After over three decades at The Post and a 55-year-long career, right-wing "populist" reporter Steve Dunleavy bowed out today, explaining to readers that "when the bones get a bit creaky, you can't stay at the dance too long...I never spent a single hour at Columbia School of Journalism, except when I gave a lecture to journalism students - and I was about as popular as a fire hydrant at the Westchester dog show...Oh, yeah, I will miss those great cops and firefighters, the nutty judges and politicians and the criminal lawyers who were more colorful than an explosion in a paint factory." Here's video of Dunleavy telling the famous story of slashing his dad's tires to get a scoop.

In 1977, Dunleavy's reporting on the Son of Sam serial killings boosted his career and The Post's circulation; his creatively aggressive coverage included one instance of sneaking into a hospital disguised in hospital scrubs in order to interview a victim’s family. Dunleavy even out-scooped Jimmy Breslin at the Daily News, who tells the Times, “Steve is one of the three people in America who loves Rupert Murdoch. In a time of listless reporting, he climbed stairs. And he wrote simple declarative sentences that people could read, as opposed to these 52-word gems that moan, ‘I went to college! I went to graduate school college! Where do I put the period?’ ”

In the same long Times profile, the 70-year-old Dunleavy says it will be "frustrating not doing what I love best, and serving, I know it sounds corny, the one who I admire the most. Murdoch. The boss.” At a boozy bon voyage party for Dunleavy on Wednesday night, Murdoch told his loyal employee: "You were not always the most reliable person. I once wrote you a check for $30,000 as a surprise bonus. You were so surprised you spent the whole night in Costello's. The next morning you had to come to me to confess that you'd lost the check. So I wrote a second check. But I didn't give it to you. I gave it to Gloria, who used it to make a down payment on your house, the one you are still living in."