Liz Smith: One for the Really Big Money — Katherine Heigl

And more from our Liz: Kaye Ballard joins other Broadway legends in “Just For Love” … Cindy Adams hosts “Women of Achievement” … and, well — happy birthday to me!

“I BELIEVE that people should cultivate silence and contemplation; both things are imperiled by the web!”

Thus spoke Pope Benedict XVI — and he spoke it on the Vatican’s own website.

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Katherine Heigl, who graduated from TV’s “Grey’s Anatomy” to be a major movie star, is said to have dragged in a $15 million salary for her new comedy film “One for the Money.” Her costars — excellent male actors all — were paid bupkes.

The movie, which is delightful fun, opened third from the top with an $11.5 million bow. If it forges ahead, pretty soon it will have paid the blonde star’s salary costs. And we will see that Katherine has become a real movie star after her bow on the big screen with her 2007 hit “Knocked Up.”

Incidentally, the producer of “One for the Money” is the woman who won an Oscar for dreaming up — and sticking with — a project few others believed in, titled “Forrest Gump.” For that, Wendy Finerman won the Academy Award for best picture and managed an escape from wedlock to onetime movie executive biggie Mark Canton.

Wendy is now wed to the handsome financier David Peterson and lives in a posh Fifth Avenue apartment with him and their charmer, nine-year-old Drew. Wendy is on top of the world.

She denies elements of my story above, saying, “Ms. Heigl’s salary was already in place before I came on board.” I asked Ms. Finerman if she was still friendly with her Oscar-winning star, Tom Hanks, from the “Forrest Gump” days. She says, “He is the greatest guy in the world!”

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KAYE BALLARD, Lee Roy Reams and Liliane Montevecchi are veterans of the yesteryear Great White Way wars. (Kaye starred in “The Golden Apple” … LeRoy in “La Cage aux Folles” and Liliane in “Nine,” among many other hits and misses. They are the true “Broadway babies.”

Now this trio has a new show called “Just for Love,” which translates to “love for dogs and other pets.” They will take it to Austin and Dallas on February 24th and 25th and back to L.A. for March 9th and 10th.

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IF YOU COULD SEE Alan Alda, Jamie Bernstein, Sheldon Harnick, Boyd Gaines, Helen Hunt, Linda Lavin, Patti LuPone, and Faith Prince all at once, well, wouldn’t that be worth your money?

These worthies are already getting together to honor the Juilliard School’s mentor, Mary Rodgers Guettel come April 30th. (You can call Special Events at 212-799-5000, #631 for further details.)

This should be a night to remember! Our Mary, before taking over Juilliard for a spell, won fame for introducing a relative unknown named Carole Burnett in her 1960 musical hit “Once Upon a Mattress.” Can’t wait to honor her.

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NONE OTHER than my old pal columnist Cindy Adams will be hosting the Women of Achievement awards for the Women’s Project Theater on March 5.

Cindy will introduce a special surprise star to honor Thia Breen, Barbara Goldsmith, and Cornelia Guest! And these girls better watch their steps, because Cindy is a wickedly funny emcee.

Get your Fiesta Chic stuff arranged and call 212-647-1828 — or else, Cindy will spank!

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THE WRITER Marie Brenner e-mails from India and then from London to wish me a happy “Groundhog” birthday (which was yesterday). She says of her first stop: “India was happily chaotic as it jerks along in the midst of a Renaissance — or revolution. Now in London, I am thinking, 1000 barges will be going up and down the Thames the first week of June for the Queen’s Jubilee. Let’s come to that and launch the S.S. Lizzie!”

And a big thank you to my longtime friend Don Imus, who also wished me a “happy.” I am pretty bowled over by the smart-as-a-whip David Patrick Columbia, who also saluted me for being something of a veteran myself after 62 years of writing society and showbiz gossip and, now, more or less — philosophy. He includes many many great photos of me and my many friends.

David’s New York Social Diary website, the font of all that is going on among people who “do” and who count, takes this occasion to run down gossip’s memory lane with the likes of Dorothy Kilgallen, Ed Sullivan and Walter Winchell.

But we have to remember, dear David, that whereas Winchell had at one time President Roosevelt as a confidante and gossip source, as well as 20 million readers … well, my point is that at his funeral in 1972, Winchell had only one mourner.

The mighty, the fearsome, the powerful usually fall in the end.

Before I tumble off this planet entirely, I do want to thank Mayor Michael Bloomberg for my birthday flowers. May he never be one of the fallen.

P.S. This column sure ran the gamut from the Pope to Winchell!

7 Responses so far.

  1. avatar Lisa Cornell says:

    Thanks for the mention of the great Kaye Ballard. She is absolutely terrific! I urge everyone to check out her fantastic website for a wonderful trip down memory lane.

  2. I always want to applaud when women get the big bucks, as in $$$. We’ve got some making up to do.

    In the meantime, Liz Smith knows everybody who is anybody and I always find her columns interesting. I love the pope’s comment on his own website. Oh, the irony.

    Go, Liz!

    Susan Gabriel
    author of Seeking Sara Summers  

  3. avatar wlaccma says:

    Thanks to Gov. Bloomberg for his large check to Planned Parenthood to make up for their loss of the grant from Race for the Cure. That is putting your money where your mouth is. Love that guy.

  4. avatar Lila says:

    Liz, don’t rush off the planet, now. We like having you around.

  5. avatar John Dillon says:

    Happy B’day Liz, hope you have many more healthy ones with good times to go along with them. I hope to get to see that event with Kaye Ballard et. al. IMHO Ms. Ballard is one of the most underestimated, underused and unsung major talents in Show Biz. Sort of a predecessor of Carol Burnett, she always had a marvelous sense of comic timing and a glorious voice to boot. I saw her in Carnival and regret missing Golden Apple but know her tune/hit from that one. Love ya both 😉

  6. avatar janie k says:

    Happy Birthday Liz! You are amazing!!

  7. avatar Laura Ward says:

    Happy birthday Liz! I read you every day even if I don’t comment very much…