Farewell Jimmy–actor James Garner dies

One of my all time favorite actors (and millions agree), James Garner passed away of natural causes at the age of 86 this morning at his home in California.

James Garner
James Garner

“Magical” writer, Nobel-Prize winner “Gabo” García Márquez dead at 87

Gabriel García Márquez, the Colombian novelist whose One Hundred Years of Solitude established him as a giant of 20th-century literature, died on Thursday at his home in Mexico City, at the age of 87.Gabriel Garcia Marquez 1

Wonderful excerpt from “Gabo’s” obit in the New York Times:

Mr. García Márquez attributed his rigorous, disciplined schedule in part to his sons. As a young father he took them to school in the morning and picked them up in the afternoon. During the interval—from 8 in the morning to 2 in the afternoon—he would write.

“When I finished one book, I wouldn’t write for a while,” he said in 1966. “Then I had to learn how to do it all over again. The arm goes cold; there’s a learning process you have to go through again before you rediscover the warmth that comes over you when you are writing.”

Incidentally: “One Hundred Years of Solitude” is Bill Clinton‘s favorite book. If you haven’t read it yet, you should, and investigate Gabo’s other books, too. Gabriel Garcia Marquez 5Adios Gabo!



Good Wife shocker and Oprah’s ironic cover

Actor Josh Charles, of The Good Wife (on CBS)  wanted to be released from his contract so the show’s creators decided to go the Matthew Crawley route (Downton Abbey) by killing him off. Shocking, of course, but they wanted to stir things up. I’m sure all his fans wish Mr. Charles the best of luck.

Now, about Oprah:

O’s April cover features her drastically Photoshopped in a 1970s flip wig, bulges removed, slenderized, with almost gamine-like legs, and looking 25 or 26 instead of 60. Oprah’s ability to manipulate reality has always fascinated me but what struck me is the cover’s irony.

Oprah constantly lectures about the importance of being “authentic,” yet anyone who watched her in “The Butler,” or during recent TV appearances knows she’s not thin, not even close. For a while O was celebrating her shape, however plump and puffy, and I respected that. However this cover screams disingenuous.



Wish I’d had money on the Oscars race

I followed all the pundits’ Oscar predictions so thoroughly I could have hosted the show and sure enough every one was right. I’m not too shy to say I thought DeGeneres was off her game this time, I hated the pizza business, which went on too long, and didn’t like the set design: ugly recycled dusty water bottles in the shape of Oscars. WTF?

Oscar-winner Liza Minnelli and 1950s screen legend Kim Novak were absolutely scary. Poor Liza was in her jammies and someone has removed Ms. Novak’s cheekbones and broken her jaw.  “Why can’t they age naturally?” my sweet husband asked. Think Judi Dench.

Whoopi was wearing what I can only assume was a painter’s tarp and brown cotton fabric from Michael’s. Too hideous for words. Is it intentional? And I was not amused with her Cat in the Hat stripped socks and Wizard of Oz ruby slippers.

And the short guy wearing Bermuda shorts, accompanied by the tall drink of water girl. OMG! Horrible!

What I did like: all four top Oscar winners gave sane, sober and articulate acceptance speeches. Bravo!

My favorite gowns were Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchette, Kate Hudson, Pink’s red dress, Anne Hathaway, Charlize Theron, Camila Alves, and Bette Midler’s darling Red Carpet frock. By the way I loved Bette’s song tribute.

The best jewels of the night were the $15 million dollar Harry Winston rocks worn by Ms. Theron. Zooie!

Grateful the Academy had the smarts to have lucid younger stars escort and assist some of the ailing antiques: pairing Ms. Jolie with a fragile-looking Sidney Poitier, and a dithering Kim Novak with Mr. McConaughey.

Hoping next year they’ll entice Billy Crystal back to MC.

Sandra Bullock
Sandra Bullock
Cate Blanchett
Cate Blanchett

Oops! Forgot “Heidi” in my Shirley Temple tribute

How could I forget Shirley in one of her iconic roles as the orphaned heroine of Johanna Spyri’s beloved children’s book? The 1937 film featured a host of character actors and actresses in memorable supporting roles, including Jean Hersholt, Arthur Treacher, and frequent co-star Mary Nash.

Watching “Heidi” is a tradition in my family that continues to this day. Even my Mexican-born husband loves the movie and its adorable star and I remember my father making us laugh with his impression of “The Grandfather” as he searched for Heidi, who’d been sold to the gypsies by her evil aunt.

And who can forget the Heidi football game debacle of 1968 when some genius at NBC cut off the last 68 seconds of play between the Oakland Raiders and New York Jets in favor of airing “Heidi?” Don’t you love it?

“So many irate fans called NBC that the network’s switchboard blew. Undeterred, people started calling the telephone company, the New York Times and the NYPD, whose emergency lines they clogged for hours.

Shortly after the Heidi debacle, the NFL inserted a clause into its TV contracts that guaranteed that all games would be broadcast completely in their home markets. For its part, NBC installed a new phone–the “Heidi Phone”–in the control room that had its own exchange and switchboard. Such a disaster, the network assured its viewers, would never be allowed to happen again.” –from History.com.

On the Hoffman death: just my opinion

Once again the media are making a big to-do about the sudden death of yet another celebrity and professional drug addict—this time Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

Yes, he was an excellent actor but does that mean he deserves to get more press coverage than Maximilian Schell, the Oscar-winning Austrian actor who died Feb. 1st at age 83 without 75 bags of heroin at his side?

I know the message about the evils of drug addiction must be shared, it just seems we focus too much on people who don’t deserve our adulation. The fact Hoffman was the father of three young children makes his story even more sordid, his actions more reprehensible. Unlike thousands of addicts, Hoffman had vast resources at his disposal to cope with or kick his depression, obesity and drug habit. Shameful, really shameful.

Actor Peter O’Toole: unforgettable

“I will not be a common man. I will stir the smooth sands of monotony.” Peter O’Toole

With Audrey Hepburn in "How to Steal a Million"
With Audrey Hepburn
in “How to Steal a Million”
As Lawrence of Arabia
As Lawrence of Arabia
With Richard Burton in "Becket"
With great pal and drinking buddy Richard Burton
in “Becket”
With Kate Hepburn in "The Lion in Winter"
With Kate Hepburn
in “The Lion in Winter”

A toast my lovelies to the magnificently flawed, endlessly entertaining, perennial hell-raiser Peter O’Toole, who died in a London hospital on December 14 at the age of eighty-one.

“Lawrence of Arabia, ” one of my favorite films, introduced the world to the flamboyant Irishman named Peter O’Toole and the pesky devil has been in our hearts ever since. Yes, O’Toole was a raging alcoholic, throughly impossible most of the time, but oh, those piercing baby blues, that fabulous wit, that talent!

I deeply admired O’Toole’s blustering performance as King Henry II in “The Lion in Winter,” and how he matched wits with Kate Hepburn (1968); loved him in “My Favorite Year” (what a fantastic supporting cast), and just about everything else he tackled, even the flops.  

O’Toole set a record with eight Oscar nominations and no win, one of Hollywood’s greatest travesties. Visit Wikipedia and see the list of actors he was up against for the coveted statuette and you’ll be flabbergasted at the winners (I am still reeling from his 1964 loss to Rex Harrison, of all people, and his 1968 loss to Cliff Robertson). Any sane person knows O’Toole deserved the Oscar for his magnificent portrayal of T.E. Lawrence in David Lean’s epic Lawrence of Arabia, a film forever etched in our collective memories.

Peter O’Toole knew all 154 of Shakespeare’s sonnets; his best friend was Omar Sharif, he got along famously with Kate Hepburn, with whom he starred in “The Lion in Winter,” (in fact named one of his daughters after Ms. Hepburn), was a huge rugby fan, and his father was a bookie.

Britain’s Telegraph has ten O’Toole stories you’ll want to read and The New York Times has a fabulous write-up, as always.

Another old time movie star passes


The beautiful, versatile and talented actress Eleanor Parker died at age 91 in Palm Springs, California on Monday, December 9. She starred with Frank Sinatra in two films: The Man with the Golden Arm and A Hole in the Head, other great leading men such as Clark Gable, Kirk Douglas, and Fred MacMurray, and was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar three times.

“I have great admiration for Eleanor Parker, an artist of first rank,” said producer-director Robert Wise, who cast her as the glamourous baroness in The Sound of Music (1965) and described her as “perfect” in the role of the woman Christopher Plummer throws over for Julie Andrews.

“A dazzling array of work” —Hollywood Reporter on Eleanor Parker