We sat with Tina Brown at her Bel-Air Hotel lunch table yesterday, along with David Geffen who introduced her. He said,”I first met Tina Brown when she was editing Vanity Fair. Of course, I’d heard about her — she was legendary — but I wasn’t prepared for that thing Tina does whenever you see her — she peppers you. She peppers you with one quesion after another. What’s happening? Who’s hot? What stories should we be looking at? What have we missed? Is so-and-so going to be fired? It’s incessant. It’s the mark of a great editor and a great reporter. It’s non-stop. It’s sort of like Guantanamo with an English accent.”
Geffen said her book, “The Diana Chronicles,” will be Number Two on the New York Times best-seller list, Sunday — and she told me it is Number Three in London. Also at our table was Steve Martin, moustachio’d for his role in the upcoming “Pink Panther 2” again with Kevin Kline, to film in Paris and Boston. Tina told me Steve had given her the galleys of his upcoming memoirs of a stand-up comedian, “Born Standing Up.” Steve had written articles for Tina when she was editor of the New Yorker.
Also at our table, Angela Janklow who had worked for Brown when she was editor of Vanity Fair. One of her articles was about Suzanne De Passe who was also at our table. Also, Rikki Klieman who will present Tina with the Big Bash Award at the California Mart. Also at the table, Oscar winner (“Ed Wood”) Martin Landau…Heading the table was the day’s host, AARP, the Magazine’s Editor-In-Chief, Hugh Delehanty who led Tina into a Q&A.
The night before, on Monday, Tina was also toasted at Spago by Bert Fields and Barbara Guggenheim. She was handshaking with many friends of Hollywood — despite her fractured wrist (left), the result of an accident, tripping over her luggage at Heaththrow.
Among those glad-handing her — Annette Benning and Warren Beatty, Robert Towne, Dan Melnick, Ken and Ellen Ziffren, Gloria Allred, Dominic Dunne, Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, Sherry Lansing. The Spago setting reminded me of the days in the original Spago on the Sunset Strip where Dodi Fayed spent many happy hours. Tina devotes considerably-justifiable space to him and the tragic finale to his — and Diana’s — life. We knew Dodi in his happy Hollywood days when he was pursuing another chapter in his movie production life after the initial success with his involvement in the Oscar-winning “Chariots Of Fire.” We often talked to him about his ideas for “Peter Pan.” He was always pleasant and shy.
I told Tina that Dodi’s father, Mohamed Al Fayed, had reportedly given his son a $100,000 a month allowance and that Dodi had, also reportedly, regularly spent it up in three weeks. Diana writes, in terrific detail, about some of Dodi’s extravagances on Diana in the “Celebrating the Diana Chronicles.” Read it.