Tag Archives: BILL CLINTON

Curious about Eppie? Just ask Ann Landers. And, the Who’s Who who cheered Barbra in the village

Ms LONELYHEARTS: After a memorable guest spot as a dying nurse on the first season of Edie Falco’s hit series Nurse Jackie, veteran stage and screen charmer Judith Ivey opens tonight at Manhattan’s Cherry Lane Theater in a one-woman play about legendary lovelorn advice columnist Ann Landers called The Lady With All the Answers.

IVEY: as Ann Landers

IVEY: as Ann Landers

The last time I remember seeing Chicago’s queen of hearts, as Eppie Lederer (her real name) was called, was at Chaz & Roger Ebert’s wedding. Eppie and Brian Linehan were hot-footing it on the dance floor when it started to get a tad too hot for Eppie. “Tame it down, tame it down!” she protested, and Linehan graciously acquiesced.

After dispensing sage advice to thousands of grateful readers, by the end of her career Eppie was most famous for failing to save her own marriage. Also, much to her chagrin, her daughter Margo Howard, who eventually took over her column, would marry four times. But then, when has a daughter ever really listened to her mother?

I was much better acquainted with Eppie’s twin sister Pauline, who was equally famous as the Abigail Van Buren of Dear Abby. In the days when newspapers ruled, the sisters’ columns competed with each other in rival journals. Ann Landers was in the Toronto Star, so Dear Abby ran in The Toronto Telegram (and later the Toronto Sun.)

ABBY & ANN in their heyday (AP)

ABBY & ANN in their heyday (AP)

Eppie was a permanent fixture in Chicago. ‘Abby’ lived in California and enjoyed it. Like her sister, she was bright, vivacious and always good company. One day I walked into Norman Jewison’s beach house in Malibu and Norman, ‘Abby’ and Washington columnist Art Buchwald were all sitting in the living room, busy debating a burning issue of the day. As I approached them Abby looked up at me and beamed.

“We met in Toronto two weeks ago!” she proclaimed, struggling to remember my name. “I know you!”

“I don’t!” said Buchwald with a shrug, and returned to debating with Jewison.

CHANNING: "Absolutely not!"

CHANNING: "Absolutely not!"

Identical twins born 17 minutes apart, the sisters also got a kick out of teasing people when they were mistaken for each other. One night I bumped into Eppie in the bar at the Four Season in Hollywood and started talking about mutual friends in Chicago until I saw the twinkle in her eye.

“Yep,” she said, grinning – “I’m the other one!”

Manhattan gossip girl Liz Smith says that years ago Eppie’s good friend Carol Channing wanted her Hello, Dolly! composer Jerry Herman to make a musical for her to star as Eppie. “To which Eppie said, ‘Absolutely not!’ But now there is a two-time Tony winner channeling Ann Landers,” adds Liz – “and everybody just hopes Eppie approves.”

VILLAGE PEOPLE: Yes, Barbra Streisand really did return to the tiny Village Vanguard club in Manhattan to perform songs from her new album, Love

STREISAND: stage fright?

STREISAND: stage fright?

Is The Answer, with only a jazz quartet behind her. (Chalk it up to the influence of her album producer Diana Krall. Not that there would have been room for an orchestra, let alone a band. “It’s hard to have stage fright,” Streisand remarked, “when, like, there’s no stage!”) Her audience, comprised mainly of contest winners from around the world, were thrilled to find themselves squeezed against such devoted Barbra boosters as Hillary, Bill and Chelsea Clinton, Nicole Kidman, Sarah Jessica Parker, Donna Karan, Barry Diller, David Geffen and composers Marilyn & Alan Bergman. Streisand was reportedly in glorious voice, and in addition to tunes from her new CD, she also reprised a few of her classics, including Evergreen (which she dedicated to a misty-eyed Bill Clinton) and The Way We Were.

Apparently you had to be there to believe it. And don’t you wish you had been?

TOMORROW:

What Julie Stewart and Dan Aykroyd are up to in Toronto.

Colm & Carol & Rick & Annie & Harvey & Sharon & Lana & Lee & Deborah & Joan & …

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Reportedly set to tiptoe through the tulips at the Canadian Tulip Festival in Ottawa next month: Margaret Atwood, Rick Mercer, Fred Penner and Ian Tyson, to name only a few …

BURNETT: any questions?

BURNETT: any questions?

my spies say tickets for the new Stratford production of ‘the Scottish play,’ with Colm Feore as the tortured king, are already selling briskly …  resilient movie mogul Harvey Weinstein will again host the annual Cinema Against AIDS gala and auction at the Cannes Film Festival on May 21. Set to join Harvey in Cap d’Antibes are super auctioneer Sharon Stone, singer Annie Lennox (she’ll serenade the high rollers gathered at the lavish Hotel du Cap) and Bill Clinton, who has proven himself to be a tireless crusader in the battle against the worldwide AIDS crisis … Big Love scene-stealer Jeanne Tripplehorn plays Jackie Kennedy and Jessica Lange & Drew Barrymore play her eccentric cousins when HBO premieres the much-anticipated screen version of Grey Gardens this weekend … also this weekend, Kenny Robinson celebrates 15 Years of Nubian Disciples shows at Yuk Yuk’s. Now that’s an anniversary worth noting! … and just to make you glad you had this time together, Carol Burnett is set to bring her one-woman Q&A show to Massey Hall on June 12.

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GOSH, THEY GROW UP SO FAST: Doesn’t seem possible, but APTN, Canada’s first and only Aboriginal television network, will celebrate its tenth anniversary this September. And as a member of the 2010 Olympic Broadcast Consortium , APTN will also become the world’s first Aboriginal Olympic broadcaster.  And you can check out the net’s sunny new redesigned website by clicking right here.

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REMICK: Anatomy

REMICK: Anatomy

FAMOUS WARDROBE MALFUNCTIONS: Sure, that SuperBowl incident with Janet Jackson was historic in its own way. Fortunately it wasn’t a career-breaker. But I recall at least two wardrobe ‘malfunctions’ that turned out to be career-makers. Lana Turner was set to co-star with James Stewart in Anatomy Of A Murder until she saw the slutty outfits they wanted her to wear. When she refused to show up unless her costumes were changed, director Otto Preminger quietly fired her and hired Manhattan TV actress Lee Remick to replace her. The film created quite a sensation at the time, and three years later the once-unknown Remick won an Oscar nomination for The Days Of

KERR: Eternity

KERR: Eternity

Wine And Roses. And classic British beauty Deborah Kerr feared she’d be forever cast as the proper English schoolmarm until her agent got a call from Columbia Pictures tyrant Harry Cohn. Cohn had just fired Joan Crawford because she refused to wear the blowsy ’40s era wardrobe that had been designed for her; would Ms Kerr be willing to replace her? The enigmatic Ms Kerr was more than happy to do so — and that’s how she ended up on that beach with Burt Lancaster. She won her second Oscar nomination for Fram Here To Eternity, and had collected four more (for The KIng And I, Heaven Knows Mr, Allison, Separate Tables (with Lancaster again,) and The Sundowners before she received an honourary Academy Award in 1994.

The moral of this story? Never lock a clothes horse in a closet.

Or something like that.

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YOU LIGHT UP MY LIFE: Still believe it’s better to light one candle than curse the darkness? Yeah, me too. And apparently we’re not alone. Earth Hour was such as phenomenal success this year that the Canadian World Wildlife Fund has created a new web-based community called The Good Life  I’ve signed up and you can too. To explore and properly exploit the new site, click here.

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SOUTH PARK EXPLAINS IT ALL FOR YOU: Stumped by the fact that huge companies with huge debts are getting financial bailouts while small companies with small debts are going under? You obviously don’t have a proper grasp of the scientific methodology behind all these key decisions. To further your understanding and education of North American economics — no, no really, no need to thank me — just click here.

TOMORROW:  Celebrating Norman Jewison in Hollywood.