In his job as a booker over the years for Fox News Channel, CNN, MSNBC and most recently Fox Business Network, Eric Spinato rubbed elbows on a continual basis with the rich and famous — and, the infamous — as he helped book guests for daily broadcasts. But, his brother Dean Spinato said, throughout it all Eric was never star struck, maybe the biggest reason he made it all work.
"His goal," Dean Spinato said, "was just to be the best at what he did. The best word for my brother is 'humble.' He mingled with celebrities, the rich and famous, the Trumps, everybody. But when he went to the White House instead of saying he'd been at the White House with the president he was like, 'Yeah, I had to work this weekend.' That was it. 'I had to work.' "
Eric Spinato died Sunday at his home in Levittown.
He was 52.
His brother Dean said doctors believed the death was due to COVID-19, with Eric becoming ill from the coronavirus following a recent trip to Florida.
"He came home, said he had some headaches, then tested positive for COVID," Dean Spinato, of Hicksville, said Friday. "He called me every day, said he was having trouble, coughing nonstop, that it hurt. I went and got him food, but he couldn't taste it, couldn't smell … Then Saturday he went to bed and he just never woke up. He died in seven days."
Eric Spinato was born March 26, 1968, in Riverdale, the Bronx. He would've been 53 on Friday. He grew up in Commack, graduated Commack South High School, then graduated from New York University.
Dean Spinato said his brother "pretty much knew what he wanted to do in high school and that was to be in communications" — and that never changed.
He said his brother worked early on with News 12 Long Island. Later, according to a statement released this week by Fox, Spinato joined the Fox Files team in 1998, going on to become a senior producer / head booker for the Fox News Channel before leaving in 2004 for CNN and later MSNBC then returning to Fox in 2007, where he helped launch the Fox Business Network.
Most recently, he was senior head booker and story editor.
In an internal memo to the Fox News staff, Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott, Fox News president Jay Wallace and Fox Business Network president Lauren Petterson wrote: "Eric was an immensely gifted and aggressive booker and was renown for booking the innumerable 'gets' we've seen on both FNC and FBN over the years. He was also always willing to lend a hand to help a colleague, mentor junior staffers or troubleshoot an issue — countless bookers throughout the industry learned the ropes and the tools of the trade from Eric at one point or another in their careers … His excitement, positivity and energetic team spirit were one of a kind and will be greatly missed."
Dean Spinato called his brother "a father figure" to him, noting they lost their father, Robert, to a heart attack when they were 18 and 16 — and their dad was just 46. Sadly, Dean Spinato said, his brother was most worried about that with his own sons, Robert and Nicholas, who are now 18 and 16.
Among survivors are Eric and Dean's mom, Inez Spinato, and Eric's girlfriend, Fanny Forero. The wake was at Commack Abbey on Thursday and Friday with burial on Saturday at Pinelawn Memorial Park in Farmingdale.