And more from our Gossip: Big surprise? Jennifer Lopez loves herself …. Liz meets the Smurfs
“WHAT ARE your nightmares?”
“My nightmare is the H-bomb. What’s yours?”
So went the exchange between Redbook writer Alan Levy and actress Marilyn Monroe, in the summer of 1962, just weeks before the star’s death.
Levy’s interview with MM was one of the more wide-ranging efforts, and it includes Marilyn’s admission that where once she had thought becoming a better actress would improve her as a person, she now felt becoming a better person would improve her acting. Of her career, she remarked astutely, “I seem to have a whole superstructure with no foundation. But I’m working on the foundation!”
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TOMORROW MARKS the 49th anniversary of Monroe’s suicide/accident/murder. There will be the usual tributes from fans born long after her death, and reminiscences from the few contemporaries left. And, as always, there is a steady stream of new photos, disputed porn reels, controversial works of art — the current, giant sculpture in Chicago of Marilyn with her skirts in the air — and books, books, books. The fascination with this profoundly unique, unquestionably strange girl never seems to end.
As to books, Europe’s Taschen publishing house next week will re-release Norman Mailer’s controversial 1973 bestseller “Marilyn.” Norman took a lot of heat for his fanciful opinions and purple prose, but his work contains some amazing insights, and he was nothing if not obsessed with his subject. Her image, he declared, was the “most tender and lovable” of all screen stars.
Norman’s words will be accompanied by Bert Stern’s photos of Marilyn, her infamous “Last Sitting.” Monroe’s fans hold their breath on this aspect. The big problem with Norman’s original book was the terrible reproduction of the color photos — they were over-processed, giving Monroe’s pale, milky skin an orange hue. This was most disastrous in the Stern photos. Bert photographed 36-year-old Marilyn under super-strong lights, and he declined to retouch. Every freckle, the blonde fuzz on her face, the tiny lines around her eyes, were magnified for the world to see. Not to mention her recently acquired gall bladder scar, which he promised to erase, in order to persuade Marilyn to pose semi-nude. (She was soon dead, and Stern figured their verbal agreement was null and void.) In the first Mailer book, Stern’s Marilyn — orange, and in super-sharp focus — looked like a leathery Miami Beach Medusa.
Monroe’s admirers hope this latest batch of Bert Stern photos do her justice. Many of the 3,000-plus shots he took are iconic works of art, and deserve to be properly re-printed. Most who saw Marilyn in those final months said she had never looked so lovely — thin, fragile, but ravishing. (The footage from her uncompleted final movie, “Something’s Got to Give” reveals a totally new and gorgeous MM.)
It will be good, also, to have Norman’s words out there again, causing blood to boil.
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I LIKE Jennifer Lopez. Don’t ask me about her music. I’ve probably never knowingly listened to any of that. But I think she is a charming actress. I found her especially appealing in “Maid in Manhattan” and “Monster-In-Law.” Now, I am sorry she and her husband of seven years, Marc Anthony have split, and I don’t mean to be insensitive, but I all but fell down when I read Miss Lopez’s comments in Vanity Fair magazine. “I am loving myself, I am doing things for myself.”
Perhaps Miss Lopez is an even better actress than I realized, but she has never appeared to be a woman who had issues about loving herself. However, marriage to Mr. Anthony — a thin but strong-willed man — might have changed her. And if she didn’t like that change, more power to her for reclaiming herself.
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THE CURRENT hot New York magazine offers in its Intelligencer page this week, the question asked at the premiere of “The Smurfs in 3-D.” And the question is: “Did you ever feel too grown-up to act opposite the Smurfs?
Various famous actors answered this question, including Alan Cumming, Brooke Shields, Sofia Vergara, Katy Perry, George Lopez, Hank Azaria, Neil Patrick Harris.
I don’t know what each one of these worthies said, but had I been there I know what I would have said – because I happen to be “in” this movie. (I don’t feel “too grown-up” to do anything!)
I agreed early on to act with The Smurfs in 3-D. And I don’t think it’s exactly a small thing to have been cast as a glamorous extra atop a roof garden at 30 Rock , standing with fashion’s one and only Tim Gunn – plus Joan Rivers and Michael Musto. “The Smurfs in 3-D” is actually a huge, huge hit, tied with the more mature “Cowboys & Aliens.” It’s a plus to have such a movie credit under my belt. I can add it to my acting experiences in “Garbo Talks”…”The Fan”…”Buffy the Vampire Slayer” plus the Ron Galella documentary “Smash His Camera” – as well as some TV acting, as it were, in “Murphy Brown” and “The Nanny.” And a still-to-be released documentary titled “Craptastic!” (I don’t even remember doing that one.)
A nice woman named Vivian came up to me in the Bon Bon Hair Salon this week where she works and told me she loved me in “The Smurfs” movie and said I looked great.
I asked her, “Did I get to say any lines; any dialogue?” She laughed: “I don’t remember.”
But still, I thought my lines pushed along the plot, such as it is. Have to go check myself out at the movie theater because nobody invited me to the “dailies.”
It was quite an experience standing in the New York skyline at a faux party and acting with the Smurfs. (There wasn’t a Smurf in sight. They hadn’t been created at the time.)
Ho, hum, that’s how movie-making goes!