Orlando Magazine ‘Duped,’ Publishes Artist’s Fake Biography as Fact
By: Warner Todd Huston
Orlando Magazine (FL) published the amazing life’s story of Florida artist Mark Pulliam in their August issue. It was an amazing story of a man who seemingly did everything. Played Major League Baseball, hobnobbed with the likes of Paul McCartney, Madonna, and Tiger Woods as well as finding great success as a local artist. Oh, it seemed a whirlwind life. One little problem. Little of it was true and Orlando editor Mike Boslet want you to know he’s sorry.
Unfortunately for Orlando Magazine, they simply took Mark Pulliam’s word for it all, ran with the story, and were informed by readers that many of the details didn’t seem to pan out. So, on second look, the editors of Orlando sent an investigator to track down the various factoids that Pulliam told them about his personal history. It turned out little of what Pulliam claimed was true.
After the story was published, a reader alerted us that he believed Mark Pulliam, 48, hadnâ€™t played Major League Baseball. A baseball encyclopedia did not list Pulliamâ€™s name, this reader wrote in an e-mail to me. I immediately called the Yankees and the colleges Pulliam claimed to have attended as a student athlete.
From there many aspects of the life that Pulliam claimed was his began to prove to be the life story of a man Pulliam went to high school with. Pulliam had simply stolen the details of high school pal Larry Mikesell’s life and told the magazine writer that all were his. Unbeknownst to Orlando Magazine AND pal Mikesell, Pulliam had been peddling this tall tale for several years.
Some of the things that Orlando Magazine found out to contradict the story that Pulliam told them are as follows:
- Pulliam never played for the Yankees, said team spokesman Michael Margolis. Pulliam had said the team drafted him out of the University of Florida, a claim Margolis also denied.
- Team owner George Steinbrenner did not commission a Pulliam painting of Yankee Stadium, said Margolis. Shown a photo of the painting via e-mail, Margolis said it had never hung in the Yankeesâ€™ front offices, as Pulliam claimed.
- Pulliam didnâ€™t play ball at the University of Florida, said John Hines, assistant director of communications at UF.
- UF has no record of Pulliam being enrolled there, according to Ron Wayne, a school spokesman. Pulliam had claimed that he returned to the school and earned a bachelor of fine arts degree after suffering a career-ending injury with the Yankees.
- Pulliam did attend Brevard Community College from 1977 to mid-1981, said Kate Brennan, a spokeswoman for the school. BCCâ€™s athletic director, Jamie Howell, said he could not confirm that Pulliam had played on the schoolâ€™s baseball team.
Oh, there was more, but this suffices to show how much BS Pulliam shoveled into the willing notebook of the Orlando reporter who wrote the story.
Of course, it’s a good thing that Orlando Magazine has come out in a forthright manner to say that they were “duped” by Pulliam’s fantastical tales about his supposed life. We applaud the magazine for doing so. But, it also deserve a drubbing for its complete lack of fact checking information that is easily discovered — especially considering the zeal with which Baseball records are kept.
This is the sort of failure of due diligence that makes one doubt every media outlet out there. How often does this happen, one wonders?
In any case, the egg on Orlando Magazine’s face makes for an interesting, if not cautionary, tale. As New York Magazine quips, perhaps Orlando Magazine is next preparing a cover story on famous Mets pitcher Sidd Finch?
Go HERE to see some of Pulliam’s paintings.