THE FABLED but reclusive Lena Horne was 92 years old recently so we still don’t know how this legendary star feels about James Gavin’s new book on her life, “Stormy Weather.” But I did give the incredibly frank and straight-forward biography a big thumbs up when it came out a couple of weeks ago. On its first day of publication, the book made Amazon’s Top 100. Splashy reviews have been everywhere and it made Oprah’s list of “Top 25 Summer Reads.” Gayle King also touted it on “Good Morning America.” There is, of course, word whizzing about for a movie. In late 2007, Oprah announced her plan to star Alicia Keys as Lena in a biopic. But we haven’t heard anything on that front since. I frankly don’t see how they could produce such a movie without generous use of Mr. Gavin’s work, which is a gem of its kind. While Mr. Gavin is traveling to promote “Stormy Weather,” he is also busy with his documentary based on “Intimate Nights:The Golden Age of New York Cabaret.” They have interviewed yours truly, Lily Tomlin, Joan Rivers and Professor Irwin Corey (He is 94 and undiminished in the slightest!) They are trying to see Carol Burnett, Jonathan Winters and Hal Hobrook. (All have said yes.) Phyllis Diller is being cagey but I hope she’ll come around. Meanwhile, I urge you in this summer weather to pick up a copy of “Stormy Weather,” which may just be one of the best biographies about show business, race, love, sex and music ever written.
ON SEPT. 21, the National Academy of TV Arts & Sciences will give Barbara Walters a Lifetime Achievement award. It happens at the Rose Hall of Jazz at Lincoln Center. What? You mean they didn’t already give the first lady of television such an honor? Well, I see so far they have saluted the late Roone Arledge and Tim Russert, Don Hewitt, Tom Brokaw, Bill Moyers, Ted Koppel, Ken Burns, Bob Schieffer and Sheila Nevins. They sure danced around and “took their time” in getting to the incredible Barbara. I guess better late than never.
IT’S GOOD to be King. Just ask George Clooney. It’s good to be cozy with the King. Just ask Thom Matthews, an old friend of George’s who is newly single. (Thom is the pal who allowed Clooney to sleep in his closet when the star first moved to Hollywood in the 1980’s.) George has treated Thom to a golfing trip to Ireland … a fun-filled week in Mexico, at Clooney’s house … and a week with George and the rest of his happy-go-lucky crew at Lake Cuomo, Italy, where Clooney keeps his fabulous villa. The moral is — allow starving actors to sleep in your closet or on the floor or even the window sill. If they are nice, generous guys like George, you won’t have to ever say, “I knew him when but he doesn’t know me now!”
MY TALENTED longtime friend Holland Taylor, the mother-scourge in CBS’ “Two and a Half Men,” is knocking them dead these nights with Buck Henry at their new Off B’way play “Mother,” written by Lisa Ebersole. They are at the Wild Project Theater, 195 East 3rd Street and Andrew Grosso directed these fabulous actors. It’s all about an eccentric family gathering for their annual New Year holiday in an upscale West Virginia resort. Joining the stars are Ms. Ebersole herself, plus Haskell King, Keith Randolph Smith and David Rosenblatt. This runs to Aug. 1, so hurry. Call 212 – 352-0255.