Conversations

“Remember when Century City was the 20th Century Fox Studios movie lot?” I asked Celeste Holm. She had won a Supporting Oscar in the studio’s “Gentlemen’s Agreement” and nominations for “All About Eve” and “Come to The Stable” when she was under contract there after Broadway. We also reminisced about the theater and her early role in the touring company of “The Women” — then a comment from Celeste about Joan Crawford in the original film. Holm and husband, opera singer Frank Basile, were in L.A. for her to receive a Cinecom Film Fest Award (where Frank filmed interviews for a docu on his wife of four years), and to attend “The Women” preem at The Village plus post-party at the Napa Valley Grille in Westwood. Celeste, there in shimmering dress, still looked the movie star at 91. 

Nearby, Mega Ryan was beaming as she received congrats from parading preemgoers for “The Women.” Natch, the ladies wanted to know about all the goodies — purses, perfumes, underwear, all shown generously in “The Women” scenes filmed in night-long shoots in Saks, N.Y. “They gave us everything!” she beamed happily. “Even the Merry Widows?” “Yes — even those!” The super-Saks exposure in “The Women” is priceless. And what store can’t use it today?   

Congrats to Beatrice “Bea” Girmala who is the newly-appointed Hollywood Area Commanding Police Officer, h.q. on Wilcox Ave. She was born and raised in Hollywood. She is a movies fan — and so is her mom, she happily reports. Daily Variety was launched on Vine Street, segued to Yucca, Cahuenga and Sunset Blvds. before heading over to Wilshire.

“The Red Leather Diary” author Lily Koppel arrived in L.A. to meet with ICM agent Josie Freedman after criss-crossing the country with her amazing true story. They’re talking a film version in which author Koppel’s book will intertwine the story of the diary’s original author, Florence Wolfson, now 93, with Koppel’s own. I spoke (on the phone) with Wolfson at her home in Westport, Conn. She admits she’s become a celeb because of Koppel’s book, based on the trash bin discovery of her lost diary — and the national tv, magazine and newspaper interviews that have resulted. The diary has been described as “‘Sex In The City’ in the ’30s”. Wolfson says, “My children (grandchildren and great-grandchilden) thought I was so cool.” Meanwhile, author Koppel has her own story now unfolding with boyfriend and author Tom Folsom, whose book is “The Mad One” (Weinstein). They met three years ago — at a literary party.

Ernie Borgnine’s early Wednesday morning interview tomorrow (by phone) with Howard Stern is a resuLt of Borgnine’s recent aside comment on Fox Morning News.  He says “They asked me, ‘How can you be so young’? (at 91?) And I facetiously murmured, ‘I masturbate a lot’,” he laughed.  But his conversation at the Navy Memorial in D.C. this Friday will be far more proper, Ernie assures us. The ex-Destroyer (WW II) sailor will be toasted by Navy brass as he signs his book “Ernie — The Autobiography.” Anchors aweigh.

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