close friend. I was a bridesmaid at her wedding, but lost touch before she had her children. I am so sad for them ~ and all her family. My heart breaks when I think of the what she must have gone through. I am so sorry, my dear friend. I always thought I'd see you again ~ you are in my thoughts and in my heart....
Anonymous said…
I wasn't able to go to her wake or funeral. I wish you'd tell us about it, please?
April Sandmeyer said…
I miss her so much. I was wishing I could pick up the phone and talk to her today.God Bless you Claire.