And more from our Gossip Girl: whither Botox …. Jennifer Aniston’s new man … young royals migrate to the small screen
“THEY ARE wonderful memories, they are cherished memories, they are my memories.”
That was Elizabeth Taylor’s standard answer, when asked to delve deeply into the subject of Richard Burton. Elizabeth took most of her private life — her version of it — to her grave. She gave stock answers to stock questions over the years. She controlled her image while she could.
Now that she is gone, her life is up for grabs. First to hold on tight is the great director Martin Scorsese. He has optioned the book “Furious Love” by Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger to be made into a film for Paramount. This book recounted the love affair and marriage of Taylor and Burton, a relationship that began in scandal — rocking the world from Hollywood to the Vatican. It ended in divorce. Twice.
I suppose a movie had to happen, and in Scorsese’s hands at least we know it will have some gravitas. But Elizabeth herself might just return from that big Chasen’s in the sky to put a stop to it. She had not been happy with “Furious Love,” a book that she originally thought was going to be about Richard, not about her and Richard. And the author’s tale of a “last letter” from Burton to Elizabeth, in which he suggests a reconciliation, is laughed off by Elizabeth’s inner circle. Kashner and Schoenberger claimed Elizabeth kept the letter “at her bedside” for over 20 years. “Never heard Elizabeth say anything like that, and I certainly never saw a letter on her bedside table, and I was at her bedside daily” says one of the late star’s assistants. (Elizabeth read an excerpt from the book in Vanity Fair magazine. Her reaction and language was … colorful.)
Burton’s widow, Sally Hay, has promised to cooperate with Scorsese, and the studio also has an agreement with Richard’s estate. They are looking to have similar cooperation from Elizabeth’s side. Good luck there, Marty!
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SPEAKING OF Elizabeth, there was a recent article in the British press about the dangers of over-using Botox, especially by those who hardly need it — women in their twenties or even teenagers. Cosmetic specialist Darren McKeown wrote: “While Elizabeth Taylor was clearly always a beautiful woman from her teens onwards, arguably her looks did not reach their peak until she was in mid-thirties. Had Botox been available to Taylor in her early twenties would she have ever reached the same level of mature beauty for which she will now always be remembered? I suspect not.”
I concur. The Botox craze has resulted in a new generation of eerie looking people of no determinate age.
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SOMEBODY AT InTouch really has it in for Jennifer Aniston. On the cover of a recent issue this headline ran: “Jen’s New Man: Trash Collector.” Inside we find that Miss Aniston is supposedly dating actor/writer Justin Theroux, who once said that he decorated his apartment with furniture he found in trash containers. Get it?
Justin is referred to as “another Mr. Wrong” for Jennifer. The press can’t be happy for her, ever.
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SCARLETT Johansson and Sean Penn are no longer dating. I felt you should know.
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JUST IN case you are not all “royaled-out,” the Hallmark Channel has a new movie coming about William and Kate, those two charming young people from across the pond who married so quietly about a month ago.
Hallmark chose Emmy-winning Linda Yellen to produce and direct “William and Catherine: A Royal Romance.” (Yellen is perhaps best known as the producer of Arthur Miller’s Holocaust drama, “Playing for Time.”) This is not Yellen’s first visit to the House of Windsor. Years ago she did “The Royal Romance of Charles and Diana,” which became one of the most popular TV movies of all time.
For this one, Yellen corralled Jane Alexander to play Queen Elizabeth, Victor Garber as Prince Charles, and Jean Smart as Camilla Parker-Bowles. Alice St. Clair and Dan Amboyer — both quite new! — appear as Kate Middleton and Prince William.
Miss Yellen — who raved about her entire cast — admits the movie is a mix of fact and fiction, and “more than just a romance. There is the psychology of William’s memory of his mother, how he has chosen to live his life and how he decided to marry.”
Yellen met Princess Diana and was struck, as most were, by her luminosity and that ability she had to make one feel at ease, no matter the circumstances. “This movie is also a kind of tribute to her, as much as it is about Kate and William.” Yellen’s latest “Royal Romance” airs on August 27th.
And for those of you with a good memory — Linda Yellen did produce the moody 1989 TV movie of Tennessee Williams’ “Sweet Bird of Youth,” starring Elizabeth Taylor as the desperate, aging movie star Alexandra Del Lago.
Yellen, who had met Elizabeth as far back as the early 1970’s in Budapest (Linda was a globetrotting teen!) recalls working with Taylor: “The funny thing is, ‘Sweet Bird’ wasn’t typecasting at all. Elizabeth didn’t have those issues. I don’t think she ever worried about her career or her viability. She knew who she was.”
I’ll say she did! I’m telling you, Martin Scorsese, sleep with the lights on.