“SHE WILL not be me, I will not be she!” said Elizabeth Taylor back in 1982, referring to any actress who might portray her. This was when La Liz battled with NBC-TV to keep the network from producing a miniseries based on her life.
Elizabeth claimed any such movie would hamper her own career. “My livelihood is based on how I look, how I sound.” Then she paused. “Also — and please don’t laugh — my acting!” Elizabeth broke herself up and the room applauded.
Elizabeth won that battle. She was still a power to be reckoned with. Ten years later, ailing, she didn’t even attempt to stop ABC-TV from airing a movie about her. By then, it didn’t seem very important to her.
Now, it looks like there will be another Taylor tale on TV. The Lifetime Channel has hired — her name is on the dotted line — Lindsay Lohan to play Miss Taylor. The movie will focus, mainly, on the star’s fabled romance with Richard Burton. I reported this as an “iffy” item sometime back, but Miss Lohan has apparently convinced Lifetime that she is finally on the straight and narrow and is up to the challenge.
Lindsay will also appear soon on “Saturday Night Live.” They say LL herself phoned “SNL” producer Lorne Michaels to ask him to give her a chance. (She’s been on the show before, and performed quite well.)
I’m looking forward to Lindsay on “SNL.” I will be fascinated to see what she does with Elizabeth. I am glad that this talented young woman appears to be under control and somehow got some sense shaken into her. As much sense as can be shaken into any star. (What? You think Elizabeth — an actress since the age of nine — ever really behaved “normally?”)
In the wake of Whitney Houston’s premature death, I believe anybody with a heart should be pleased that Lindsay might be straightening out. You don’t have to be a fan, and you sure don’t have to think she’s an appropriate choice to portray Elizabeth Taylor. You just need to remember that she is only human.
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BO DEREK — eternally immortalized in slow-mo, running on the beach in the movie “10” — and actor John Corbett have been together for a decade. They’ll celebrate their anniversary on Feb 26th, Oscar night. Indeed, the pair was set up on a blind date ten Academy Awards nights ago by producer Norby Walters, famous for his “Night of 100 Stars” gala at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
Miss Derek was sitting at home, all alone, undoing her cornrows. She was still depressed over the death of her husband, John Derek, several years before. She wasn’t dating. Norby invited her out. She wasn’t having it. But Mr. Walters persisted, “Oh, come on, Bo. You’re a young, beautiful woman. It’s Oscar night. Have some fun. And I know somebody very nice who would love to meet you.” Miss Derek rolled her eyes — she’d never heard that one before. Still, it was Oscar night, and she’d finally unstrung her hair. Why not? The “very nice” somebody was John Corbett of “Northern Exposure,” “Sex and the City” and (currently) “United States of Tara” fame.
Miss Derek and Mr. Corbett will attend Norby’s party Sunday night. This is one of Oscar’s more star-packed events. And amusingly relaxed, too.
Those expected at this year’s party include Anne Heche … Joey Pantoliano … Matthew Modine … Traci Lords … Ed Asner … Jason Alexander … Powers Boothe … Kevin Dillon … Joely Fisher … Bryan Cranston … Sean Patrick Flanery … LeAnn Rimes … Carla Gugino … Marilu Henner … George Segal … Fred Savage … Sean Astin … Toni Braxton, etc. And in memory of Anna Nicole Smith — who never missed any Oscar gala, including Norby’s — Hugh Hefner is sending a swarm of Playboy playmates to liven things up.
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NEWSWEEK magazine has an interesting take on Harvey Weinstein. It is titled “The Mogul Strikes Back” and tells of Harvey’s rise, fall and the great pinnacle he stands at today. He is looking at the strong possibility that his film, “The Artist,” will walk away with Best Picture, and that Meryl Streep takes Best Actress for “The Iron Lady.” This would follow last year’s triumph, “The King’s Speech,” which won four Oscars including Best Picture.
Harvey tells Newsweek something he often told me over the years, or possibly, I told him: “They want me to be Harry Cohn!” (Harry was the fearsome, despotic head of Columbia Pictures) “But if I have to model myself on somebody, it’s either Irving Thalberg or David Selznick.”
Harvey’s back, as I always knew he would be.
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SPEAKING of the clever Mr. Weinstein: when he threw his pre-Oscar party at the Chateau Marmont recently, celebrating the silent film, “The Artist,” he pointedly invited Carmen and Dolores Chaplin, the beautiful granddaughters of silent screen icon Charlie Chaplin.
The place was swarming with stars, including the cast members of “The Artist.” But the Chaplin girls got the big rush.
Harvey was advised, “If either of these girls have even a smidgen of talent, make them stars!” Oh, like Harvey hasn’t already thought of that? Please. He’s not Harvey Weinstein for nuttin’.
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RECENTLY I told you about a charming new book, The Persian Room Presents. This is a history of the legendary nightclub where anybody who was anybody who could hold a tune — or wear a fabulous next-to-nothing gown — appeared. On March 6th, the author Patty Farmer and celebrity chef Todd English hold a party at The Plaza, for some of those who appeared at The Persian Room in its glittery heyday. Among those on hand will be Arlene Dahl … Leslie Uggams … Celeste Holm … Marge Champion … Lesley Gore … Lainie Kazan.
A portion of the proceeds from The Persian Room Presents goes to Childhelp. This organization deals with the prevention and treatment of child abuse. Call 626-296-3757.