And more from our Liz: Michael Musto on fame … Bobby Cannavale — Fanny Brice’s Nick Arnstein in the new “Funny Girl”
“CONSISTENCY is the hobgoblin of little minds,” said Emerson.
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HOW ABOUT the youthful Jacqueline Kennedy of the White House days? She is now revealed in her own words from that long embargoed Arthur Schlesinger interview.
The younger Mrs. Kennedy seems oddly critical and even mean-spirited in her takes on Martin Luther King, Lyndon B. Johnson, Adlai Stevenson, to name but a few. She seems quick on the trigger to condemn and be judgmental about the morals of others — also strangely naïve with regard to her own marriage, given JFK‘s penchant for many sexual encounters. (This was a time when he was heavily involved with Judith Exner.) In retrospect, Jackie more or less forgives (or doesn’t know) about his behavior in these early conversations.
Jackie then certainly doesn’t resemble the woman we New Yorkers came to love and respect after she moved to Manhattan, raised her children as New Yorkers, married and divorced Aristotle Onassis and took a job as a creative, working editor.
Later on, of course, Jackie was super-mindful of her legacy and how she might be quoted. She was charming to everyone except for the paparazzi. She handled the press she could not avoid with kid gloves, sometimes seeking them out at parties in a friendly manner to make small talk. I remember her so well from those days, when she knew how to make spirited intellectual talk about books, history and writers, ask questions and invite reporters to join her appreciation of literature and even gossip. She was so mature and civilized and attractive.
Of course, I see the history in all these unguarded early recorded conversations. She was still most likely in shock from having been widowed in such a horrid dramatic and violent manner. I wouldn’t want to be judged by my own youthful opinions and prejudices, and I have never been through anything as half as tragic as Jackie had. You probably have changed a lot yourself as you have grown older and wiser.
Caroline Kennedy’s gift of her mother’s many legacies is generous and thoughtful, and historians will be grateful. But still, these comments particularly, don’t jibe with the loving remarks attributed to LBJ about Jackie, which Lady Bird also often expressed to me and so many others. In the LBJ library in Austin, Texas, there are devoted letters from Jackie to the Johnsons. These seem sincerely at odds with her youthful expressions of contempt for them.
Jackie was always mighty impressed by the somewhat jaundiced opinions of her brother-in-law Bobby Kennedy.
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HERE’S SOMETHING I want you to read if you are enthralled with the idea of fame and celebrity — and also, where you think journalists belong in this hierarchy. The following was written by Michael Musto, longtime columnist for The Village Voice. It says, better than anybody, what’s what between celebrities and the people who write about them:
“The difference between being famous and not being famous is as enormous as the chasm between Staten Island and Hollywood. And I should know because I’ve had a teensy taste of both realms. I’ve known complete anonymity, which is the most horrible feeling in the world, and I’ve also been on TV enough to have people chase me down the street for autographs, ask me to host their events, and make up lies about me on their websites. I never convince myself that I’m really famous — I just happen to enjoy a modest celebrity fallout because I write about actual stars — but I do sometimes get a lower-level sense of the rush that the biggies must feel, a sweeping sensation of validation that stems from the fact that swarms of people you’ve never seen before suddenly swear they want to have your babies.
“Of course, the weird thing about my job is that moments after I experience that rush, I can get a deafening wake-up call, achieving the rare feat of feeling dizzying notoriety and complete nothingness in the very same day! At a downtowny event, I’ll be photographed and gushed over because people recognize me from all sorts of credits. But at the next to-do, the clipboard girl will ask my name ten times before letting me inside, where a publicist tells me to line up for a possible interview with a B-list celebrity, which is then summarily denied.”
And so it goes; Mr. Musto, who you often see as a comic guest expert on cable talk shows, has just about summed up being a celebrity journalist. Bravo, Musto!
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“TO TELL the truth, it hurt my pride. The groom was prettier than the bride — oh, Sadie, Sadie, married lady that’s me!”
That lyric from “Funny Girl” was funny, but it wasn’t true when Barbra Streisand sang it — especially onscreen, ravishingly photographed by Harry Stradling. And it won’t be true when adorable Lauren Ambrose sings it come next spring when the new, first-ever Broadway revival of “Funny Girl” opens.
Miss Streisand had the suave Omar Sharif to play against, using his good looks to mock her own lack of beauty. (Onstage she had the adorable Sydney Chaplin for several seasons.)
Miss Ambrose, it has just been announced, has captured the hot stage, TV and movie star Bobby Cannavale to co-star as Nick Arnstein, the man who gave Fanny Brice blue marble eggs, and made her feel, “kind of beautiful, you know?”