Excerpts from the <i>Variety</i> reporters' hit columns
Jan. 9, 1959 | View PDFGOOD MORNING: Liz Taylor and Eddie Fisher were very much in L.A. last night, champagne-toasting each other at Chasen’s, when the Mirror-News headlined she was a patient at Menninger’s clinic in Topeka. Miss T’s comment on the false yarn: “THIS I’m not going to take sitting down. Watch out!” Jan. 18, 1960 | View PDF The “mystery malady” which laid low Marilyn Monroe is an allergy to medication, she says. “At one time I was out cold,” she admits. “Now, the only thing I’ll take is an aspirin.” MM mystified guests at her cocktail party launching “Let’s Make Love,” Friday, by showing up on time — George Cukor picked her up. Feb. 4, 1966 | View PDF GOOD MORNING: Alfred Hitchcock has few tears for filmmakers complaining about treatment given their chef d’oeuvres by that crassly commercial medium — television. Who should know better than Hitch, who has played both sides of the film fence? “It’s simply a case of knowing what deal you make,” he pleasantly pontificated. “Make your deal first — then, complain — if you can.” April 23, 1968 | View PDF GOOD MORNING: from a runway in the middle of the San Francisco airport — where Steve McQueen threw himself under a Pan-Am 707 in takeoff … It was about 3:30 ayem; the thermometer chattered 34 degrees, the wind, 25 knots, and about 100-knotted stomachs in the crew responded to the scene just filmed for “Bullitt” … McQueen with his usually-flat hair standing straight, ran directly toward the camera so the audience would know — in no uncertain terms — it was he they saw under the plane. “Boy, I love this business,” he grinned … Sept. 29, 1975 | View PDF Cary Grant has his attorneys investigating suits vs. People mag and the Associated Press, the former for printing he has false teeth. “I have to get into court and open my mouth,” said Grant. And the AP suit involves their quotes from a Red Book yarn (which Grant claims doesn’t exist), saying he never loved any of his wives. Feb. 6, 1981 | View PDF Maybe an answer to some of the ill$ of the film biz could be found in Irving Lazar’s talk to the L.A. Bar Association about pix, and the agents’ role. “In the old days,” he said, “you’d talk to men like Louis B. Mayer who once told me, ‘You’re not leaving this room until we make a deal.’ Or you talked to Zanuck, Cohn, Warner, or Goldwyn. Now you’re dealing with computers. The last thing they worry about is — the story.” July 23, 1985 | View PDF GOOD MORNING: The whispering campaign on Rock Hudson can — and should stop. He has flown to Paris for further help. The Institute Pasteur has been very active in research on Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. Hudson’s dramatic weight loss was made evident to the national news last week when he winged to Carmel to help longtime friend Doris Day launch her new pet series. His illness was no secret to close Hollywood friends, but its true nature was divulged to very, very few. He left for France and possible aid from scientists there over the weekend. Doctors warn that the dread disease (AIDS) is going to reach catastrophic proportions in all communities if a cure is not soon found … Aug. 12, 1985 | View PDF GOOD MORNING: Paul Newman has not forsaken the sound stage for the racetracks — he is committed to working with Martin Scorsese on developing “The Color of Money,” to start, it’s hoped, before year’s end. July 10, 1990 | View PDF GOOD MORNING: Indeed, for Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is celebrating “Total Recall’s” hitting the $100 million b.o. mark last night. “It’s the first Summer picture to do it,” the happy Arnold said on the set of his current film, “Kindergarten Cop.” “And no matter what anyone says,” reminded the actor, “it’s a competition. Out here, everyone unleashes its big talents for the Summer. Like Disney unleashed Warrant Beatty; Fox, Bruce Willis; WB, Steven Spielberg (“Gremlins”); Paramount, Tom Cruise and Eddie Murphy.” Schwarzenegger is also happy because he has a piece of the gross — “from the first dollar,” he smiled. June 22, 1995 | View PDF (Michael) Jackson again insisted his purpose was indeed to preach tolerance; again, he said, “From the bottom of my heart, I am not a racist.” And once again, he enumerated for me all his friends and neighbors (by name) who are Jewish — as well as his advisers. So I asked him, “Didn’t any of them hear you record those lyrics — or read them before you recorded them? Didn’t they tell you how counter-tolerance they are? And what damage they would do when they’d become part of the vocabulary of young children who never heard them before? … And what about the promo ad so reminiscent of Nazi storm troopers?” He again said how much he loves and is loved by his Jewish friends and how some, whose names he would not give me, “heard it (the lyrics) over and over. One made me play it over and over again for him.” When I gave Michael my opinion of how wrong they were, he responded with, “I didn’t realize what I was doing.” Sept. 12, 2001 | View PDF It’s not a good morning — and it will not be for a long time to come. “The threat level will be around for a long time,” the FBI tells me. … It’s not surprising that the biz is putting the bizness of award shows on hold. “This is a national crisis and no time to be handing out awards or to comment on what people are wearing,” Emmy producer Don Mischer told me Tuesday morning about the cancellation of Sunday’s Emmy Awards. “They will occur some time in the future, we don’t know when. We don’t even know how many participants will want to fly again soon. We’re in a period of national mourning.” Sept. 1, 2005 | View PDF GOOD MORNING: Like the song says — I’m still here. And I’m still looking for news, just as I have for 52 years. I’ll be manning the phones as usual at my Variety office, and I’ll continue to dig out news wherever it may be lurking, in crowded industry events or at intimate, so-called private, invitation-only settings. I’ll check the darkened booths at Dan Tana’s, the patio at Spago, the agent-packed Grill, even siphon leads out of the noise at the Palm. And in N.Y., at Elaine’s, the new Le Cirque, Michael’s and Joe Allen’
s after theater. My greatest joy will always be getting a “scoop.” The byline will be the same, but it will be atop an occasional story and not atop the column.