And more from our Gossip Girl: Saudi Arabia and 9/11 — Vanity Fair’s incredible new expose
“WHEN ca-ca hits the fan, I’ve learned how to pick myself up and make lemonade out of that ca-ca!”
That’s Dyan Cannon, with whom I had a fast, uplifting chat last week.
Dyan was one of the great figures of movies back in the late sixties through a good deal of the eighties. With her delectably over-size features and energy to burn, Dyan gave her all to superior material and lifted mediocre fare considerably. She was Oscar-nominated twice — for 1969’s “Bob & Carol and Ted and Alice” and again in 1978 in Warren Beatty’s “Heaven Can Wait.” She was memorable in “Such Good Friends,” “Child Under a Leaf,” “The Last of Shiela,” Deathtrap” and “Author! Author!” Dyan was also nominated as a filmmaker, in 1976, for the live action shot “Number One,” which she wrote, directed, produced, and also starred.
More recent generations recall her stint on TV’s “Ally McBeal.”
But Dyan wasn’t calling to chat about her film career. She has just finished a book, “Dear Cary” which will tell of her short, fabulous but fraught marriage to Hollywood’s great matinee idol, Cary Grant.
Dyan has waited a long time to tell her story. She and Grant married in 1965, were divorced in ’68. But the fallout, especially surrounding their daughter, Jennifer, dragged on for years. (A few months ago, Jennifer Grant published her own account of her dad in “Good Stuff: A Reminiscence of My Father,” which she wrote about recently for wOw).
Why did Dyan wait so long to tell her tale? “I wasn’t ready. I really wasn’t. It took me a long time to heal. This book has taken five years to write. And even though I thought I had healed, I found there were still areas to be explored.
“You know, when Jackie Onassis was the editor at Doubleday, we met many times. She was always gently —that was her way — very gently, trying to persuade me to write my tale. I just couldn’t. It was so raw, still.
“A week after Cary died, Swifty Lazar called me and said, “Come on, it’s time!” God bless, Swifty, but I certainly wasn’t going to do it then.”
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THE BOOK (which comes out September 20) isn’t yet available for an advance peek, and Dyan herself didn’t seem to want to tell much of what was in it — no dishing her ex. Rather, she seemed very committed and sure that she has written something that will help “everybody — women and men, in a relationship where you think only of the other partner, only how please them, make them happy. You leave yourself naked and empty. It is a very long road back. That’s my story. And it’s a very simple story — give all, lose all. It was a great romance that went south. It broke down. I healed myself and put the stars back in my eyes.”
Dyan is full of philosophical musings, and invigoratingly optimistic, she is romantic without ever speaking of romance. Of her famous love, she would only say, gently, “He was one in a billion. Really, one in a billion.”
Aside from promoting her book, Dyan’s great project, her genuine “labor of love” is something called “Get Your Luv On!” The actress has pulled this bimonthly gathering together on the CBS Studio lot. It’s a great big cozy happening where people —“all people, men, women, gay, straight, from 18 to 80,” Dyan emphasizes — are welcome to come and discuss love “in all its wonderful, challenging, terrible hopeful aspects.”
Dyan says, “It’s not that I help people and their relationships. They all help each other, by simply being together in this atmosphere. I hate to use a cliché but — it’s a beautiful thing.”
I would have liked to really dig into the nuts and bolts of Dyan’s book, but she seemed tentative about going too far right now. She wanted me to have an essence. And an essence from Dyan Cannon is better than the kit n’ caboodle from most other stars.
Just before we hung up, I mentioned I’d been having trouble sleeping. Dyan was electric with concern and information. “I have the remedy — at least it works for so many I’ve shared it with. It’s simple. Get some Epsom salts. Just before bed, the hottest bath you can stand. Be generous with the salts. Verrrry generous. Then soak. Just soak. All the strain of the day will just melt away and you’ll sleep like a baby. Try, it, please, Liz! Oh, and a prayer helps too.”
I don’t know if I am ready for “the hottest bath I can stand.” But I love that Dyan took the time to advise me.
She’s a doll. And I can’t wait to read “Dear Cary.”
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IT’S NOT just that Saudi Arabia won’t let women drive or be out in public except with a male relative and all the other oppressive stuff. How about Vanity Fair’s latest story, “The Kingdom and the Towers” by Anthony Summers and Robyn Swan?
What about their theory that the Saudis had broad involvement in the 9/11 attacks and not just involvement, which has long shown that all of the attackers were Saudis?
No, I’m talking about the authors’ theory that “protection money” was paid to al-Qaeda and that the royal Saudis set us up. You can read this in a new issue with someone you never heard of on the cover, Emma Stone. Even editor Graydon Carter notes that he doesn’t know who she is either, though she bows in three movies this summer.
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LOOKING through the magazine advertisements, I must ask: why does Prada tout its product through several sullen and pale antagonistic looking young blondes? Who exactly are they supposed to influence? There are lots of ads displaying arrogant, pointless, unenthusiastic youth. But I did love the Guess cowboy and his kick-up-her-heels girlfriend at the bus stop.