Liz Smith: The Naked Truth About Tom Ford (And Adam Levine)

And more from our Liz: Larry King departs CNN for good … Thursday at Michael’s restaurant … Talking Pictures with Ellen Graham

“4:30 a.m wake up … two doughnuts … trainer arrives 8:00 a.m … 45 minutes of cardio in the home gym … 100 e-mails … one half a banana; several slices of pineapple … zero cell-phone calls … one pre-dinner nap … 4 and a half hours sleep.”

That’s designer Tom Ford, giving Harper’s Bazaar a fast rundown of a typical day. I like best “zero cell phone calls.”

Tom also takes four hot baths a day, and like a good boy, washes his face before he goes to bed. He sleeps nude. In fact, he says, “I rarely wear clothes at all when I am at home.”

Well, Tom and Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine have something in common. Not only does Levine also prefer to go naked around the house, he enjoys being photographed sans clothes. When Entertainment Weekly asked Adam if he was going to continue posing nude, he said, “Of course! You gotta do it while you’re still young!”

Gypsy Rose Lee couldn’t have said it better.

* * *

WELL, LARRY KING and CNN finally parted ways for good. Larry was ousted from his position as the big man with the big interviews — Piers Morgan has that spot. Larry still owed CNN a few specials. Now he’s done. Piers Morgan will never warm the cockles of my heart, but I suppose some people enjoy his smirky style. I do miss Larry’s presence, even on a limited basis.

As for the rest of CNN, it seems to be populated by giggling adults who are always advising us “I am available on Twitter.” Last week, CNN served up wall-to-wall Whitney Houston. Even on the day President Obama was delivering his budget, CNN opened with Whitney, and ran the messy-looking last photos of the singer all through the hour with a big headline “Whitney was drinking heavily before she died!” as if this was even news or disputed by then.

CNN seems to have reached a turning point. It was hard to distinguish between this once-proud news outlet and Harvey Levin’s gossip-fest, TMZ.

* * *

ON A rainy day in Manhattan, there was Michael’s, a’boil with big names: TV and literary and publishing wise. Wednesday is usually the day that publishes who lunched at this power restaurant, but this was a Thursday. Those there on a Thursday didn’t care whether they were written about or not.

There was the advertising legend, Mary Wells Lawrence, back in town for a few weeks … the wOw creator and former editor/publisher Joni Evans … “60 Minutes” reporting star Lesley Stahl … the writing food and politics demon of New Orleans, one Julia Reed … and “Nightline’s” Cynthia McFadden, ABC’s hidden asset late at night in the correct demographic, with blazing ratings. These amazing ladies are said to be about to make news on Sirius XM — radio, the not-so-forgotten way to get news in your ear.

Spotted in Michael’s also was the excellent author Jon Meacham (he wrote the epic book on the relationship of FDR and Churchill) and he is about to move his entire operation to Nashville. I begged him to look up the gifted author Ann Patchett, who has opened a bookstore there in Tennessee. It is called Parnassus Books. Ann is attempting to help real books have a comeback.

* * *

TALKING ABOUT famous people — today I received a wonderful, absolutely amazing coffee table book from the photographer Ellen Graham.

I have known Ellen for years, and she has surprised us now with one of the best collections of the famous I’ve ever seen. (And I’ve seen them all, from Harry Benson to Richard Avedon and Annie Leibovitz.)

This book goes from the “Mink is for football” designer Valentino to the Prince of Monaco, Brooke Astor and C-Z Guest. It also includes Liza, Halston, Cher, Andy Warhol, and movie actors galore. Gloria Swanson is there lying among hundreds of her high heels. It’s quite a book.

Talking Pictures, so titled, is from Pointed Leaf Press, and will be in all the best bookstores. (You remember bookstores where you can feel and smell and hold the pages and pick it up and put it down without turning on your electricity. )

I am thrilled with Ellen Graham’s work and talent. There are 200 images, every one better than the one before. Youthful Warren Beatty is on the cover. But there’s a photo inside of Natalie Wood; it took my breath away. Don’t miss this book!

* * *

P.S. the police investigation to “find out what really happened” to Natalie Wood 30 years ago has quietly closed. Just as I predicted.

And just as I predicted back in 1984, when the LAPD reopened the investigation into Marilyn Monroe’s death. In both cases, it was little more than publicity for upcoming books.

Natalie’s death was a terrible accident. Marilyn probably found herself awash in a sudden depression, and with all those pills on hand, tried to wipe out her misery. Perhaps she changed her mind?

The more you really know about Marilyn’s life, especially during her last year, the less likely you are to believe murder theories. Natalie, too!

But I know people prefer that. More dramatic.

13 Responses so far.

  1. avatar central coast cabin home says:

    Damn, he is good looking. A terrible accident to be sure! We really need to stay out of the personal business of the famous. Disgusting how it plays to the media whores for bucks.

    • avatar MartiRulli says:

      Sometimes you’ve got to defend yourself against spreading ignorance, especially throughout the Internet. What surprises me most regarding media coverage of Natalie Wood’s death is how often facts are not checked before reporting  The Natalie Wood case is very much alive and still being investigated. It will takes months before an official answer is given relating to the new investigation. Liz, sorry, but your prediction was wrong. Detectives are working the reopened case daily. As for the insinuations about my motives for writing Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Splendour, well, it was primarily to help get a slipshod 1981 investigation reviewed. Thus, my book has done its job. I’m very proud of my book that was written with total and genuine respect for truth. Natalie now has her voice. FishbowlLA did their job: they READ my book before commenting.  They called it revealing; an excellent tome. Marti Rulli  

  2. avatar Wiley Canuck says:

    Piers Morgan always looks like he’s smelling something offputting. I agree with you Liz, would have preferred having Larry King on a limited basis. Have no inteest whatsoever in watching PM. Are you going to do your autobiography. I would buy it as your life just seems so fascinating.  

  3. avatar Briana Baran says:

    I know what real book stores are, as I spend a considerable amount of time in them. Rusty and I have a personal library of over 2500 actual books, including some very rare photography and art editions, a lot of them signed. I won’t touch the electronic reading devices…they are not, and never will be the same. I was part-owner of a comics, books and RPG/table-top war gaming store for nine years (before the industry became totally contrived, back in the late ’80’s) and a lot of my books feature some extremely talented artists and writers. I also support small businesses, both locally and on the internet.

    CNN has not been about *news* for a long time, anymore than FoxNews or any other outlet. Which is why I scan the internet looking for tidbits of actuality. Ah, Whitney Houston. When I heard she was dead I didn’t even speculate. I don’t care about toxicology reports and last sad, desperate photos (I have not seen them, and won’t see them). So many vastly talented people gain that societal higher place, and just can’t breathe in the rarefied air. The fall is so lethal for them. I don’t know if they have addictive personalities, if it is the constant pressures and demands to be “On” constantly, if they are never perfect enough in their own eyes, if they fear defeat in the end…either through age or the constant threat of others forcing their own way up from below, or if the only immortality they can find is in a dream of death that becomes an actuality. My heart goes out to her family, especially to her daughter.

    • avatar JCF4612 says:

      If recent reports on Whitney’s daughter Bobbi Kristina are any indicator, she’s well on her way down mom’s path to destruction. 

  4. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    Enough of Whitney Houston! And of this “dissing” of Aretha Franklin. Who obviously didn’t want to lend her name to the truly offensive “friends, family and other assorted strangers” who wanted to take full advantage of the “mourning.”  Over 3 1/2 hours is not a “home going.” It is a “production.” And shame on whoever convinced Cissy Houston to agree to it.

    Marilyn. Liz, no offense, but no one knows. Except Marilyn. And whoever was or was not there that night. At best, well, I believe she was murdered. But long before last weekend, I accepted that it was possible that like so many others she took one pill too many with one drink too many. Although the autopsy indicated she took way too many pills too many. As for others, well, murder makes the myth that much more the myth. But, gain, none of us knows. And never will.

    As for Piers Morgan he has this attitude that as a “journalist” he has the right to “tap and hack” for a story. I don’t think so. So I no longer “tune in” and in fact have for the most part “tuned out” CNN as a result.  We live in a world of “vulture capitalism” and unfortunately in a world of “vulture journalism” some of which is owned by one of the most ravenous of the vulture capitalists. No one enjoys the dirt more than I and I admit it but most of it belongs at the dinner table. Not at the grocery check-out. Or on cable news. At which point it becomes something less than news.

    • avatar Baby Snooks says:

      Of course then there’s Dorothy Kilgallen. Who everyone assumed took one pill too many with one drink too many. And was found dead in bed with a book in her lap. The problem is her reading glasses were found downstairs in the living room. And that of course takes us back to Marilyn. Who may or may not have been among the “loose ends” being tied together in that piece Dorothy Kilgallen was working on. Which was never found.  We like to think murderers are always caught in the end. Depends on who the murderer is I suppose.  As we saw in the case of Ethel Kennedy’s nephew in Connecticutt. Which takes us back to the Kennedys. And to Marilyn. And to Dorothy. And, well, any time somethings amiss, well, people are going to wonder. And people will forever wonder.

  5. avatar Jay Gentile says:

    Susan Finstad’s well-received biography of Natalie Wood — including interviews with people on boats near the Splendor (interviews that were suppressed at the time of Woods’ death) — make it very clear that this was more than an accident. It was a negligent homicide. And Robert Wagner’s despicable behavior should haunt him the rest of his miserable days.

  6. avatar TheTexasMom says:

    My former sister in law was complaining via Twitter about CNN’s coverage of the (long and drawn out) funeral  – Could Jesse Jackson looked more bored? I told her to swtich over to BET.  Who would have thunk BET would have more sincere converage than CNN?  However to be fair, I must say I tuned in and out, caught Kevin Coster and went shopping.  My Lawd, that was a long Lifetime movie.

  7. avatar LuckyLady n/a says:

    Was sick of coverage of Whitney and not surprised at her death.  Decided to try and get some news from hurricanes’ friend Anderson Cooper.  Wrong–he was deeply immersed into God knows what.
    That did it, CNN, but I guess you are giving the general public what it wants.  I was more interested in the closing of Pacific Coast Highway for hours because Obama had a fund raising breakfast in Corona del Mar.  Had to cancel a lunch date with a dear old friend because there was no access to that charming little town.  As to book stores, our last REAL book store closed (sorry Barnes and Noble but you will never be a REAL book store to me).  Now I guess it will have to be Amazon or nothing.  I miss the little comfy couches in the REAL book store which welcomed its customers with open arms, had help which was savvy and could read, and would order anything that you asked for. Ah, me and Bah kindle.

  8. avatar joanne in jax says:


    So glad you mentioned Mary, Joni, Leslie, Julia and Cynthia – all contributors, or original members/founders, of WOW. Where have these ladies gone? We haven’t seen an article from any of these great women, with the exception of Leslie letting us know what’s on “60 Minutes”, for far too long. I really question why their visages on still on the masthead, when we rarely see a contribution from any of them.

    Liz, I so appreciate your constant posts, but you must feel abandoned by the other ‘founders’ of this site. Really, you are the only reason I check this site – you and the always entertaining Margo Howard. I am truly disappointed that your fellow comrades have disappeared, and no longer feel obligated to contribute to this once, truly erudite and intellectual site. When I first logged onto to WOW, I recommended it to all my friends, as the content was varied and endlessly interesting. Not so much these days, with the exception of you, Margo, and, of course, the delightful Mr. WOW.

    I used to love to read of Mary’s travels, Joni’s fabulous short fiction, and Julia’s take on food, art and fashion; also, Marlo’s wonderful articles (which I only now read on Huff Post). I find it disingenuous for these ladies to continue to claim this site, with their portraits displayed in the masthead, when they have ignored their obligation to their creation for months.

    I would love to see WOW restored to its’ former glory; not just some site where regular commentators seem to revel in the constant availability of a format for their ‘inside’ information. You know who you are.

    I love you, Liz, and I will continue to visit WOW, but it is a shadow of its’ former self. Encourage the other creators and contributors to come back and make it great again.


    • avatar LuckyLady n/a says:

      Joanne:  Amen

    • avatar LandofLove says:

      Well said, Joanne. Several features, including “Question of the Week,” have disappeared, and as you indicated, we rarely see articles from the other contributors, who once made this site interesting and a lot of fun. Liz, Margo, and Mr. WoW are great, but let’s see more from the others!