And more from our Gossip Girl: the Natalie Wood “investigation” — where will it lead? … Demi and Ashton split — big shock? … Lesley Stahl with Taylor Swift … and the surprising life of wild turkeys
“DORIS DAY’S career — her ‘image’ — if you will — has been one of the most grievously misinterpreted in Hollywood history. Miss Day, at her peak, was certainly a female role model with more independent grit and genuine feminist virtues than she is ever given credit for.”
That’s how some writer named Liz Smith opens a big article in the current issue of Q magazine, saluting the great actress, singer and star, Doris Day.
Those of you who know Miss Day’s movies can make up your own minds if I’ve done the lady justice. I tried to point out that her screen career was far from the inaccurate caricature that evolved after “Pillow Talk” — that of the “eternal virgin.” Doris onscreen was sexy, independent, hard-working, nobody’s fool and very much interested in men. (Did you know that Doris was the first woman onscreen to pilot an out-of-control aircraft to safety, in the thriller “Julie?”)
But my words aside, Q has put together a smashing photo layout. Page after page of DD in all her various modes — from super-wholesome to ultra-glam. The team at Q, starting with editors Chris and Elizabeth Meigher, sure know how to pay homage to the screen’s great ladies. (If you’d like to order a copy of this lush magazine tribute to Doris, visit questmag.com or call 646-840-3404 ext 101.)
I intend to send a copy of this issue to Oscar producer Brian Grazer. When, oh when will Doris receive her long-overdue honorary Academy Award?
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HOLLYWOOD is not exactly reeling in shock over the Demi Moore/Ashton Kutcher split. This May-December couple dated for two years, were married for six. Not bad for a union that everybody said was “doomed before they even take the vow.” After all, that’s what they all said about Demi and Bruce Willis, but that marriage hung on for 11 years and three children. Apparently Demi tries pretty hard to keep things going. Even Demi’s first marriage to a guy named Freddy Moore ran a respectable five years. She’s not a 72-day kind of woman.
All the speculation on Demi and Ashton’s “open marriage” is amazing to me. Not that it might not have been true, but that people who have no real knowledge, just go on TV to speak of it, or write online about it, and I doubt their intimate expertise.
I did find it significant that Demi “released a statement” just like stars did in the good old days. Ashton tweeted.
And I love that Kutcher is now being described as “falling.” Just a couple of weeks ago, before his issues with Demi and that mistaken tweet regarding the Penn State sex-scandal, he was all the rage, on the rise.
As Elizabeth Taylor famously remarked: “Fame — it’s like a yo-yo. They build you up, and then they love to tear you down.” But Kutcher shouldn’t worry. Elizabeth also said, “Success is the best deodorant.” (When Elizabeth repeated this remark during a TV interview with Barbara Walters, ET’s then-hubby John Warner uttered a grumble of displeasure. “Sorry, John, it’s true. Success takes away all the bad smells,” said the all-knowing Elizabeth.)
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HOLLYWOOD is reeling a bit over the odd news that after thirty years, Natalie Wood’s drowning death is being looked into again.
There was certainly plenty to gossip about when the terrible event happened on Thanksgiving weekend, 1981. The beautiful star was found drowned off Catalina Island, after a night of high tension and wine with her “Brainstorm” co-star Christopher Walken, her husband Robert Wagner and Dennis Davern, the captain of Wagner’s boat, The Splendor. But that was way back before 24-hour cable news and gossip websites digging up every scrap of information, day after day. The “scandal” over Wood’s shocking death was over in a week.
Natalie’s death was a truly horrible accident — or perhaps more correctly, a horrible “incident” — and nothing will be served by a new investigation. I bet this will go the way of the highly publicized 1984 “investigation” into Marilyn Monroe’s death. That is, nothing will come of it except another book. And another TV movie.
Natalie’s daughters Courtney and Natasha suffered a great deal in the years after their mother’s death. Just let this one alone, I say.
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FOR ALL the coarse, ubiquitous horrors of reality TV, there is still plenty to watch that doesn’t kill brain cells within seconds of switching it on.
For instance, I was charmed by Lesley Stahl’s wonderful “60 Minutes” profile and interview with singer Taylor Swift. I didn’t know all that much about her. I knew she was hugely popular, still very young, had been insulted onstage by Kanye West when she won an award he didn’t think she deserved. (This bit of business made her famous to people who’d never heard her sing, like me.) But I had no idea how delightful Taylor is, or how ambitious — going around Nashville at age 14, dropping off her resume everywhere, and introducing herself with confidence. In these days of “stars” who do nothing but exploit their sleazy “private” lives, I cheer for somebody who actually worked for and deserves success. Now, I might even buy a Taylor Swift CD.
And then, just by chance I came across a PBS program titled “My Life as a Turkey.” This is about a man who “adopts” a batch of wild turkey eggs, incubates them, and becomes their “mother.” He then spends 18 months raising them, and essentially living as a turkey himself. I know — it sounds odd. But this was one of the most touching programs I have ever seen, exquisitely photographed and filled with remarkable insights from Joe Hutton — the turkey “mom” — as to what these remarkably charming, intelligent creatures taught him about life.
I won’t spoil anything, but if you can see it, be prepared to be unexpectedly moved. Especially by Joe’s favorite turkey, “Sweet Pea.”