Liz Smith: The “Female Force” of Cher

And more from our Liz: Renee Zellweger’s “Cinnamon Girl”… Dee Wallace says yes to Rob Zombie — again!

“HER LIFE has been marked by failures and successes, but she still stands boldly for herself and for her friends and we had to tell her story.”

That’s Darren G. Davis, publisher of Bluewater Productions, commenting on the one and only Cher.

Cher will be the latest real-life heroine of Bluewater’s “Female Force” series of comic books. The writer, Marc Shapiro, says, “She has very much been the equivalent of a superhero — the clothes, the times, the attitudes, the flamboyance. Over the top and plain out there!”

Enhanced with art by Zach Bassett, Warren Montgomery and Joe Philips, Cher’s comic book follows other “Female Force” publications devoted to the likes of Madonna, Ellen DeGeneres and Sarah Palin. (Oh, do let’s ask how Cher feels about following Mrs. Palin!)

Well, Cher is a “female force,” without a doubt, a smart woman who has survived a brutal business, with an Oscar no less. But I doubt this well-intended comic book can capture (or even knows about!) the real Cher — tender, sweet, sometimes painfully insecure and withdrawn. This is the Cher who cherishes her Turner Classic Movies channel and the Cher who helps friends in need. Also the Cher who has admitted her weaknesses, and wept while she watched her son Chaz dance on TV.

This is the Cher who’d step up — before I got too sentimental here — haul back, slap me and say, “Snap out of it!”

* * *

RENEE ZELLWEGER’S 2003 1960’s-themed comedy “Down With Love” didn’t go over like gangbusters, but maybe it was too ahead of the retro curve? The TV series “Mad Men,” which has ushered in a wave of 60’s-era nostalgia and programming, didn’t arrive until 2007.

In any case, Renee obviously likes the genre. With her producer’s hat planted firmly on her shiny blonde head, the actress has joined with Lifetime TV and Anthony Tambakis to create a dramatic series titled “Cinnamon Girl.” This will follow a young woman (perhaps loosely based on Miss Z. herself) who comes from a small town to a big city and experiences the late 1960’s/early 1970’s movie and music scene in Hollywood.

This is the second time Renee has paired with Lifetime. Back in 2006 she exec produced “Living Proof,” the story of Dr. Dennis Slamon, who helped develop the breast cancer drug Herceptin. Lifetime is pulling itself up by its bootstraps these days, wanting to be taken more seriously — to that end the network has lured the likes of Demi Moore, Jennifer Aniston and Amanda de Cadenet. None of them are appearing in the old “women-in-jeopardy” movies that were a Lifetime staple for bored housewives, gay men and others who appreciate camp.

Miss Zellweger’s “Cinnamon Girl” series airs next year.

* * *

I was having lunch at booming, zooming Michael’s restaurant with some very nice guys who bid on me at last year’s New York Landmarks Conservancy gala. I didn’t ask what John Randolph of Sciame Development paid to lunch with me, as I didn’t want to know what I was worth! Or, how little.

But during our enjoyable meal, which included the redoubtable Scott Leurquin of the Conservancy, I learned that Mr. Randolph of Sciame and Joseph Villano of the Omni Hotel just enjoyed a “commitment ceremony.” (This is something like same-sex marriage, minus “formalities.”)

Both John and Joe exclaimed that they had recently seen our terrific column photo of Kate Hepburn in a black hat, to which had been appended the lyrical Sondheim question: “Does anybody still wear a hat?”

So, John and Joe whipped out a huge group photo of their July get together in Lewes, Delaware last July 3rd. They had asked everyone of their friends and relatives to “wear a hat.” (One of the hosts, Joe, declined; saying, “I don’t look good in a hat!)

Congratulations, guys! (Not so incidentally, Sciame Development is boldly and proudly working on the rebuilding of the World Trade Center in downtown Manhattan.)

* * *

Dee Wallace

ONCE A SCREAM Queen, always a scream queen? Dee Wallace will be forever enshrined as the plucky, confused mom in Steven Spielberg’s 1982 classic, “ET: The Extra-Terrestrial.” Her numerous credits — she has been acting since 1975 — include every genre and both the big screen and small. She has literally never been out of work.

But Miss Wallace has had a lot of experience in the quirkier side of films — there is something about her blonde, wholesome attractiveness that encourages filmmakers to put her in danger — or in the ground! Other credits include “The Hills Have Eyes” … “The Howling” … “The Frighteners” … “Cujo” … “Critters” and Rob Zombie’s 2007 re-make of “Halloween.”

Apparently, Mr. Zombie liked how Miss Dee enacted terror. (Or perhaps her expressions are simply bemusement that she is cast in such fare!) So he has put her in his coming horror-fest “The Lords of Salem,” which also stars Bruce Dern. (A coven of 300-year-old witches return to Salem, Mass. Did I really need to tell you?)

Fans caught Dee on this week’s episode of “The Office,” appearing as Andy (Ed Helm’s) mother. The denizens of that series are another kind of witches coven!

Miss Wallace also has a book upcoming, titled Bright Light. In this memoir, Dee will dish her 40-plus years of experience, working with everybody from Lassie to Julie Andrews, from Steven Spielberg to Wes Craven.

5 comments so far.

  1. avatar rick gould says:

    I’m sure Bob Mackie could design the perfect superhero outfit for Cher ;)

  2. avatar howard green says:

    Liz, in your column of Oct. 6, you said ” (By the way, don’t miss my article about Doris in the November issue of Q magazine.) Well, I jut shelled out $9.75 (ouch!) for this issue. No article! What gives?

  3. avatar Rho says:

    How come there are no comments?  I just want to say I always liked Cher.

  4. avatar Rho says:

    Oops, I see them now.