Liz Smith: Nobody Will Be Puttin' On The Ritz in Paris

Dinner at The Ritz in the 1930s.

        “I MARRIED David for better, for worse; but not for lunch!” said the Duchess of Windsor whenever she turned up at the famous Ritz Hotel in Place Vendome, Paris. (She was speaking of an abdicated King of England.)

Vanity Fair magazine presents in its July issue, popular writer A.E. Hotchner’s history of this famous hotel which is closing on July 31 for a two-year makeover.

Sob! Gasp! And what’s more, the great Hotel de Crillon with its view of whereMarie Antoinette was beheaded, will also soon close down for a total facelift.

Ernest Hemingway and Bertin (former bartender at the Ritz from 1926 to 1975).

Mr. Hotchner manages to run down memory lane from Chanel to Proust toHemingway to Audrey Hepburn and Gary Cooper — all at the Ritz — but the article doesn’t note that Pamela Harriman, the American ambassador to France, died after a swim in the Ritz pool.

It does note that Princess Diana spent her last safe moments there.

IN THE front of my daily calendar is pasted a very old, very famous photo from MGM’s Galaxy of Film Stars from the 1940s, with actors from Kate Hepburn to Hedy Lamarr to Jimmy Stewart to Spencer Tracy to Mickey Rooney in the front row.

MGM’s Galaxy of Film Stars from the 1940s.


Now Vanity Fair has done this artifact one better, showing today’s stars, producers, directors marking the 100th anniversary of Paramount Pictures.

Who’s smack dab in the center of this huge three-page gathering? Why, Meryl Streep, of course.

And she has Jack, Dustin, George, Tom, Don, Billy Dee, Harrison, John, Kirk, Michael, Richard, Billy Bob, Adam, Jon, Chris, Bobby, Josh, Jimmy, Antonio, Sean, Leonardo, Morgan, Eddie, and assorted famous females surrounding her.

The center portion of A True Paramount Picture in Vanity Fair.

I “think” … although I am not absolutely sure … that in both these epic photographs of the stars in alignment — only the great Mickey Rooney is in both of these unusual movie museum pieces!

Thank you, Vanity Fair, for another classic photo by Art Streiber. Definitely a collector’s item. And I have to admit it. There are a few new faces in this mass pose that I never heard of.

Lindsay Lohan's totaled Porsche. Credit:

FIRST OF all, I’m glad Lindsay Lohan, her assistant, and the driver of the truck Lindsay rear-ended late last week, are all okay. (The truck-driver is more than okay, already claiming injuries and looking for a settlement.)

Naturally, the first words out of Lindsay’s mouth were “It wasn’t my fault.” Maybe it wasn’t, but here’s some advice. Don’t drive.Clearly, all this young woman has to do is look at a car, and that vehicle is history.

Lindsay, you are currently playing Elizabeth Taylor. Do you think the star of stars ever got behind the wheel of a car and drove herself? “Where’s the driver?” fell from her lips as often as “Where’s my present?” Onscreen, she famously crashed her little sports car in “Butterfield 8,” fleeing the attentions of Laurence Harvey.

Lohan did immediately return to the set of Liz and Dick, covered her bruises with makeup and carried on with professional aplomb. But I’m sure producerLarry Thompson has bitten his nails to the quick. And there are weeks more filming to go.

CHARLIZE THERON is certainly having a good year. Her personal reviews for Snow White and the Huntsman are credited with having propelled that mess of a movie to box-office success.  Now she is co-starring in Ridley Scott’s metaphysical sci-fi epic, Prometheus, along with one of Hollywood’s biggest leading men, Michael Fassbender. The movie took a whopping $50 million over the weekend (and almost as much overseas) but was edged out by the animated Madagascar 3. ( The success of the latter film is proof positive that there are always family-friendly movies, and audiences flock to them.)

As to Prometheus, most critics are dazzled by the film’s beauty, if left pondering its complex/muddled messages. It ain’t Alien which is what many people — especially fans — were expecting. Although it does a few bows in that direction; one being the most gruesome thing I ever sat through. As for Charlize, it never hurts to be associated with a hit. And there’ll be a sequel toPrometheus. This move already has almost a thousand reviews on IMDB! For all the expressed disappointment, these “critics” would go see Prometheus 2,or whatever director Scott might title it.

And, I can promise you Mr. Fassbender will be coming back.

P.S. I’ve seen the revived Dallas, which starts on TNT tomorrow night, and it is hilarious fun. Every scene is one of outrageous, over-the-top betrayal.

Almost all the old-timers are back and there are some excellent new-timers. Don’t miss it!

This column originally appeared on on 6/12/12

6 Responses so far.

  1. avatar Lila says:

    Prometheus had a lot of unrealized potential, and some things that were a bit too much of a “leap of logic” or too forced.  I was disappointed too, but because of the potential, as well as plain old curiosity, I would still see a sequel.  Every now and then, a sequel turns out better than the original.  And this is, itself, a sequel (prequel) of sorts.

    • avatar Lila says:

      PS, Liz, I’d be curious to know what you thought was the most gruesome thing.  I thought the original Alien was worse in terms of gore and violence.

  2. avatar Lila says:

    Re: Lindsay, generally, the authorities regard rear-ending someone as “yes, your fault.”  Following too close, not paying attention, too fast for conditions… but unless he backed into you, yep, it’s your fault.  The fact that “not my fault” were her first words indicates she’s still got some growing up to do.
    Oh, and Butterfield 8 – what a waste of a good BMW.

  3. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    Her next role which was just announed leads one to wonder if perhaps Lindsay Lohan shouldn’t be portraying Edy Williams instead of Elizabeth Taylor. Lindsay Lohan has trashed her career as well as her life. Helped along the way by two atrocious parents and a parade of attorneys and judges and the usual entourage that sees her as an ATM but you know, she’s an adult.  And makes her own decisons. So the days of feeling sorry for her are over for most of us. And she may be heading back to jail. She lied to the cops. Not realizing her assistant would tell the truth.  If the media would ignore her, maybe she would just go away. Her and the rest of the Hollywood trash. Not all of us wallow around in a sewer. And aren’t particularly interested in those who do. 

  4. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    And not to beat the dead horse but quite a few cut Elizabeth Taylor off along the way. For much the same reason. People saw “ET Warner” on the caller id and just didn’t pick up. Earth Mother but you know at times a little too earthy even for her friends.  

  5. avatar janie k says:

    Lindsay also tried to claim that her assistant was driving, but the assistant wasn’t haven’t any of it.  Just one more example of Lilo not taking responsibility for her own actions.  How many more chances is this young woman going to get???  It’s just getting hard to have any sympathy for her.