Liz Smith: Gossips “Hunger” For a Tasty Triangle — Jennifer Lawrence, Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth?
“BEING ALIVE. Those words indicate the most youthful state of mind a person can have. But paradoxically, after we lost the ability to be vividly, unreservedly alive (which small children have), it takes getting older to regain that capacity.”
That’s Dominique Browning, writing about “Why I Like Getting Older” in the April issue of Harper’s Bazaar. Ms. Browning’s motto for maturity is “Go where the love is.”
Somebody said this to her years ago, when she was in career crisis, and the advice stuck. Dominique adds that the person who gave her advice might actually have said, “Go where the work is. But that’s not what I heard.”
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“THE HUNGER GAMES” hysteria was expected to peak over the weekend, wiping out all competition at the box office and securing steady work for everybody who survived the “games” in the first movie. Prior to the weekend opening, “The Hunger Games” was much discussed by all the cable news stations. Was it too intense? Too violent? Was it suitable for children? Was the female lead, played by Jennifer Lawrence, the new heroine for young women? Would archery make a comeback? (Miss Lawrence’s character is a whiz with the bow and arrow.)
Conclusions were mixed. Many knew of the Suzanne Collins trilogy upon which the film is based — because their tweens or teens had read them. Some thought the violence was too graphic; others felt it suited a visualization of the story and made a point about survival and choices, good and bad. Almost everybody agreed parents should accompany their children to the movie, and discuss before and after. All very nice. But the bottom line is “The Hunger Games” was expected to be a “behemoth” at the box office and shatter every existing opening weekend record. The Loews movie house on 34th street in New York City scheduled 14 — count ‘em — 14 showtimes for the movie.
The discussions in Hollywood today are being conducted over bottles of Cristal and plenty of backslapping. The kids are alright, they figure.
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P.S. And, but of course, now that the phenomenon is beginning, the rumor mill grinds with new determination. “Hunger” hunk Liam Hemsworth has been dating Miley Cyrus for about three years. But Miley — according to “inside sources” — is suddenly all “jealous” of Jennifer Lawrence, refers to her as “Angelina” and is so “desperate” to hang onto Mr. Hemsworth that she is hinting she might want to begin knitting tiny booties, the better to cement the relationship and keep Jennifer at bay.
In a recent interview, Miss Lawrence said she was enjoying what she considered to be her “last moments of freedom” — going out shopping anonymously, in sloppy clothes, unbothered by paparazzi, etc. She said she had a feeling nothing would ever be the same after “The Hunger Games” was released. How right you were, my dear.
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LAST MONTH, Lily Tomlin showed up to host the premiere of the Dori Berinstein documentary, “Carol Channing: Larger Than Life,” at the Paley Center in Beverly Hills.
Last week, Carol returned the favor and attended Lily Tomlin’s event — receiving her star on the Palm Springs Walk of Fame. Carol said: “I was thrilled for Lily. She is such a great artist. I just love her and Jane Wagner.” Ms. Wagner, Lily’s longtime partner/writer, also received a star. The ladies join such legends as Frank Sinatra, Cary Grant, Sammy Davis Jr., Dinah Shore, Kitty Carlisle, Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe and … Albert Einstein. (Einstein was one of Miss Monroe’s idols. The great scientist and the sex-symbol were rumored to have even met at some point. I hope their stars are close together.)
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I HOPED in vain that when the final results came regarding the tragic death of Whitney Houston, it would be found that she’d died of a simple heart attack. But, that was not to be. Drugs — cocaine specifically — were involved. Though her heart itself appeared to have been damaged by years of abuse.
There are a lot of fingers being pointed, and some people close to Whitney are being referred to as “enablers.” Yes and no. Try stopping an addicted adult who is also a privileged person, a star, from over-indulging. It is next to impossible. (Try stopping a normal person!)
Whitney — like Judy and Marilyn and Michael Jackson and Jimi Hendrix and Janis and Jim Morrison and John Belushi and Heath Ledger, etc. — was a grownup who made her choices, ignored good advice when it was offered, and (as with Monroe, Garland and Mr. Jackson) played the victim card to the hilt.
We are left with Miss Houston’s magnificent voice, a few excellent movie performances and a lot of “what-ifs.” The blame game is pointless. Enabling goes both ways.
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SCARY: Kim Kardashian says of her family: “We are exactly who we are whether the cameras are on or off.” But who are you all, exactly? On second thought — don’t tell me.
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ENDQUOTE: While going through stacks of old magazine articles I’d written — putting together things to send to the University of Texas — I came across an article I did in 1989 for a now defunct magazine, Special Report. I wrote of the particular stress placed on female stars, and specifically of three supernovas — Cher, Madonna and Elizabeth Taylor.
Madonna and Cher are still very much with us. But last Friday marked the one year anniversary of Miss Taylor’s death. I still find it hard to accept a celebrity world without La Liz.
In summing up Elizabeth, I wrote: “Taylor no longer has to do anything to maintain her status. She is Fame. Period.” True then. True now.