Talented actress enters rehab

WHO KNEW the Memorial Day weekend would turn out so tumultuous? Rosie O’Donnell didn’t care for the heat and got out of “The View” kitchen, and Lindsay Lohan spent two days on the front pages — a car crash, DUI arrest, cocaine found in the car and then — 48 hours later — photographed falling down and passed out in Hollywood. Rosie is an adult, makes her own choices and seems always to land on her feet, one way or another. She also has a fine-tuned sense of herself as an underdog, fighting the system. I’m not worried about Rosie. Lohan is something else entirely. When Jane Fonda was recently interviewed by Larry King, she spoke glowingly of Lindsay’s talent. Of the young star’s personal problems, Jane said, “I just want to take her up in my arms and carry her off, away from all this for a few years, maybe teach her how to paint.” Dina Lohan, Lindsay’s mother, could take a few lessons from Fonda. Those who don’t derive pleasure from the misfortunes of celebrities have understood that Lohan is a special case; because she is truly talented, her out-of-control behavior all the more shocking, wasteful and disturbing. (River Phoenix, who died from his careless behavior, and Robert Downey Jr., who had to fall even lower than Lindsay, are the names that leap immediately to mind, as Lindsay spirals downward.) Supposedly, the 20-year-old actress has checked herself again into rehab. Some are asking if the relaxed, spa-like facilities some celebs favor are the best way to treat this kind of aggressive self-destructiveness. Perhaps a more rugged cure could steer this beautiful girl — a “girl who has everything” — to a better state of mind and body? The truth is, if you’re not ready to give yourself over to rehabilitation, it doesn’t matter where you go. I’m holding a good thought for Lindsay Lohan. I hope she learns to paint.

THE HAMPTONS in July and August. So much happens there during the summer months, but the coming series of live concerts on the grounds of The Ross School in East Hampton will probably rate at the top in terms of interest and attendance. The setting is intimate and exquisite; the performing stars will be Prince, Billy Joel, James Taylor, Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. At each event guests will enjoy living legends in concert, fine food, drink, art exhibits and luxurious lounges. (Tix are superpricey, so luxury lounging is mandatory for those who can cough it up.) Proceeds go to Ross School’s Steven J. Ross Scholarship Fund. (These concerts are the brainchild of Steve’s widow, Courtney Sale Ross.) Go to http://www.discoversocial.com.

BLAIR UNDERWOOD has only two hands, but he juggles like nobody’s business. As an actor, he’s been seen in a recurring role on TV’s “The New Adventures of Old Christine” and soon tackles HBO’s new series “In Treatment,” playing a Navy fighter pilot home from Iraq and not coping well. As a director he’s got the indie “Bridge to Nowhere” ready for release. This stars Danny Masterson, Ving Rhames and Bijou Phillips. As a producer, Blair is working on the series “Easy Money” for the Learning Channel, about group of lottery winners from St. Louis who went from modest to high-living overnight. And as a novelist, Blair has joined with best-selling authors Tananarive Due and her husband Steven Barnes on a fiction thriller, “Casanegra: A Tennyson Hardwick Story.” It hits the stores in July. This is Underwood’s second book. His first was the nonfiction hit, “Before I Got Here,” a collection of anecdotes from parents about the existence of a child’s soul prior to birth. … “Twenty years ago I was too egocentric and vain to even consider playing someone as physically unappealing as Nixon. Now, I don’t care what I look like onstage.” That’s Frank Langella, Tony-nominated on Broadway in “Frost/Nixon.” Even today Langella is impressive enough, looks-wise that this was offbeat casting. Sometimes these things work out surprising well.

(Email Liz Smith at MES3838@aol.com)

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