Hot off the presses: HBO’s ‘Winchell’

Guests crowd bow of biopic of gossip columnist

Mr. and Mrs. America (and all the ships at sea) will have to wait until Saturday to see HBO’s “Winchell,” but 700 guests viewed the biopic at the L.A. premiere Tuesday at the Directors Guild Theater.

Herman Klurfeld, who ghost-wrote many of Walter Winchell’s columns and authored the biography upon which the film is based, said the key to knowing the newspaperman was “his vitality and his refusal to compromise on anything. He was always right even when he was wrong. When you have the power he had, you begin to think you’ll never lose it.”

Star Stanley Tucci echoed this sentiment when he said that “no one will ever have the power Winchell had with just words. They’ll have it because they have a weapon or because they hold somebody hostage, but they won’t have it for as long and they won’t have it only with words.”

Among those hearing Tucci speak those Winchellian words of staccato dialogue were director Paul Mazursky, Sharon Stone, Ricky Jay, Laura Linney, Nancy Travis with exec producer Rob Fried, Joe Spano, Jack Carter, and HBO execs John Matoian, Gaye Hirsch and Paige Orloff.