Estevez opens up

“I HAVE to divorce Harvey Weinstein first,” quips Emilio Estevez when asked if his long engagement to Sonja Magdevski will soon end in marriage. Now on a roll with “Bobby,” Emilio and Weinstein have been so busy releasing the drama with its 20-odd big stars that he says he hasn’t had time to think about wedlock. “But it will happen soon. Sonja and I have been together for three years and she just got her masters degree and is going for her doctorate.” … “You can’t imagine what it is like for me to be back in the public eye, being asked for my opinion, having people actually listen to me when I have been more or less out of sight for 15 years.” I asked Emilio whether he thinks “Bobby” will ever make any money? “I haven’t the faintest idea. If it does we all have small points — the youngest actors have 1% and the middle ones have 5% and a few of us have 10%. We’ll see.”… Emilio and Sonja have become winemakers, making a Pinot Noir in their garage in Malibu.

THE PENINSULA HOTEL serves high tea but may never be the same again since 20th Century Fox had me meet there with three of my favorites. They were promoting the release of five famous films from “The Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein Collection.” This DVD includes Shirley Jones in “Oklahoma!” 1955 … and in “Carousel” 1956 …Rita Moreno in “The King and I” 1956 … Mitzi Gaynor in “South Pacific” 1958 … and Julie Andrews, who wasn’t available to join us, in “The Sound of Music” 1965. Shirley, Rita, Mitzi and I didn’t have tea. We were too busy “dishing” showbiz, past and present. These women represented several Oscars, Emmys and other awards. … Shirley, fresh from “Oklahoma!” onstage 50 years ago, was tapped for the movie version even though Hollywood had tested hundreds for her ingenue role. She then went on to make “Carousel” in which she was to co-star with Frank Sinatra. She and Sinatra had already pre-recorded the score. But when Frank discovered the movie was being filmed in two processes, he left the set, refusing to return. Shirley tapped her pal Gordon McRae to play the role of “Billy Bigelow.” … Sinatra figured also in Mitzi’s life. She became one of his pets and when they were making “The Joker is Wild,” she got a chance to audition for “South Pacific.” The director refused to let her go but when Sinatra heard about it, he simply said, “We’ll shoot around her.” Mitzi, already a popular musical star, got the job and played Nellie Forbush to international acclaim. She has never forgotten how Sinatra schemed to teach her co-star Rossano Brazzi naughty words. … Rita had great tales of working with Yul Brynner when she played Tuptin in “The King and I.” Yul advised her to do her part with more feelings of womanly resentment and racial pride. So Rita went to the set and let loose a perfect Puerto Rican accent. Yul didn’t find this funny and Rita revised her vision of Tuptin to be more Siamese.

TOM DELAY had a surprise at a lunch get-together to discuss candidates for Time magazine’s person or group of the year. “I think the real person of the year ought to be Nancy Pelosi, the new speaker of the house. She worked for years putting a strategy together, building a huge coalition. She held the Democrats together in the House like I have never seen before. She is going to change America.” … On hand for the discussion conducted by the magazine’s new national editor Richard Stengel, were Estevez, NBC’s Brian Williams, Arianna Huffington, Newark Mayor, former House Majority Leader DeLay and yours truly. … Williams offered an accolade to Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Huffington mentioned Congressman Jack Murtha, North Korea’s Kim Jong-il, Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Hezbollah itself. (E-mail Liz Smith at MES3838@aol.com)

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