Liz Smith: Is TV Ready For Cherry Vanilla?

Cherry Vanilla

And more from our Gossip Girl: Dennis Hopper’s “Wild Ride”… Casey Ribicoff remembered

“AUTOBIOGRAPHY IS now as common as adultery, and no less reprehensible,” said Lord Altrincham.

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PERHAPS YOU recall my rave some time back for the memoirs of the fabulous Cherry Vanilla — singer/songwriter/publicist/artiste extraordinaire. (She began her public life in Andy Warhol’s play, “Pork” playing a necrophiliac nurse. Later, she would represent David Bowie — not a big leap, if you recall David’s image at the time.)

I predicted Cherry’s delicious tale, titled Lick Me, was perfect fodder for a movie. Her life had to be told on the big screen. And now, a major Hollywood producer has read the book and is in the process of putting together a creative team to turn the racy reminiscences into a — no, not a feature film — a TV series!

Cherry has first pick on who might play her. And her choice is … Lindsay Lohan.

Hey, hey — stop with the moaning and groaning. It’s not my idea!

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I ALSO told you just a few weeks back, that Barricade Books was publishing Dennis Hopper: The Wild Ride of a Hollywood Rebel by Peter L. Winkler.

Well, I read it, and all I can say is … whew! How Dennis lived to be 70 years old is a miracle. Wild Ride is exactly that. One incredible drug and drink-fueled tale tumbles over the next. It’s unrelenting, up to a point.

Dennis mellowed out a bit, mid-life, but he never quite lost his edge, and his relationships with women remained tumultuous and tortured to the bitter fadeout. (And yet, they all speak well of him. At least they admit he was hard to resist and could be wildly interesting, sexy, even kind — at first.) Even though I knew the end of the story — that cancer would eventually claim Dennis — his crazy times are so over the top, I kept thinking, “When I turn the page, he’ll be dead. Nobody can survive this kind of self-abuse!”

Hopper, as presented by author Winkler, is fascinating — especially the actor’s over-weaning ego and belief, right from the start, that he is something really special — a genius, to be frank. Hopper is not always easy to like, but you have to admire his passion and commitment to his work, as an actor and as a photographer.

Dennis Hopper went all too soon. He is missed by those who loved him and those he infuriated. (The love/loathe relationship he had with his “Easy Rider” co-star and collaborator, Peter Fonda, is a saga in itself.)

Hopper’s final performance is still to be seen, in Linda Yellen’s “The Last Film Festival.”

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IN THE “good” old days, the New York Daily News used to fulminate against the United Nations at the end of the block near their offices on 42nd Street. The newspaper wanted the U.N. to get the hell out of Manhattan, go elsewhere, or disappear.

This was back in the day when a tabloid-like News was all-powerful, influential and so full of ads that sometimes people complained about it being so heavy that when it was thrown onto their lawns, it wounded their dog. But, the Daily News never succeeded in getting rid of the U.N.

I thought of that in the last 48 hours, while the East Side was totally gridlocked with the President in town, Israeli and Palestinian diplomats circling their wagons, cops on every corner, etc. And, on top of this, it was raining!

Never mind. We New Yorkers keep struggling and surviving. And so it appeared that morning in the rain as if the social world, or the tatters that are left of it, turned out for the memorial to Casey Ribicoff at Temple Emanu-El. (Maybe I’m just getting deaf but it appeared to me that the Temple needs a full makeover of its microphone and sound techniques.)

Nevertheless, the divine Casey, widow of Sen. Abe Ribicoff of Connecticut, gave herself a wonderful send-off. I am told she designed the entire service, selecting Jessye Norman to sing some of the songs of Duke Ellington and picking Nancy Kissinger and Casey’s grandson, Andrew Mathes, to read. Then, Senator Christopher Dodd, Barbara Walters, Casey’s nearest and dearest son and his wife, Angela, and Peter Mathes spoke of Casey. Barbara, all in white, was a big hit! And at the very end, Peter, in a tribute to his heartbroken wife who was the apple of Casey’s eye, said that his mother doted on Angela and got what she had always wanted — him for a perfect son-in-law.

I rushed as much as one can rush in such rainy traffic from this memorial to Michael’s restaurant on West 55th Street. There wasn’t an empty seat in the place. Everybody had decided to get down to business and go back to work in publishing, finance, theater, television, and whatever they all do. The piece de resistance was an unexpected tap on a glass by consultant VIP Jim Abernathy, who got silence and then introduced us all to the most impressive person we have ever seen in Michael’s. He was and is the recent Medal of Honor winner, Sgt. Dakota Meyers, whose heroism is already legend.

The Sergeant’s host was another decorated Marine, Jerry Byrne, formerly of the Nielson ratings game; now head of Blackwater.

I was with the TV Guide geniuses — publisher Jack Kliger and editor Debra Birnbaum, plus writer Ed Klein who is doing a book on — guess who — President Obama.

The four of us were dumbstruck at being in the presence of a man who had saved so many lives in Afghanistan by his bravery. It turned out to be quite a day!

And, hey — the present version of the New York Daily News is still thriving under its owner, Mort Zuckerman. And the United Nations still stands.

3 Responses so far.

  1. avatar Count Snarkula says:

    …the social world, or the tatters that are left of it…all too true Liz. All too true.

    • avatar Baby Snooks says:

      The literati, which required being well-bred as well as well-read, has been replaced by the glitterati, which only required good lighting and a good publicist!

  2. avatar maytaguide says:

    Lindsay Lohan has been a fine actress since she started as an adolescent. I hope she can get her act together and keep her mind on her work.