Liz Smith: An Unusual “Mob” Scene for Lindsay Lohan

Lindsay Lohan is in talks to play Victoria Gotti

And more from our Liz: The National Review remembers La Liz … the new “red scare” — Louboutin vs. Yves St Laurent!

“IF YOU wish to succeed in life, make perseverance your bosom companion,” said the English essayist Joseph Addison.

* * *

WELL, just the other day Lindsay Lohan took her perseverance, her famous bosom and her constant companion, mama Dina Lohan, to a press conference to which the young star had not been invited.

Lohan has been negotiating to play Victoria Gotti in the coming John Travolta movie about the famous mobster. Lohan was an instantly recognizable platinum blonde dish, sitting in the first row. And pretty soon, she was cheerfully invited up onstage with Mr. Travolta, Victoria Gotti herself and Victoria’s son, John Gotti, Jr.

The producers say “nothing has been signed.” I say, the girl just put the project on the front pages of both New York tabloids. Something should be signed.

Legal issues still swirl around Lindsay, but she is clearly motivated to move beyond her own foolishness and get back in the movie biz, big-time. (Lohan is her own worst enemy, but then — aren’t we all?)

And just too bad if you don’t care for this story. Recently I was told — ordered, really — by one of my readers to cease and desist from writing anymore about Miss Lohan. “Stop degrading yourself and your readers!”

I don’t feel degraded writing about Lindsay. She is a very talented and much-beleaguered young woman.

(I’ve written about Snooki and felt just fine, thank you very much.)

* * *

I JUST love reading the conservative magazine called National Review. I seldom agree with any of its to-the-right opinions, but it is always food for thought and has some very good writers. Plus, just seeing it in the piles of mail brings to my mind its brilliant founder, the late William F. Buckley, Jr. He was my friend, named a Living Landmark of New York City back when he was still living and vital. I will always miss his quirky ways and his erudition.

In the April 18th issue of this publication, the editors let slip their reserved guard and moved into my territory – celebrity. Here’s their goodbye to my pal Elizabeth Taylor. I liked its style:

“The life of Elizabeth Taylor, in ascending order of importance: For the last few decades, she was the most modern of celebrities, the wreck of herself: tabloid fodder for illness, weight gain and her Madonna-and-child relationship with Michael Jackson. Her two causes were Israel (a liberal icon when she took it up, embattled now) and AIDS (a PR risk at first, later to become a religion); it is a tribute to her consistency that she stuck with both through their downs and ups. Her romantic life was a satire on romance. She could act, in several different styles; smoldering, comedy, and Albee. She was a phantom of delight. And: ‘Oh, those weepers, how they hypnotize.’ Dead at 79. R.I.P.”

Incidentally, the New York Observer has a fabulously interesting article this very week by Alexandra Peers. It examines Miss Taylor’s relationships with Sotheby’s and Christie’s auction houses, and how her incredible collection of jewelry and famous works of art will go on block in the near future from the Taylor estate – which is sometimes estimated to be near a billion dollars.

Christie’s, for instance, auctioned off the lush blue gown she wore to the 1969 Academy Awards for $150,000 — at that time, the second-highest price ever paid for a dress at auction. But that’s nothing compared to the fantastic jewelry she owned.

Speaking of William F. Buckley, Jr., I luckily snagged his famous son, the novelist Christopher Buckley, to come and speak on a panel come April 26 – along with the New York Times op ed columnist Gail Collins. These two mavens of New York will sit with me in a fundraiser for the Maria Droste Services, which offer affordable psychiatric counseling to those who can’t afford it.

Our little three-person panel will discuss “Resilience” and how to overcome disasters and setbacks. (Not that I know of our two well-known public persons ever having had any disasters and setbacks. But I feel I can guide them to discuss same!) My philanthropic friend, Miss Elizabeth Peabody, has helped set this event in motion. If you are inclined to participate, do call 212–889-4042.

Response to this event has been so overwhelming we have already had to enlarge its venue.

* * *

The Manhattan Federal Court will soon be looking down to compare the Christian Louboutin red-soled shoe with that of its rival, the Yves St. Laurent company.

Louboutin’s shiny red soles and heels are all the rage with everybody in entertainment who is anybody. I do mean Sarah Jessica Parker, Nicole Kidman, Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow. Why, I’ve even seen the great Meryl Streep sporting a pair.

It was in 1992 that Louboutin says he hit on the idea when he saw a studio assistant painting her nails with bright red polish. He applied some to the sole of a shoe and the rest was “rouge” history. Louboutin has fended off many cheap copiers, the same kind of pirates who put out fake Vuittton and Hermes bags. But this is the first time I can recall that two major fashion houses have clashed over a single separate idea.

Louboutin says he trademarked his red shoes and the idea is his! Hmmm. Well, Louis XIV, the Sun King at Versailles, had the heels of his shoes lacquered red and every courtier worth his lace raced to come to Court with red heels, then soles. Louis didn’t bother to punish anyone for imitating him. He knew it kept them present and accounted for and in debt – just trying to keep up with him.

27 comments so far.

  1. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    It’s your column. You can write about anyone you believe is worthy of the ink as we used to say.  And like it or not, Lindsay Lohan is here to stay. And worthy of the ink.

    And people had forgotten Elizabeth Taylor’s ”other cause” so I’m pleased National Review reminded everyone.  Her efforts on behalf of Israel went unnoticed in many ways but then she was on the Arab League’s “hit list” which is one of the reasons why early on she had bodyguards and why the Shah went ballistic when she became involved with Ardeshir Zahedi.  Her efforts never stopped. Even after the outrage over the Van Gogh. Many questioned her position with regard to its provenance.  But no one ever questioned her heart which was 100% Jewish. Which is why it was so giving. Many don’t like hearing that but my experience through the years has been that no heart is as giving as a Jewish heart.

    I doubt she was worth even half a billion dollars.  But then we haven’t had the auctions yet.  I agree with those that the prize will be the Krupp diamond. Just the “history” alone may be worth $50 million according to some. 

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Elizabeth’s fortune resides in her jewelry and art.  I doubt there was much ready cash.  Although the fragrances brought a yearly income. Even if she had lived another ten years, she would have been just fine—spectacularly fine, in comparison to most of the world. 

      But the $600 million/one billion figures are absurd.  Even at the end, she loved to spend on clothes, jewels, friends and family. 

      As for Miss Lohan, this is a much better career move than playing the late porn star Linda Lovelace.  I hope she gets the Gotti role, does well, and pulls herself together as much as a golden goose former child star can pull herself together.  She ain’t ever gonna be “normal.”

      • avatar Baby Snooks says:

        And don’t forget the doctor bills. Elizabeth Taylor found out like everyone else that Medicare doesn’t cover it all. And in some cases doesn’t cover any of it.

  2. avatar Barbara says:

    Too bad about Lohan. She was quite cute and a good young actress. She now looks older than her years (and not in a good way.) To me she is now just a bleached blonde floozy, wearing too tight, too low-cut, too short — too everything — clothes. If this is how she looks in her 20′s imagine her in her 40′s, if she makes it that far. Too bad she can’t give up her infatuation with celebrity, find a quiet place to examine her life and come up with something that is more satisfying for everyone. Right now she is an ongoing train wreck.

  3. avatar Maggie W says:

    Liz seems to be on the defensive today. To that I can say ,” Haven’t we all ?”.  But no, I have never been my own worst enemy.  Had some stumbles, sure, but can’t go there.

    Time and again we have heard of Miss Lohan’s talent and how she is going to reinvent herself and suddenly become a decent human and admirable actress with a promising future.

    When pigs fly.

  4. avatar Richard Bassett says:


    In terms of activism, Elizabeth first assisted with “AIDS Project Los Angeles (1984)”, “amfAR (1985)” “The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (1991)” and “Cinema Against AIDS (1993)” and they all became a juggernaut, running on their own stream. In 1973, she did form the lesser known “Elizabeth Taylor Israeli War Victims Fund, Inc” Undoubtedly, her AIDS advocate struggles were much more publicized than the war victim’s cause. There has been a variety of other organizations that she has donated to. Her work reflects a very dedicated soul. There are publications that rise above her personal life and concentrate on her philanthropic efforts. To me, that is a sign of complete respect. I agree with Baby. Her fortune seems to be nowhere near 600 million (never mind a billion). The diamond business lasted three years, and her only other income was perfume. She developed many types of fragrances, but only “Passion” (1987) and “White Diamonds” (1991) were exceptionally successful for her. She tried “Black Pearls” (1996)…with some ridiculous TV comedy series situations and her selling point for “Violet Eyes” (2010) is said to have been named by her Twitter fans. These lesser known fragrances never reached the popularity of the first two, nor did they receive an equal amount of publicity. She didn’t come from a lot of money, as an actress…she had to work (especially her years with Michael Wilding), Todd left her in great debt and she and Burton had to make films for living the luxurious life that they did. Forget the Warner years, as she had to sell her jewelry to fund his campaign and by 1985, she had no main source of income. AIDS didn’t make her millions, but those few brand perfumes did. She fought for her Van Gogh. No doubt she lived well, but a billion dollars? Where did it come from??? Now, everything is being liquidated.
    Lohan certainly warrants a paragraph or two. The ‘only’ news recently was the possibility of her accepting a film role. Come on, now…even with a never ending life of destruction, are people really SO against hearing news about her? I think not, and Liz Smith should never be bullied into ignoring the girl (or any editing). I always enjoy the quality of Liz’s work, no matter what the subject matter.

  5. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    Mike Todd may have left her in debt but Mike Todd also left her Todd-AO which contributed a nice little chunk of the millions she made from Cleopatra which allowed her to set up a trust for herself as well as her children. As for the Burton-Taylor diamond she didn’t sell it to pay off John Warner’s campaign debts. She sold it to ensure some additional income for herself.  Diamonds are nice. But they don’t produce income. And that wasn’t the only diamond she sold along the way. It was just the only she sold that everyone knew about. 

    Her commitment to Israel went far beyond the war fund she set up.  She was vilified in the Arab world so she was careful about lending both her name and her presence to many things simply because it was an invitation for a particular group or event to be targeted by terrorists. There wasn’t a lot of “anonymous giving” on her part. Except for Israel.

    Her position on the Van Gogh was that its provenance was “clear” at the time she bought it and the family that laid claim to it should have challenged the provenance long before she bought it. The position of the family was that they would have had they known about it at the time. She was not the only one who had bought a painting that didn’t have a “clear” provenance but the courts seem to have consistently ruled that in order to get the painting back you must prove the buyer knew the provenance was not clear” even if the auction house knew it wasn’t.  It was an unfortunate and unpleasant situation for her but I have never believed she knew about the provenance when she bought it. She was probably horrified but also didn’t expect to be sued and then vilified over it. Which she was. 

  6. avatar Count Snarkula says:

    I hope things work out for Lindsey Lohan. I mean, look at all she has to deal with. Horrible parents perhaps being the worst. And I wonder if there is not a double standard in Los Angeles. Judges are constantly trying to throw her in jail, yet Charlie Sheen dances around totally free? I realize that she brings some of the bad publicity on herself. She really ought to stay out of nightclubs for awhile. But really, let’s not vilify the girl. She has the right to try and work at her trade. We all do.

    • avatar Baby Snooks says:

      Eventuallly Charlie Sheen will find himself in front of a female judge who doesn’t believe in the “boys will be boys” defense and send him straight to jail. Which is where he and quite a few others should have been sent to begin with. The “boys will be boys” is the double-standard but it is applied acorss the board all over the country. Not just in LaLaLand.

      But in LaLaLand this “I have a litte problem” defense seems to work magic for the celebrities. Second chances are fine I suppose but some of these “poor babies” are on their twenty-second chance. Enough already.  Their celebrity seems to be hinged on their latest court appearance on the latest charge. That is worthy of ink I suppose. But little else.

  7. avatar Mr. Wow says:

    Dear Count S…you are a compassionate human. 
     
    We are all just getting along here in what is laughingly known as Life.

  8. avatar D C says:

    What is so offensive to me about LiLo is that she has made such an ass of herself when she had so much compared to the vast majority of people.  She offends me.  Sure her parents are to shoulder some of the blame, but lots of people have lousy parents and do just fine.  And when the screw up, they pay for it.  Lindsay has never had to pay for it.  The cameras snap and she shows them more cleavage and hikes up her skirt.  If, and that’s a really big If… I’m talking 72 point font, she gets this Gotti job and does well and turns her life around, that will be great.  But if she continues to screw up, I don’t really give a good damn how “talented” she is, continuing to cover her only serves to contribute to the delinquency of minors.  Just like all those stupid “reality” shows… kids see it and think that’s the way you’re supposed to act.  Lindsey is contributing to the Idiocracy of the world.  Personally, I think it would do her and the rest of us a lot of good if she’d just get locked up in a jail cell for a few months.  She obviously needs to clear her head and readjust priorities. 

  9. avatar Rho says:

    I am not thinking anything else, but the movie of Gotti is going to be filmed here where I live.  It’s going to be a mad house.  :)

    • avatar Count Snarkula says:

      I HOPE you will report!

    • avatar Baby Snooks says:

      Somehow the thought of a film about the Gottis just doesn’t do it for me. Their storyline seems to be that even in prison, crime pays. And I had my fill of that with all the Enron crowd that was never even charged but should have been.

  10. avatar rick gould says:

    Funny, looking at Victoria Gotti makes me think of DINA Lohan, not Lindsay ;)

    I have a certain amount of empathy for Lohan, but the repeat cycle of her self-induced troubles makes her seem like a real-life version of Neely O’Hara…

    The size of Elizabeth Taylor’s estate doesn’t especially interest me, but I admire the fact that she not only made money, but enjoyed spending it and spreading the wealth to family, friends and causes she believed in.

    I’m sure the jewels will rake in a ton with the cache of ET’s name and legend. And will the Taylor estate get down to the nitty gritty and sell personal mementos like the Marilyn Monroe estate?…Curious about that.

    • avatar Baby Snooks says:

      I suspect Elizabeth Taylor Inc was indeed shut down and the only “licensing” of the “image” will be through the perfumes. I don’t think the family needs the money so badly that they need to plaster her all over coffee cups and tote bags. Somehow I suspect she in fact she ordered the trustees of her trust which I suspect will become a “family trust” to dissolve their trusts and disinherit them if they do. She got a little fuzzy around the edges towards the end but still maintained a sense of class despite it all.

      The auctions will be the event of the century. Among other things her costumes from her films. I suspect the costumes from Cleopatra will pull in some big bucks. I suspect as well that most if not all of it will be out of most of opur price ranges as they say.  Definitely will be out of mine. But if there is a generous soul about and three little Lalique fishes pop up, I think I sent her the pink one, turquoise one, and the lavender one.  Baby Snooks will love you forever if you buy them back for me.  I might even tell you the story behind  them. If you sign a confidentiality agreement. Not to ever tell the story to anyone else. And not to tell anyone who Baby Snooks is.

      • avatar Richard Bassett says:

        Coffee cups and tote bags!!! LOL LOL LOL

      • avatar Count Snarkula says:

        If they come up I will buy them. I have a little left from what I lost with Enron and the last stock market crash. I will sign the agreement and give you something even more iron clad: My word as a gentleman. Let’s hope they pop up!!!

      • avatar Baby Snooks says:

        I need to set up “alerts” so I don’t miss things. I had wanted to do a benefit here in the 80s to set up an AIDS research/treatment facility and might have  had I not collided with amfAR whom the secretary directed me to which apparently didn’t catch the “_____ has agreed to work with me” or didn’t know that “________” was a very successful event planner whose events always raised at least a million dollars which was a lot in the 80s. Oh, well. Not realzing the disaster it was going to become, and that story is not for public consumption,  I did a little planning anyway. The little “gift bags” had become popular a these events.  I had been in Needless-Markup and noticed the little fishes. I thought they would be nice for the “gift bag.” So I bought six. And sent her three. Mine were stolen years later. I suspect the ones I sent her were probably given away at some point or stolen as well. But, well, if not I would like to have them.  Last time I checked on e-bay they were about $200 a piece so I doubt they will end up at Christie’s. Maybe Butterfield’s.  Butterfields is about to auction notes from her and to her if I read it correctly from the estate of a collector. Where do people get these notes? I’ve always thought that was tacky. I’ve only saved four. They are on my wall.  One is from Leona Helmsley the day before she left for prison. All four might be worth something. I would never sell them. Why would anyone want them on their wall anyway? The notes weren’t sent to them. But, well, some do apparently. I had someone offer me a nice sum for a handwritten note from George HW Bush from Walker’s Point. It horrified me. If I were famous I would have a little “copyright” on the bottom of the stationery. “May not be reproduced or sold without permission of the author.”  Same with photos. I lost most of mine during a move.  An idiot maid who was supposed to take the assorted “junked” things down to the alley  for pickup didn’t understand “do not touch the boxes on the shelves in the closets in the bedrooms.” By the time I got back they were on their way to the dump. The memories I didn’t lose. So as time went by it hasn’t bothered me so much.  I don’t have any money at this point and probably never will again but the memories are memories money couldn’t have bought to begin with.

        Enron. Don’t get me started. I of course was very pompous about people who had bought stock in Enron. And then bought stock in MCI.  The cosmos always gets us in the end when we get pompous. 

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear Rick…no.  None of the worthless brick a brack and rags (except for the Kennedy dress) that was the MM auction.  Monroe had no jewels, no fine art.  Her library was the most truly interesting aspect of her estate.

      Taylor clothes, I suspect, have been kept pristine.  Even the crappy jewelry is real and worth something because she wore it.    But she lived too long and aged to drastically to become a pop culture idol after death.  It’s not an impossible idea to market certain aspects of her image, but the team will have to be brilliant.  And realistic.

      • avatar Baby Snooks says:

        As I said I doubt there will be no coffee mugs or tote bags. The gowns and costumes from the films will probably end up at Christies. The clothes? Probably what the daughters and granddaughters don’t want will end up donated.  She wasn’t into Chanel so to speak.  

        The biggie will be the Krupp diamond and of course the art.  There was a lot more art on the walls than just the Van Gogh and the Warhol. My money’s on the Krupp diamond becoming the Krupp-Taylor diamond and setting a record. It is what you call an “important” diamond because of the “history.”  Had anyone other than Elizabeth Taylor bought the crown jewel of Vera Krupp’s collection, it might not have become “important.” 

        I think what I posted elsewhere is what is already happening. The schadenfreude is over. She is being placed back on the pedestal alongside some of our other icons.

  11. avatar janie k says:

    Talent doesn’t excuse everything. And I would hardly describe LL as “beleaguered” since she seems to court publicity and trouble for herself. She has squandered her chances and no, I don’t have much sympathy for her.

  12. avatar Pietro Allar says:

    Well, that was me giving it to Liz for the LL moments. But if anyone can help this girl get back on track, it would be Liz, & her comments about getting that Gotti movie, as awful as it sounds, on the front page of the tabloids is so true. LL is a star. Like Betty White, I just wish she’d grow up already & realize her talent instead of throwing it away for nightclubs, booze & shady hangers-on. Sorry, Liz, for being so curt. I am passionate, too, just not about any of the Lohans.

    • avatar Richard Bassett says:


      At age 25, do you really think that LL will never go to another nightclub (a place most frequented by those her age, especially in LA) again, til the end of time or suffer from a relapse (now matter what the severity) again til the end of time? Not very likely but not punishable by being stoned. Rich or poor, people are people. And to achieve a life in recovery (if that is what she wants), it will take chance after chance after chance…etc…

      • avatar Pietro Allar says:

        Richard, you are right in many ways BUT if you’re going to stay sober, nightclubbing is not the way to do it. However, as I said, I don;t really care. Seems to me the only “good” movies this one has made were when she was a kid, and they’re not so hot to begin with. Talented, yes, but so are many, many others who go to work every day, are respectful, and still get no press. I would, though, love to see her clean herself up & resurrect her career & win that Oscar. But of course I am still hoping for Madonna to do that, too! Not clean herself up, I think she’s pretty clean, but win an Oscar. I think she could do it! And news of Liza maybe doing Sunset movie is fabulous. Another one who rises time and time again. Oh, what a train of thought this am. Ciao!