I’VE KNOWN Larry King since he was a big radio name down in Washington, D.C. What a ride he has organized for himself through life – and he knows it! Just fasten your seat belt and pick up his latest book “My Remarkable Journey.” I thought I knew everything about my pal Larry but this book is a fast-paced rollercoaster through celebrity and it picks up speed as it goes along through presidents he has known (a lot of them), first ladies who have adored Larry (Nancy Reagan), the days of Sinatra, O.J., Angie Dickinson, Ted Turner — you name your famous person. Larry’s many marriages come in for some minor examination. “Why have I married so many times? I don’t know.” Just loved reading this. Learned a lot. And picked up some brand new VIP anecdotes along the way.
Kelly Killoren Bensimon, the good-looking New York model, actress, author, jewelry designer (There’s no such thing as a simple triple-threat anymore) has become one of the most talked about celebrities in Manhattan. She is a controversial star of the Bravo reality program, “The Real Housewives of New York City” and has been mentioned in various guises on Google with over 440,000 entrees. She has a domestic violence incident in her recent past and is waiting for a verdict in the matter of sentencing. But having known this charmer since she grew up, and even before she wed Elle’s onetime head Giles Bensimon and had two divine little girls with him, I am inclined to take Kelly’s “side” in the matter of slapping a boyfriend who she describes as “obsessive.” He had her arrested. I call that downright unfriendly. Kelly cites the ill-fated “Dorothy Stratton Story” as an example of the kind of involvement which leaves the female of the species unable to get the obsessive one to leave their house and stop harassing. Kelly and I sat down in my apartment building in the celebrated El Rio Grande restaurant for a chat and by 2 p.m. the same afternoon, with nobody on our side calling in, we turned up in Gawker.com as lunching and “having a business conversation.” There wasn’t much business to it; just two longtime girlfriends chatting. I asked Kelly about her much talked-about appearances in the Bravo series. She laughed: “Can you believe I’m the ‘bad girl’ on this show? They have tried to make me into the Angelina Jolie of the bad world. I consider myself so normal.
What I’d really like is to find a real man to live with because I want to have another baby. (Kelly and Giles are divorced but live in the same Manhattan apartment building for the welfare of their daughters.) “Giles and I get along fine and I will always love him as the father of my children. But in the past I felt very insecure as I was raising the girls myself and I felt I was living in a bubble. Now I am ready to reinvent myself and have a real career.” A real career? Kelly has already written three books and soon she’ll be going to California to launch her “Pocahontas” pave jewelry line at Kitson, a very trendy launch for the glamorous bracelets, earrings and necklaces created by Kelly. “I’ll also be in the Hamptons Classic this summer where I’ll be spending lots of time with my children.”
Kelly goes on to say, “I am an aspirational kind of girl. The “Housewives” show was an opportunity for me. In only three months, however, I became a household name, a favorite of Page Six and all the tabloid magazines. They see me as a bitchy socialite, a bad girl from the Country Club set. But the hardest thing in life is to be true to oneself. And I have a great family backing me up — an older sister, a twin brother and my parents in Illinois.”
When the “The Real Housewives of New York City’ starts filming again in August, Kelly seems pretty secure that she will be there. “They’ll go on editing me as flighty and crazy. It’s a caricature. I’ll be saying ‘like’ a lot so they can make fun of me. I did not know the other women on the show before and I don’t now. I realize that their premise is that the more I look bad, the better it is for the show. Sometimes I find them disingenuous and not like real people.
“The producers just love all of it. They know the others feel I think I am better than them. I don’t. But saying bad things about me, gets it all in the papers.”
Kelly faces a sentencing date early in June for her treatment of her obsessive boyfriend, who shall be nameless here. She says, “I don’t really know how to use a mop, but if I have to do community service, I’ll learn. If I’m going to do something, I want it to be important. So whatever will be, will be. And I’ll go on!”
TWO OF my favorite guys — Michael Feinstein and Cheyenne Jackson — are going to get together at Feinsteins at the Regency for June 2-12 in a two-man sexy romantic extravaganza called “The Power of Two.” Michael is the self-created star and conservator of popular music in the Gershwin, Porter, Berlin, Rodgers mode. Cheyenne is one of Broadway’s fab leading men. (If you didn’t see him sexing it up on roller skates in “Xanadu” I feel sorry for you.) Call 212-339-4095. Don’t miss this!