Sony offers book proper send-off

WENT UP to the magnificent Sony offices for Sir Howard Stringer’s “little” party to honor his friend Tina Brown’s kick-off of her magnificent book “The Diana Chronicles.” I met my hero, N.Y. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly going in, and Bette Midler coming out. In between, the literati, the glitterati, the glamourotti, and a few plain old “rottis” were having a swell time kissing, hugging each other, clinking glasses and exchanging gossip. … Howard introduced Tina and she hilariously cited Howard’s ancestors as being the ones who fought and unleashed their arrows at Agincourt under Henry V. She spoke in her usual stampede of the English tongue, which, with her perspicacious train of Zeitgeist thought, always leaves some of us hanging on the ropes. … I began reading the “Chronicles” and started underlining portions I particularly admired and enjoyed, such as: “For women over 35, glamour has three Stations of the Cross: denial, disguise and compromise … Her needs at this juncture had more in common with those of second-act sirens like Elizabeth Hurley … And so Diana, like her role model Jackie, who tried to re-create the fortress of the presidency with the playthings of Aristotle Onassis, was scouring in her last days for a new kind of prince, one who could underwrite the needs of global celebrity.” … She tells us those dishy things, for instance, that the “engagement ring” on display in the Dodi and Diana memorial in Harrods department store, does not match the jeweler’s description of what he said he made for Diana. Tina gets her shots in and across the plate.

THE SHELF life of an actress is usually seven years, by law. That Sharon and myself have survived since ‘Cagney & Lacey’ is something of a miracle.” That’s Tyne Daly, who was Mary Beth Lacey to Sharon Gless’ Christine Cagney in the classic series. Tyne, Sharon and Barney Rosenzweig — Sharon’s hubby and the producer of “Cagney & Lacey” — arrive early for breakfast at New York’s Regency Hotel. Tyne, who says (jokingly I hope) that’s she’s “retired,” sports flawless, gleaming skin and a thick head of salt and cinnamon hair. … The first season of “Cagney & Lacey” is finally available on DVD, and Rosenzweig sighs, “Can you believe it took all this time? And still we don’t know if the rest are coming. They say it’s ‘vintage’ TV and release it incrementally. I say, put it out as a whole box set, the entire run of the show. People who love it, will buy it. Why drag these things on for years? You could die before you see it all again.” … Daly and Gless have genuine chemistry and affection, a back and forth banter that speaks not only of nostalgia, but an appreciation of one another in the here and now. Tyne says she’d heard so much about dissension on TV series sets, she told her manager, “Look, all actors are fakes and liars and live in pretend. But if I don’t get along with this woman (Sharon), I don’t think I’m a good enough actress to fake it, if we go on for years.” Gless chirped, “I knew I wasn’t a good enough actress to work a long time with somebody I hated.” … The women agree that “Cagney & Lacey,” though rooted in a standard “detective” format, broke ground not only because of two female leads, but because of the issues it tackled — alcoholism, breast cancer, abortion, race bigotry and the conflicting personalities of Cagney and Lacey. One woman married with children, the other single and searching — both characters flawed, volatile and vulnerable. Tyne: “Because we were always working to make ‘Cagney & Lacey’ more than a show about us, more than some kind of star vehicle for two women. We knew we had something important to say.”

(E-mail Liz Smith at MES3838@aol.com)

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