And more from our Liz: Jackie Bisset’s lifetime achievement in Transylvania … Bette Midler’s bad back opens the door for Helen Mirren … remembering Lana Turner on the witness stand .. and Emma Watson, scared of Los Angeles (no Botox, please!)
“I’M a selfish man. You can’t be faulted for being selfish if you’re going to get better because of it. I make sure that I take good care of me.”
That’s Jerry Lewis in the August issue of GQ — you can’t miss it, what with the delicious Mila Kunis on the cover. It is called the Comedy Issue, although a good deal of writer Robert Maxwell’s excellent profile of Jerry isn’t slap-your-sides hilarious. Lewis is a complex person, but at age 85, he has mellowed somewhat and he is fascinating in his reminiscences, toughness and sentimentality.
Here’s one Lewis tale for lovers of history, scandal, and sex-with-the-famous. Jerry insists that Marilyn Monroe never ever had that fabled affair with President John F. Kennedy. He is adamant. Lewis says she didn’t do it with JFK because … she did it with him, Jerry. He doesn’t quite explain the logic of what could have stopped MM from, you, know, making love to the president and to him as well? (Did Jerry think he’d spoiled her for all other men?)
Lewis also declares that the greatest sex-symbol used sex “to make an emotional connection.” It was more than just sex for her.
However, when asked by GQ’s writer “what was it like?” with Monroe, Jerry says: “It was … long. I was crippled for a month. And here I thought Marlene Dietrich was great!”
No, no…don’t laugh. Jerry’s affair with Dietrich is a fact. We might not remember it now, but back in the day —under all the slapstick and “Hey, lady!”stuff — Jerry was a very appealing young man. (And, hey, lady — Dietrich also had an affair with Eddie Fisher. And Sinatra. She liked ‘em skinny.)
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THIS MUST mean something. The divine beauty Jackie Bisset recently accepted a Lifetime Achievement Award from those big-time cinema fans in … Transylvania. I kid you not.
Miss Bisset arrived in the land of mythological vampires looking lovely. Lovely, enough, in fact to arouse conjecture that perhaps she knew more than she let on about the age-defying properties of vampirism. Anyway, Jackie brushed aside gossip about the undead, and declared herself “thrilled and honored” to be recognized in the land of Vlad the Impaler. The experience at such a far-flung event also revived hope that her movie, “The Last Film Festival” finds the bit of money needed to complete and release it.
Not only does this Linda Yellen-directed comedy contain a hilarious and unexpected performance from Jackie, as a frustrated movie queen, but it is also the great Dennis Hopper’s last movie. And he is wonderful as a cagey producer.
P.S. Did you know that Prince Charles owns two castles in Transylvania? I don’t even want to imagine what that means!
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BACK PROBLEMS sidelined Bette Midler and she was forced to leave the HBO production of the as-yet untitled Phil Spector biopic. This is a real pity because it is a dramatic role and would have shown off Bette’s acting chops. (The movie delves into the relationship between Spector — played by Al Pacino — and his attorney Linda Kenney Baden, while Spector was on trial for the murder of Lana Clarkson.)
But what a replacement HBO found! The great Helen Mirren. HBO did well by Dame Helen with its miniseries “Elizabeth I,” for which Helen won an Emmy. David Mamet has written the Spector script and is directing.
A speedy recovery to our showgirl, Bette, and her herniated disk.
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LAST October at the shareholders’ meeting of News Corp’s get together, a woman named Evelyn Davis demanded a kiss from Rupert Murdoch. He obliged the elderly and eccentric activist, giving her a sincere smack.
And while we muse Murdoch … I wonder whatever happened to the big boat that James Murdoch used to cruise the Connecticut River when he had a home up above Hamburg Cove out of Old Lyme? Its name always amused onlookers who could not wait to get aboard. The boat was called: “Most Fortunate Son.”
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THE QUEEN of England is supposedly heard in the movie “Cars 2.” But what you’ll really be hearing is Vanessa Redgrave as Her Majesty. The car is described as somewhere between a Bentley and a Rolls Royce. An appropriate choice for both QE2 and Miss Redgrave, I’d say.
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THE wonderfully revitalized Hollywood Reporter always reminds us of some sensational or glamorous moment from show biz past. Last week the mag published a dramatic full-page shot of a stricken Lana Turner in court, testifying in defense of her daughter Cheryl. Cheryl had confessed to the 1958 killing of Lana’s hoodlum boyfriend, Johnny Stompanato — defending her mother, she insisted. Cheryl was acquitted, in no small part because of Turner’s fabulous performance on the witness stand. The best of her career, many said.
The Liz Taylor/Richard Burton adultery scandal seems to loom larger in history, but let’s face it, the dead body in Lana’s pink boudoir was beyond the pale. And yet, Lana was forgiven her bad parenting, and went on to greater success after. You see, not much is new under the smoggy sun of Hollywood.
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ENDQUOTE: “L.A. scares the hell out of me. I feel if I have to work out four hours a day, and count the calories of everything I put in my mouth, and have Botox at 22, and obsess about how I look the whole time, I will go mad. I will absolutely lose it.”
That’s “Harry Potter’ actress Emma Watson, age 21, who will go to Oxford University soon and live normally, before she decides if she is ready to perform any more witchcraft in Hollywood.