What Roadrunner Revealed About Anthony Bourdain As A Father

As far as his fans were concerned, Anthony Bourdain was a WSYWIG (what you see is what you get) kind of celebrity. We knew him as someone who enjoyed travel, explored new places, learned about new things, and documented his experiences for us to live vicariously through the magic of television. But in the documentary "Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain," we discover, like many things, that much of what we saw was only half the story. As his friend Doug Quint told audiences: "His daughter used to do this joke where she'd get up and say 'I'm Anthony Bourdain, you may know me from such TV shows as ...'  She knew that her father and Anthony Bourdain were very separate entities."

There are clips of Bourdain horsing around with his daughter Ariane in a swimming pool, in the back end of an ice cream truck, and at home — all scenes we as viewers were never likely to catch in any of his three shows "A Cook's Tour," "No Reservations," and "Parts Unknown," because Bourdain kept his private life private (via Today).

Filmmaker Morgan Neville said Bourdain: "loved being a father so much. When he was home and with his family, he was there 100%, and he loved devoting everything he could." At the same time, Neville told Today that Bourdain must have felt that his work kept him from being the father he wanted to be.

Anthony Bourdain loved being a father

Neville told Today that he felt Bourdain had set high expectations for himself and that he had fallen short of attaining his goal: "He travels 250 days a year and I think there was something about that, that made him feel like he couldn't be the dad that he expected was the perfect, you know, the romantic ideal of a dad, which is what Tony was always wanting everything to be. And I think when he couldn't do that, that was something that just really ate at him in a major way."

In "Roadrunner," we hear Bourdain saying: "I do a lot of really cool s*** now, I travel all over the world, I see all these amazing things, but I'm never happier than when I'm standing in the backyard being like TV dad, because I feel normal... whatever the hell that means."

Bourdain became a father much later than most — but he said it made him more aware of what he needed to do to get it right. As he told The Guardian in 2013, "I was 50 when I became a father of a little girl. I was finally old enough to be qualified for the job. Ariane has me wrapped around her finger. All I can realistically hope for is that she feels loved. That she has high self-esteem. And good martial-arts skills."