LEGENDARY TV producer Aaron Spelling, 83, suffered a stroke at his Holmby Hills estate over the weekend and is being treated at home. The man behind “Dynasty,” “Beverly Hills, 90210,” “Charlie’s Angels” and many others, is conscious and resting comfortably. Spelling’s wife, Candy, has been at his side.
IF YOU HAVE HAD a chance to go to a screening of “The Devil Wears Prada,” or have seen the hilarious trailer, you know about the line delivered with bitchy irritation by Emily Blunt, referring to, and
pointing at, fashion world novice Anne Hathaway. “But here’s the backstory,” says Emily, whom I sat with the other day along with her adorable paramour, singing idol Michael Buble.
“That was the best take of that line. And the reason — Anne Hathaway had mooned me! I was barely in control, and neither was Stanley Tucci, who was standing next to her. I totally lost it after David Frankel said “cut.”
Blunt plays a nervously acerbic assistant to icy Meryl Streep’s fashion doyenne. I wouldn’t say she steals the film from Hathaway and Streep, but she’s neck and neck, for sure. Blunt, a British native, is only 23. She’ll next be in the thriller “Wind Chill” and is coming into her own moment. Bigtime.
FINALLY, 20th Century Fox is putting out DVDs on that studio (and Hollywood’s) greatest moneymaking blonde — and I do mean the late Miss Betty Grable.
Fox just put out four Grable musicals, and her rare dramatic role, the noir film, “I Wake Up Screaming.” One of her big hits in 1943 was titled “Coney Island.” In 1950, studio head Darryl Zanuck decided to remake the movie, virtually line for line, with new leading men for Betty. Retitled “Wabash Avenue” it too, was a smash.
Betty was a great, bawdy dame, and a realistic one, too. When she was about to be supplanted at Fox by Marilyn Monroe, the two women were put into “How to Marry a Millionaire” with Lauren Bacall. Grable took Monroe aside on the first day of filming and said, “I’ve had mine, honey. You go get yours.” She was 36, and left the studio soon after.
EVERYONE STILL LIVING who had anything to do with the original “A Chorus Line” some 30-odd years ago gathered at what was once the late inimitable director Michael Bennett’s rehearsal studio. No, it hasn’t a belated wake, but rather a re-awakening — because this record-breaking musical is returning to Broadway in September.
Bob Avian, who will direct the new production, said: “I retired in 2000 and wasn’t really interested in working. But John Breglio, who is now producing, kept begging — he was dogged! … There are exciting new aspects being put in place.”
Set designer Robin Wagner came up with this comment: “You’ll see.” I asked Marvin Hamlisch if he has changed the score? “Nice to see you again,” said the formidable composer as he slipped away.
So, sigh! We’ll just have to wait to have that “One singular sensation” all over again in the fall.
THE HOTTEST INSIDE STORYof network news — or any kind of news — is the latest scuttlebutt concerning the dynamic Roger Ailes of the Fox News Channel.
On the morning that the Army’s special forces in Iraq dropped their bombs on al-Zarqawi, the story goes that the man running Fox News had ordered his minions to be at work early — at 5:30 in the morning. This seems an ungodly time to come to the office but on that particular day, it happened. Thus, the entire crew was on hand to handle this big breaking story.
So, of course, even Mr. Ailes’famous world-traveling boss, Rupert Murdoch, called in wondering if Roger had perhaps been tipped off by pals or informants inside the White House or elsewhere.
Mr. Ailes just laughs and laughs at this.
“We periodically have these early staff get-togethers to stay sharp. I learned about al-Zarqawi’s death as I was driving into work at four in the morning. I was in my car. But nobody is leaking to me!”
I’M A LITTLE LATE writing about a new book I just love — Aaron Latham’s new novel “Riding With John Wayne.” Aaron is from West Texas and happily married to “60 Minutes” star Lesley Stahl. At a recent party for his work, Aaron surprised the guests by reading from a Hollywood diary on which his book is loosely based. This diary covers the author’s adventures during the filming of his hit movie “Urban Cowboy.”
Aaron read aloud to the assembled from his diary. “Director Jim Bridges had something he wanted to show me. He handed me a stack of Polaroids that Bob Evans, our producer, had left behind in his hotel room when he checked out of Houston the night before. Most of the pictures were nude shots of the girls he’d had up to his room, but one turned out to be a shot of Evans himself. He was wearing nothing but a green tie, which was knotted dapperly around his ‘saddle horn.’ ” Evans, it was revealed this week, is getting divorced — again.
If more people making movies kept tart and truthful diaries we’d have a more interesting view of the proceedings.
SO MY VERY GOOD FRIEND the playwright Arthur Laurents called to tell me that Harvey Weinstein
“doesn’t have the rights” to his property “Gypsy.” (Arthur wrote the book for this classic of all classic musicals.) Well, I didn’t say Harvey had the rights. Just that he had dreams of producing a “Gypsy” movie, with Rob Marshall at the helm. And he does have such a dream. No doubt there is many a slip twixt the cup and the lip and there would be lots of talks with Arthur, with Stephen Sondheim and with the estate of the late Jule Styne before this could come to fruition.
But nothing can stop Mr. Weinstein from dreaming big.