Liz Smith: Utterly divine Audrey Hepburn

audrey-hepburn-style-icon-older“IT’S NOT incest when it’s between men.”

THAT was a portion of actor Jeremy Irons wildly convoluted, much publicized recent statement on gay marriage. He said he has no strong feelings on it, but then wondered, “Could it lead to fathers marrying their sons?” Apparently he deduces this would be part of some sort of inheritance insurance.

michel_comte_jeremy_ironsBut he dismisses the idea of fathers marrying their daughters because it would lead to “inbreeding.” And “two men don’t breed.”

Still, Mr. Irons thinks it’s great to have something to love in your life, even if it is just a dog. Or a goat. I mean, honestly, it seemed Irons was ready to jump on the well-traveled conservative credo that gay marriage will lead to “people marrying goats.” (Why is it always goats? What about cats? They like a nice wedding too.)

Mr. Irons has now attempted to explain his remarks, and stresses he is certainly not anti-gay anything. Still, with the third season of “The Borgias” debuting Sunday, if I were Mr. Irons’ press rep, I’d be wringing my hands and wringing his neck. On the other hand, “The Borgias” is about to plunge into some incest intimations in the new season. Perhaps Mr. Irons was just taking an odd, circuitous route to promote that aspect of the show? Actors! The script of life can be confounding.

kahnHERE’S SOMETHING that hasn’t had a lot of traction in the press: the still-ravishing Jacqueline Bissett has agreed to portray Anne Sinclair, the patient — and that’s an understatement! — wife of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, in a movie about the NYC-based sex-scandal destroyed his chance to become president of France.

Gerard Depardieu is supposed to play DSK. But Depardieu has had so many difficulties of late, not the least of which was renouncing his French citizenship over tax issues, and his new home in Russia going up in flames, some wonder if he’s really up to “acting” right now.

At his best, Gerard is said to be a handful.

Oh, and another great femme fatale, Charlotte Rampling has a major role in the next season of “Dexter.” I suppose she will be playing a serial killer. On “Dexter,” one is either a victim or killer. I don’t see Miss Rampling as anybody’s victim.

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eliIT IS interesting to befriend certain celebrities, stars and PR people and to become aware of their helpers, as well as those who are being mentored by someone famous. For a number of years, I have been aware of one Eli Richbourg who once worked for my movie director friend, Joel Schumacher. He was a charming intelligent guy, married happily with one son and living in Paris. Eli had a promising career ahead of him in film-making.

Recently, this 41-year-old had a headache, lay himself down to take a nap and never awakened, dying of a massive hemorrhage. My heart goes out to all of Eli’s friends, his young wife and child and family. And to Joel, who has just been in Japan for a film festival.

This very week I ran across a note written to me by Ann Richards, only months before the former Governor of Texas died, all too young. “I am trying to take a more upbeat approach to death. Our parts just flat wear out. We have had wonderful lives. We could never have predicted such a case. Perhaps there is another adventure we could not predict. I am thinking more in terms of becoming an energy spark that could do Tinkerbelle acts and all sorts of mischief.”

OYPPageBannerIF YOU ARE a fan of Martha Stewart — and I am, I don’t care how many times she has appeared as a villain in the tabloids  — I urge you to sign on for City Harvest presenting “On Your Plate,” happening at the Metropolitan Club on May 6th.

110684-Elaine-Stritch_JasonKempin_GettyImages_large_jpg_300x207_q100This helps fund fresh produce for thousands of the needy. Martha is going to talk and that’s entertainment enough. Contact 646-412-0647 or ndowney@cityharvest.org.

Elaine Stritch will dominate one more big deal before departing for the most politically conservative state in the union, the ultra GOP dominated Michigan, where she chooses to now live! Where labor unions are no longer allowed to operate.

Elaine will be honored June 10th along with Charles Cohen and “Star Trek’s” George Takei. And others. This is a charity in remembrance of the great acting teacher Stella Adler. Tickets at 212-689-0087.

WHEN I DROP into my favorite restaurant in all the world  — the old-fashioned Veau d’Or on 60th between Lexington and Park Avenue, I usually see at the bar the handsome Antoine Blech who is moonlighting there just for the hell of it and because he adores the owner, Cathy Treboux. But now, sob! gasp! Antoine, who owns a part of restaurant Opia at 57th and Lex, is departing from us.

He is opening a place in Greenwich on 61 Lewis Street, where the Jean Louis restaurant operated for 28 years to the delight of people in Connecticut.

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Antoine is also finishing his fourth CD with Russ Titelman because he’s a music man at heart and hopes to become the new Yves Montand. His restaurant will be called Le Penguin. It opens in May. (Antoine says he has bought the chairs from the defunct La Goulue so New Yorkers will feel right at home.) His trademark will be artist Ron Ferri‘s big walking bird.

When I asked Antoine about who will be the chef, he promised to send me a photo of himself with his own genius cook. This is his son Adrien (above)  cooking for three and a half years at Le Bernardin and many a place in Paris and L.A. (Adrien’s nickname in the “joints” where he has carved and cooked has always also been “Le Penguin,” which stands for old-fashioned French waiters whose costumes were thought to resemble birds.) Make your plans to go to Greenwich if you can! I certainly will.

lucaENDQUOTE: “She was always a little bit surprised by the efforts women made to look young. She was actually very happy about growing older because it meant more time for herself, for her family, and separation from the frenzy of youth and beauty that is Hollywood.”

That is one of Audrey Hepburn’s sons, Luca Dotti, talking to Vanity Fair about his late, iconic, movie star mother Audrey Hepburn.

The VF piece covers Audrey’s years in Rome, after her unhappy marriage to Mel Ferrer ended. That wedlock produced one son, Sean. She married doctor Andrea Dotti, had another son (Luca) and essentially put her movie career aside, after the tumult of being one of Hollywood’s greatest, highest paid stars, and a fashion icon from the moment Givenchy dressed her for “Sabrina.” (Edith Head took the credit and won the Oscar, but, that’s show biz.)

This is a charming article, about a woman of whom I never, literally, heard one harsh or unpleasant tale. A complete miracle, as far as I’m concerned.

And the cover of Vanity Fair — young Audrey against a stark red backdrop — is the best VF cover in years. This is glamour and class, folks. The only woman, in my opinion, who could even dare to touch the hem of Hepburn’s Givenchy is Charlize Theron.

Audrey was always charming, when I first met her playing in “Ondine” in the ’50s, and later when she was working hard for the world’s forgotten at the United Nations.

This column originally appeared on NYSocialDiary.com on 4/9/13

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