Liz Smith: Liz Returns with New Year’s Good Wishes


And more from our Gossip Girl: congratulations to Angelina Jolie … Barbra Streisand … Valerie Bertinelli … David Foster … Reese Witherspoon … Lindsay Lohan … and Miss Zsa Zsa Gabor

“THE FUTURE depends on what we do in the present.” That simple bit of good advice came from the great political and ideological icon of India, Mahatma Gandhi.

It’s a good way to look at life and an excellent mindset for the new year. At least, Lindsay Lohan thinks so. The troubled actress, released yesterday after a three-month stint in rehab — a stay that was not without some Lohan-esque drama — posted the Gandhi quote on her website, along with the perennial “Today is the first day of the rest of my life.” (Midday yesterday, reports surfaced that Lindsay had voluntarily extended her stay at Betty Ford. Later stories corrected that. Apparently, she’s out, for better or worse.)

As I always do — much to the displeasure of those who are “tired” of Miss Lohan’s endless journey to maturity — I hope this talented young woman gets her act together.

I also send good thoughts to the apparently indestructible Zsa Zsa Gabor. Zsa, now 93 and in bad health for years, must undergo the partial amputation of her leg. Miss Gabor was one of the first, and certainly one of the most genuinely glamorous of those who were “famous for being famous.” She had small roles in several great films — “Moulin Rouge” and “Lili”— but her talents were best suited to such camp fare as “The Queen of Outer Space.” She married and divorced colorfully, and for decades was a fixture on the day and nighttime talk show circuit, where she could be counted on to look fabulous and say outrageous things. She was lots of wicked fun. (Her sister Eva, was sweeter, and had a more successful acting career.)

A swift recovery to you, dahling.

* * *

NEW YEAR’S congratulations!

TO: Barbra Streisand, who has racked up another great big hit with “Little Fockers.”  Her role isn’t very big, and the movie is just a tired continuation of the Robert DeNiro/Ben Stiller feuding that began with “Meet The Parents.” But Barbra, paired with Dustin Hoffman, is mighty amusing. If these more-or-less minor movies are indeed the way Barbra wishes to end her film career, so be it. At least she can take pride in the box-office, if not the “art” of the matter.

TO: Angelina Jolie. Despite withering reviews, her misguided caper movie “The Tourist” has grossed an impressive $120 million. But — just as I predicted — most of these millions have come from the European and Asian markets, where Jolie can do no wrong. The movie cost about $100 million to make. (Don’t ask me where the money went; Jolie’s outfits weren’t that fabulous!) The studio is confident they will recoup the cost, with at least a $75 million profit.

TO: Valerie Bertinelli, who married her boyfriend of six years, Tom Vitale, over the holiday. I interviewed Valerie about a year ago, when she was promoting her autobiography. She asked — very sweetly — if Tom could sit in on the interview? Of course I said yes, and was glad I did, because the chemistry between them was so delightful. She is a darling girl. (I know she’s about 50 now, but she will have that air of girlishness if she lives to be 100!) I was not surprised to hear that co-stars from her current series, “Hot In Cleveland” and some from “One Day at a Time” — the sitcom that made her famous — were in attendance, along with her first hubby, rocker Eddie Van Halen. Valerie was still married to Eddie the first time I interviewed her, but trouble was brewing; I could tell that beneath her lively manner, all was not delightful in her life. But that was then. She’s totally delighted now.

TO: Music man David Foster, engaged to Yolanda Hadid, a former Ford model. David, a multi-Grammy winner and Oscar nominee, who writes, produces and performs, insisted he was no longer the marrying kind when I sat with him two years ago. He has been married three times, has five daughters and laughed at the thought of tying the knot again. David was charming and sexy, but seemed utterly disillusioned with marriage — though there was no trashing of wives or women. Quite the opposite. And because he didn’t criticize his past wives, and because he seemed quite sensitive, I had a feeling he’d do it again, despite his hearty chuckling that he’d tried enough.

TO: Reese Witherspoon, also newly engaged, to Jim Toth, a Hollywood agent. Miss Witherspoon is an impressive woman; strong, level-headed, anything but frivolous. She struck me as one of the most composed, intelligent and self-contained actresses I ever met, when we spoke just before her movie “Vanity Fair” opened. She exhibited all the better qualities of William Thackeray’s anti-heroine, Becky Sharp. (Reese has made it a point not to play victimized women. Her Oscar-winning performance in “Walk the Line” as the no-nonsense June Carter Cash was indicative of the woman Reese is in real life.)

I saw Reese once again, on the night her marriage to Ryan Phillippe ended. It was at a party after the premiere of Ryan’s movie, “Flags of Our Fathers.” We did not speak. She seemed tense. Ryan did not, but, as the party wound down, they argued on the balcony. Days later, they split, after seven years and two children. They had married young. Her career rose, his hit a plateau. It was an old story, in every way.

Given her serious nature, Reese must be damn sure about Mr. Toth. Best to you, Reese. You are one of Hollywood’s few true female role models for young women.

Happy New Year to all the above-mentioned, and to all of you, too!

9 Responses so far.

  1. avatar Bella Mia says:

    Hope springs eternal.  If I had marriage advice to give to these folks,
    I’d say, “Learn to laugh your way through disagreements rather than argue.”  I swear I can have the same challenging discussion with my husband using humor rather than pique.  I can even say the exact same words but do so in a charming and funny way.  We’re both so much better at it now.
    I’d also say, “Learn to manage your own stress, and more stress, and more stress.”  Then learn to focus on beautiful, important things, and learn the difference between frustrations and serious problems – they can both feel really, really bad.  But don’t waste energy on the frustrations.  Move on.  Example:  A flat tire or running out of gas is a frustration, but cancer is serious.
    Another bit of advice:  Make a study of your spouse.  Know their likes, dislikes, fears, aspirations, favorite highschool hobbies (these can be surprising), deepest held secrets, personal animosities, favorite superheroes.  Become an expert.

  2. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    It’s good to have you back. We were about to report you to missing persons. And a Happy Newsy New Year to you. 

    Don’t forget that Zsa Zsa also finally married well. 24 years for a marriage most didn’t expect would last 24 hours. And she’ll probably be drinking champagne and feeding Freddie caviar as they celebrate 25 years a couple of months from now.  In the end, once again, the wisdom of the Gabors.  Marry for love.  And keep marrying until you find it. 
    As for Barbra Streisand ending her film career with this hilarious “bit” part some of us love it and hope she keeps ending her film career for a long, long time. And I say that as someone who never really liked her film “persona” until she became Rozlin Focker. So what’s not to like as Barbra Streisand would probably put it herself? 

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear Baby…if you are serious re The Prince, you have to give up your grand and legendary  cynicism. 

      I doubt that if Zsa Zsa hadn’t suffered that terrible car crash in 2001–the one that put her in a wheelchair–she would still be married to It. 

      IMO as the kids say. 

      • avatar Baby Snooks says:

        No 83 year old woman, give or take a year or two, or three or four, depending on whose memory you depend on to calculate the age, with half a mind would divorce someone she’d been married to for 15 years. Please.  I was going to say no woman in her right mind. But thought better of it. That half apparently was left in Hungary. Along with the birth certificate.  Or birth certificates.  Sorry but one of the great mysteries of civilization will forever be the years the Gabor daughters were born. Jolie we know. We think.  Zsa Zsa, Eva, and Magda? Forget it. Only god and Jolie knew. And neither told.

        Zsa Zsa is fun. Let’s leave it at that. Freddie is fun. Let’s leave that at that as well. They are entertaining. And one is still invariably rolling their eyes over the other. I wish I had a Freddie. And I’m glad Zsa Zsa has hers. 

  3. avatar Mr. Wow says:

    Latest word on Miss Gabor—maybe they’ll save that leg. Incredible. Talk about a will to live.  It must be something she puts into the goulash. 

    I’m sure her husband, “The Prince” is as happy as Mr. Wow that Zsa Zsa continues to defy the odds. 

  4. avatar Linda Myers says:

    Happy New Years Liz, it sounds like at least the celebrities are starting out positive this year. Living your life in the public eye,it is no wonder the relationships which last longest are on a short list.

  5. avatar Linda Myers says:

    Any chance you have any tidbits on Joanne Woodward?? I know she is not someone actively working in Hollywood, just curious how she is doing now. 🙂