Liz Smith: “The Iron Lady” Wins Kudos at Cannes

Actress Minka Kelly and famous boyfriend, Yankee Derek Jeter


And more from our Gossip Girl: Can the world’s sexiest woman ever be “incognito?” … Jesse James says he will party in Hell

“ONE’S LIFE must matter. I will never be one of those women who sits silent and pretty on the arm of her husband,” remarked Baroness Margaret Thatcher

after her husband said, of her ambitions to be the first female Prime Minister of Great Britain: “You must be out of our mind! You haven’t got a hope!”

* * *

I WAS taken back by these remarks to remembering President Ronald Reagan’s funeral, to which I was invited by the kindness and friendship of Nancy Reagan.

I was certainly the least of those attending and I had never even really met the President except once, in the reception line for the Imelda and Ferdinand Marcos state dinner. (The Marcoses were ever fascinating to the New York press; we usually referred to them as “our favorite dictators.”)

At the funeral I was seated close to the aisle in a gaggle of New Yorkers that included the William F. Buckleys, Mike Wallace, and Barbara Walters. I will never forget the spectacle of the former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher as she exited from down front on the arm of an aide. She was frail, but beautifully dressed, handsome in her way, and she had already suffered the stroke that made speaking so difficult.

I thought of this reading and of the triumph of the new film, “The Iron Lady,” which won plaudits at the Cannes Film Festival this week with America’s Meryl Streep in the lead.

Film critic Anita Singh writes: “This film does

justice to its subject, highlighting the emotion behind the stern reputation … Meryl Streep’s transformation is remarkable. Instantly, one feels it is Baroness Thatcher on the screen. The actress is renowned for mastering accents but it is the combination of the voice, the mannerisms and the overall look that makes her performance uncanny. Jim Broadbent as Denis Thatcher, on the other hand, looks exactly like Jim Broadbent…

“All the key moments are here, from becoming Prime Minister in 1979 and delivering her famous, ‘Where there is discord, may we bring harmony…” speech outside No.10 Downing Street to the horror of the Brighton bombing, the battle for the Falklands, ending with her tearful exit in 1990. Denis gently tells her: ‘Throw in the towel, love!’

“There are comic episodes, when she orders, ‘Shoulders back, tummies in,’ as she poses for a photograph with male colleagues and confuses a U.S. dignitary by asking as she pours the tea, ‘Shall I be mother?’ (The film, now bought by Harvey Weinstein for U.S. release, “achieves two aims. First, it shows us that Lady Thatcher’s rise to power took considerable courage. Second, behind the ‘Spitting Image’ caricature was a leader with real emotions.”

* * *

MANY WONDERED why the Baroness Thatcher wasn’t at the recent royal wedding? She didn’t refuse the invitation herself but knowing she’d be invited, her aides had decided the event was too long and would have been too tiring. One said, “If we’d left it to her, she would have gone.”

This was not the case with former PM’s Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. They simply weren’t invited.

* * *

IN THE very good gossip column bylined by the excellent reporter Frank DiGiacomo in the newly-burgeoning New York Daily News, I spy a photo subtitled “Derek Jeter’s main squeeze and soon-to-be Charlie’s Angel, Minka Kelly.” The caption goes on to say that Minka – Esquire’s Sexiest Woman Alive — is trying to remain incognito while shopping in New York City.

She’s trying to remain incognito??? The girl is wearing knee-length shorts, a blue work shirt and an over-skirt sweeping the sidewalk. It is made of see-through gauze. This ensemble is topped by a huge pink scarf and dark glasses. Some incognito!

* * *

REMEMBER JESSE James, the TV personality and motorcycle maven who married Sandra Bullock and then was caught in a cheating scandal, practically seconds after Bullock won the Oscar?

Jesse became “the most hated man in America.” That bothered him for a while. He even thought about ending it all. But he got over that, and now he’s talking to Men’s Journal magazine. James says he takes full responsibility for the split from Bullock. “I cheated on my wife. Guess what? So do millions of men.” (Including movie-stars-turned governors.)

James is no longer afraid of public criticism and he’s not afraid of religious people who tell him he’s going to burn in hell because he burned America’s Sweetheart. “Christians all want to save me. I get it. I’m evil. Someone left a note on my car once. It said ‘Will you party in Hell?’ Probably. Hell’s likely not that bad. It’s probably like Phoenix. You know how shit gets exaggerated.”

James is now involved with a heavily tattooed lady named Kat Von D. James says, “When everybody else thought I was toxic, one person reached out. The fact that Kat is willing to be with me now? And get demonized in the press for it? God, I really love her.”

You really love her? We’ll see. You know how shit gets exaggerated.


9 Responses so far.

  1. avatar Connie Turner says:

    “You really love her? We’ll see. You know how shit gets exaggerated.”

    I just love it Liz. I enjoy your column and your subtle comments.
    Connie T

  2. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    Meryl Streep has this way of capturing the character and becoming the character.  It’s particularly fascinating when the character is someone who exists rather than a fictional character.  Not sure any other actress has been able to do so the way Meryl Streep does.

  3. avatar Mee Hu says:

    “Shit gets exaggerated”– zing!

    And as for the governor’s feet of clay…. I’m saddened. For the longest time I admired his skillful, if unlikely, path to the top of every endeavor… first bodybuilding, then Hollywood, then politics. He’s clearly a man of talent and ambition, and for a long time it seemed he was a good husband as well.

    • avatar Baby Snooks says:

      Few in the entertainment industry are shocked by the revelation although they are wondering why the revelation was made. Some believe it is some sort of  “pulbic atonment” demanded by a “holier than thou” Maria Shriver.  I tend to as well.

      Arnold took responsibility for the child, the mother did not list him as the father on the birth certificate adn in fact stated her husband at the time was the father and stated as much when the Los Angeles Times figured out who she was and contacted her not realizing Arnold Scwarzenegger had made the revelation, the child believed someone else was the father.  In the end the childs’ life will most likely have been destroyed.  For what?

      Maria Shriver said she wanted privacy. Then starts issuing statements. Sounds like she wanted a public atonement. What she needs is a public shaming.   I have never liked her. I like her even less now. The child didn’t matter. Only her enormous ego.

      • avatar D C says:

        That may well be the case.  But for ME, all I could think about was how much more humiliating that the whole world had to hear about it.  To think that this woman was practically a part of their family for 20 years, and all the while she and Arnold were laughing at her.  Shriver may have a big ego, but you know what?  Nobody deserves that. 

        I figured someone got hold of the info and it was about to break publicly so he wanted to beat them to the punch.  Either way, it’s true, this poor child’s life has been destroyed.  I haven’t seen a photo of the child, but some are saying he looks a lot like his father.  That is so sad — he can’t even move across the country and try to start over.  Everyone will figure it out.  It will be a miracle if this kid doesn’t end up strung out on drugs, or suicidal. 

      • avatar cb says:

        Wow really Baby Snooks, what is it with you and the Kennedys? Did one of them run over your dog in your childhood? Can you not muster one ounce of sympathy for a woman (certainly not the first nor the last) whose husband’s betrayal could be so thorough?

  4. avatar Count Snarkula says:

    I don’t know why, but for some reason I cannot wait to see The Iron Lady. Baroness Thatcher is not someone I have had much interest in. Maybe I am excited to see Meryl do another star turn.

  5. avatar Richard Bassett says:

    There is a Sinnead O’conner 1990 song:

    Black Boys on Moppeds

    Margret Thatcher on t.v.
    shocked by the deaths that took place in bejing
    it seems strange that she should be offended
    the same orders are given by her

    She wasn’t a shrinking violet and gave some pretty heavy duty orders while she was Prime Minister, certainly not the delicate flow with the whisper of a voice (due to her stroke). I think that she and the Queen locked horns many times throughout the years. I hope that the movie concentrates on that. Meryl…another character. She certainly has a way with them. She likes playing the lifes of others but even in contemporary roles, she can evoke emotions “The Hours”. She is one of the lucky ones who have balanced a professional and private life. See? It can be done. I wonder who is next. Maybe Mother Teresa! She really wants another Oscar, I mean…15 nominations? (I know she has two) but she shows up at all the award shows. If not next year, maybe the next….

  6. avatar Laura Ward says:

    I watched the Today show this morning and the top stories were about men using their little heads and ruining their lives, Arnold and the I’m F guy. I felt like there had to be something more important in the world than that to report. Yet sexual misadventures seem to fascinate reporters. As one of the public, it doesn’t fascinate me. Wish they’d report more often about a person to look up or something to admire instead of the latest stupidity. So I read Liz Smith and here’s women who I don’t think had a scandal, Margaret Thatcher or Meryl Streep. Thank you!!!