Tag Archives: FARRAH FAWCETT

On a personal note: Remembering Michael and Farrah, with a little help from Liza, Larry and Liz

I met him only once, and you could hardly call it ‘meeting.’

LIZA & MICHAEL: friends

LIZA & MICHAEL: friends

We met at the Academy Awards, at the Governors Ball, the big ballroom party immediately following the telecast at which the Academy celebrates the winners and the runners-up. I was sitting on the mezzanine having dinner with my friend Shirley Eder, the Detroit-based show business columnist, her husband Edward Slotkin, and our mutual friend Ginger Rogers. A number of studio executives had stopped by our table to ask me if I would introduce them to “Miss Rogers,” which of course I did. They regarded her as an icon, which of course she was. But since she didn’t regard herself as one, she was always willing to flash that dazzling smile and say hello to perfect and occasionally imperfect strangers, when they approached her. It was the third executive, a senior exec at Columbia Pictures, thriller-michael-jacksonwho asked me if I’d seen “your friend Liza Minnelli. She’s just sitting over there,” he whispered, trying to not to point —  “with Michael,” he added almost conspiratorially.

I looked up and saw Liza. She was sitting next to a well-respected young agent, a hotshot named Michael Black. I wondered why the studio exec had whispered his name. Was Michael Black involved in some scandal so new that I hadn’t heard of it yet? I could see that there were a lot of people gathered around their table, and not just the usual table-hoppers. Women in glamorous farrah_fawcettevening gowns, studio wives mainly, were pulling little instant cameras out of their Christian Dior evening bags and taking snapshots, their little flashbulbs popping. Very odd behaviour, especially at this very A-list event.

Or so it seemed to me, until I got closer to the table. There he was, in the flesh, much bigger and much taller in person, dressed – well, costumed, really — in one of those prince uniforms that looked like they just came out of a Sigmund Romberg operetta. He had his own security team with him, flanking him on both sides, with two more standing behind him. If he was going for incognito, he’d clearly misunderstood the word. I said hello to Liza and Michael Black; I forget who else was at the table. When I said hello to

FARRAH: refreshingly sweet

FARRAH: refreshingly sweet

Michael Jackson, his security goons bristled, but he just looked up shyly, smiled and looked down at his empty plate again.  I don’t suppose he or Liza ever had anything to eat that night. Not when they were so surrounded by diamond-laden Hollywood matrons who continued to walk right up to the table and stare at them as if they were freaks in a sideshow.

Later they actually escaped to the dance floor, and Shirley Eder and I (and half the ballroom, if I remember correctly) immediately followed suit. I think Shirley got a cute story out of it — how she’d sorta shared a dance floor with Michael Jackson, that kind of thing. Still later I learned that Liza had discovered that Jackson was a great fan of her father’s film work, and had spirited

MINNELLI: phone call from the Ladies loo

MINNELLI: phone call

him off to the ladies room, where she found a public telephone – this was long before iPhones, kids — dialed her father’s private number, and beamed while Michael shyly interviewed Vincente Minnelli for his own personal pleasure. I thought of that moment when I watched Larry King‘s show on Friday night, with Liza commenting from Paris, looking profoundly unhappy and a little angry. But she rallied, as she always does. On Saturday, before her evening performance at the Palais des Congres, she danced through Paris on a float in the Gay Pride parade, crying “Freedom!”

Over the years I met Farrah Fawcett two or three times, and each time I found her to be refreshingly sweet, polite, respectful. It was always a pleasure to be in her company. Another gal from Texas, my esteemed Manhattan colleague Liz

SMITH: fellow Texan

SMITH: fellow Texan

Smith, shared her February 2 birthdate and thought of her as one of the nicest women in show business. “I well remember how this dear girl, who became an iconic sensation with her good looks and great hair, always remained devoted to her family and worried about their welfare,” said Liz on her website at wowOwow.com. “We never had a conversation that didn’t lead back to her parents!”

I imagine Liz was as intrigued as I was to see all three U.S. majors, ABC, CBS and NBC, turn over most of prime time to news specials remembering Jackson and Farrah. CBS’ Life and Death of Michael

Jackson garnered the most viewers of the three network specials about the singer, drawing 7.6 million, but ABC’s 20/20 special devoted to Farrah attracted more viewers than any of the Jackson specials, leading the 10 p.m. hour with 8.2 million viewers.

At the end of the day, CBS won the night, but not because of its Michael Jackson special. They attracted the biggest audiences of the night with an 8 pm rerun of The Mentalist, followed by a repeat of CSI at 9 pm.

Were younger viewers glued to their TV sets watching the specials on Michael or Farrah?

Nope. They were all watching So You Think You Can Dance, on Fox.

Ain’t showbiz grand?

TOMORROW:

Raves for stage lions Anne Hathaway and Bruce Dow,

Mia Kirshner’s little sister writes a book,

and Sacha Baron Cohen’s outrageous gay supermodel Bruno

(why wasn’t he in last weekend’s Pride parade?)

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Are the stars out tonight? Yes, for the Dora Awards. But not all today’s showbiz news is happy …

GOOD MORNING, TORONTO: And welcome to another week of razzle-dazzle in Our Town.  Sparklies set to join host Jian Ghomeshi on stage tonight at the 2009 Dora Mavor Moore Awards at the Winter Garden include Anne

GHOMESHI: hosting tonight

GHOMESHI: hosting tonight

Anglin, Cynthia Dale, playwright John Gray, Graham Greene, C. David Johnson, Tom McCamus, Colin Mochrie, National Ballet of Canada soloist Rebekah Rimsay, Ontario Culture minister Aileen Carroll and Mayor David Miller. Director Vinetta Strombergs and writer Briane Nasimok will be talent-wrangling from the wings … what’s NOT happening today? TheNational Post, which is attempting some creative cost-cutting by NOT publishing a Monday newspaper – a new policy that will continue through the Labor Day weekend …  and, of course, Monday garbage pick-up is NOT happening either — unless you’re listening to the right radio station. CFRB wise guys Bill Carroll and Jim Richards are taking trash talk to a new level by sending 1-888-I AM JUNK to pick up trash every week during the strike for six listeners who send the best emails telling why the station should pick up their garbage. The contest ends this Friday, and the winners can invite neighbours to drop off their trash for weekly pick-up as well!

McLACHLAN: celebrating Canada Day

McLACHLAN: celebrating Canada Day

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Singer Paul Potts, who was the Susan Boyle YouTube sensation of his day when he first triumphed on Britain’s Got Talent, serenades tomorrow night at Kitchener’s elegant Centre In The Square. Torontonians will have to wait a couple of weeks more, when he performs here at the Elgin on July 18 … superthrush Sarah McLachlan and Quebec charmer Marie-Jo Thério will headline the party at Parliament Hill on Wednesday night in Ottawa. CBC Television, Radio-Canada and bold will telecast highlights at 9 pm … Tim McGraw and Reba McEntire

DORE: Rivoli-bound

DORE: Rivoli-bound

are set to headline the first annual Cavendish Beach Music Festival on Prince Edward Island on July 10, 11 and 12 … Jon Dore is hosting two nights of comedy mayhem at the Rivoli July 15 & 16 with a very catchy title: The Jon Dore Television Show’s Writers and Jon Dore of the Jon Dore Television Show Stand-Up Comedy Show, Show! Expect an evening of stand-up comedy featuring Dore and his writers Mark Forward, Laurie Elliott and Steve Patterson. “It is important to understand,” adds Dore manager Lorne Perlmutar, “that none of the proceeds of this show will be going to a charitable organization. Jesus is cool.” Whew! That’s a relief … and did you know that Seinfeld alumnus Jason Alexander is an accomplished song-and-dance man? He’ll show off that next-to-secret skill set when he appears at Casino Rama July 25.

MANN:  more honours

MANN: more honours

FLICKERS: Chalk up another win for enduring filmmaker Ron Mann. Last week he received the 2009 Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. Mann, whose hit doc Know Your Mushrooms is now available on DVD, won the award for Individual Artist, and then selected Toronto actor and film-maker Charles Officer (Nurse. Fighter. Boy) as the Premier’s Emerging Artist prize winner … Canuck heartthrob Taylor Kitsch will team up with one of his Wolverine co-stars, Lynn Collins, in the Disney adventure John Carter of Mars. And talk about yer parent traps — Greg Kinnear and Kelly Preston will play Miley Cyrus’

PRESTON: Miley's mom?

PRESTON: Miley's mom?

parents (!!!) in The Last Song, also for Disney … our National Film Board and the Shorefast Foundation will establish Newfoundland’s first e-cinema installation, the NFB’s first English-language e-cinema partnership in Canada.

The new system will use new digital technology to give residents and visitors to Fogo Island access to great works of Canadian cinema from the NFB as well as independent filmmakers. Fogo Island, by the way, is the largest of the offshore islands of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the new project will be launched this November … and management of the merged British film studio Pinewood Shepperton, where The Dark Knight, The Bourne Ultimatum and most 007 epics are shot,  has signed a five-year deal

CRONKITE: failing health

CRONKITE: failing health

to take over the seven state-of-the-art sound stages of Toronto’s struggling Filmport, which will now become Pinewood Toronto Studios.

APRIL SHOWERS IN JUNE: Quite naturally, lots of other news was overshadowed last Thursday by Farrah Fawcett’s passing and the shock waves caused by Michael Jackson’s unexpected demise. The saddest of the lot, for me, was the confirmation that legendary CBS News anchorman Walter Cronkite is seriously ill with cerebrovascular disease and is “not expected to recuperate.” And to add to that unhappy news — not that you were looking for more — neither Mike Wallace nor 60 Minutes creator Don Hewitt are doing very well at the moment.

T.S. Eliot claimed that April was the cruelest month.

Maybe. But this year, June is no picnic either.

TOMORROW:

Remembering Michael & Farrah

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Elaine coaches! Cynthia shoots! Colin scores!

KARPLUK

KARPLUK

In addition to her on-camera duties on CBC’s Triple Sensation this fall, Cynthia Dale was shooting footage in Stratford last week for her upcoming network special … Colin Mochrie is reportedly set to star in the Canadian Stage Company‘s production of Yasmina Reza’s Tony award-winning Broadway hit Art, currently scheduled to run March-April 2010 … and popular Problem Like Maria judge Elaine Overholt, who vocal-coached Richard Gere, John Travolta, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Ellen DeGeneres and a host of others, is taking the plunge with a new reality television series inspired by her hot-seller training DVD, Big Voice.
Stay tuned.

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DENIS

DENIS

LADIES IN RED: Heart & Stroke Foundation’s Heart Truth fashion show was a highlight of Fashion Week, with glamorous runway turns by such famous fair ladies as Marilyn Denis, Monika Deol, Little Mosque’s Sitara Hewitt, Jessica Holmes, Cathy Jones, Sass Jordan, Erin (Being Erica) Karpluk, Lisa LaFlamme, Elizabeth Manley, Heather Rankin, Monika Schnarre and Amy Sky. Credit photographer George Pimentel for so deftly capturing these belles of the ball. To see Pimentel’s portraits of all the girls in their designer duds, click here … great food, great atmosphere, and a great show are the main attractions this week at the Factory Theatre Spring Gala. Tax-receipt tickets are only $125 and include the

JONES

JONES

world premiere of Florence Gibson‘s Missing, directed by David Ferry. To reserve tickets call or email Michelle Yeung at 416-504-4473 or via michelle@factorytheatre.ca … $125 seems to be the bargain price this spring. Single tax-receipt tickets for the 5th annual Scrabble With The Stars extravaganza on Monday April 6 are now on sale for the same price, and include cocktails, dinner and having w-o-r-d-s with the more than three dozen stars. To order yours, call  416–777-9674 (Visa or MasterCard accepted.)

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COHEN

COHEN

QUOTABLE QUOTES: “Undoubtedly the sexiest film about copyright infringement I’ve ever seen.”

The speaker? Jian Ghomeshi, in praise of the EyeSteelFilm-NFB co-production Rip! A Remix Manifesto, which has now opened right across the country.

And just FYI: My spies tell me that Ghomeshi’s fascinating interview with Leonard Cohen last weekend in the National Post was merely a teaser for his upcoming CBC Radio séance with Cohen on the April 16 edition of Q,

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SICK BAY:  Good news is that Robin Williams is reportedly making a quick recovery from open-heart surgery, and that Stacy Keach’s mild stroke

DUNNE

DUNNE

apparently hasn’t slowed him down. He’s expected to return to playing president Richard Nixon on stage in Frost /Nixon as soon as he gets the green light … not so good news is that gifted novelist and legendary Vanity Fair chronicler Dominick Dunne is holed up in the mountains of Bavaria, undergoing daily treatment for bladder cancer at the same clinic rumoured to have given Farrah Fawcett a new lease on life.
We continue to keep all fingers crossed.