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Harvey Levin: TMZ reported that Nancy Reagan died before her own daughter found out

Patti Davis wanted answers.

Asa Mathat

More than anything, TMZ is known for breaking news stories before anyone else does.

In fact, founder Harvey Levin told the crowd Wednesday at the Code Conference, when TMZ reported that former First Lady Nancy Reagan had died in early March, the tabloid broke the story before Reagan's own daughter even found out.

"I was at the gym on Sunday, and Patti Davis, [Reagan's] daughter came up to me and asked 'How did you get this before I found out?'" Levin recounted. "We got a tip, and it happens to be someone I know, and we started making calls."

According to Levin, that wasn't sufficient explanation for Davis.

"She said, 'What did you do?'" Levin added. "It's like, Patti, do you think I paid [Reagan family confidante] Betsy Bloomingdale? We just made a bunch of phone calls and eventually found confirmation."

And when TMZ breaks such stories, is Levin ever worried that people will just circulate the news without going to the source?


He said that when TMZ recently broke the story of Prince's death, the news helped set a traffic record of 18 million unique visitors for the site.

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