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Posts Tagged ‘Elizabeth Taylor’

Journalist Revisits a Celebrity Biographer’s Fraudulent Ways

The late author’s editor would not talk to reporter David Cay Johnston. Neither would Simon & Schuster spokesperson Paul Olewski.

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But there it is, nonetheless, detailed in the latest issue of Newsweek magazine. The litany of errors and fabrication committed by celebrity biographer C. David Heymann, who passed away two years ago in New York City:

It’s too bad CBS didn’t want to hear more, because all the celebrity bios Heymann wrote for them and other publishers — dealing with JFK, Bobby Kennedy, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe — are riddled with errors and fabrications. An exhaustive cataloging of those mistakes would fill a book, so a sampling from his long career will have to suffice.

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Iranian American Artist Revisits Hedonistic D.C. HQ

Shuttered since the fall of the Shah of Iran in 1979, this U.S. embassy sits vacant in Washington D.C. at 3005 Massachusetts Ave NW. But thanks to a new exhibit of photographs taken by New York-based Iranian American artist Eric Parnes, the building’s raucous, anything-goes heyday is being remembered.

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Parnes’ collection of photographs, shot during a rare, recent visit to the vacant embassy building, are being exhibited at the Ayyam Gallery in Dubai through January 14. The opening night party for the show was last night.

From 1959 to 1961 and again from 1973 through 1979, the man at the center of the embassy’s swirling social activities was Ardeshir Zahedi, now 85 and living in Montreux, Swtizerland. At one point, he dated WaPo columnist Sally Quinn. From a recent Washington Post article by Tahrah Bahrampour:

According to a biography of Elizabeth Taylor, one of many women linked romantically with Zahedi in the 1970s, embassy guests “were afforded their every desire, from champagne and caviar to sexual favors and recreational drugs.”

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LA Times Reader Corrects Doris Day

In the latest telephone interview granted by Doris Day from Carmel, the actress told LA Times reporter Susan King that Hollywood stopped calling after she moved up the coast, and that there was never any Cary Grant-like effort to lure her out of a benevolent retirement from showbiz. But perhaps the actress meant only that no major studio mogul paid her a personal visit.

In the reader comments, user pebrogan reminds that Day was approached to discuss starring in Murder She Wrote, Dynasty and other TV series. He also accurately points out that there was at least one notable feature film entreaty:

There were multiple film offers, most notably from Albert Brooks who went to Carmel in the mid-90′s to offer Miss Day the title role in Mother. Miss Day met with Brooks but ultimately decided against doing the film. Distinguished columnist Liz Smith reported in the early years of the new milennium that Elizabeth Taylor was interested in working with Doris Day.

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THR Real Estate Reporter Rings Up Memorable Lede

Before joining the Hollywood Reporter, Daniel Miller covered real estate for the Los Angeles Business Journal. It’s a beat he knows well, from Scientology historic to Brentwood garish.

This week, thanks to realtor Russ Filice, Miller was able to construct a most colorful opening paragraph. For an article, “Sierra Towers: The Secrets of L.A.’s Strange, Sexy Celebrity Condo Building,” that also reminds just how slickly Janice Min has revamped the once staid trade:

One day in the early 2000s, Filice gave a tour to Eddie Fisher, the former teen idol and singer, and his daughters  Tricia Leigh Fisher and Joely Fisher. The late entertainer’s brood wanted him to move into the 31-story West Hollywood high-rise, and the visit brought back memories for Fisher, former husband to both Debbie Reynolds and Elizabeth Taylor, then in his 70s.

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Toni Braxton and Sisters Debut WEtv Reality Show

The Braxtons

(From left: Traci, Towanda, Toni, Tamar, Trina and mom Evelyn. All photos courtesy of Stephen Knight)

Omg, omg, you HAVE to see this show! That’s what I was thinking last night after getting a sneak peek of the first episode of Braxton Family Values at a press dinner and Q&A held by WEtv at Manhattan’s Pranna restaurant.

Sure, every reality show these days features a quirky family and their oh-so-unique adventures. Insert a has-been celeb, some crazy kids, a loopy housekeeper/nanny/personal assistant, and voila! Instant ratings.  But this, my friends, is different. Braxton Family Values has more layers than my grandmother’s strawberry shortcake. Don’t believe me?

While eldest sister Toni Braxton was climbing the charts and picking up Grammys like they were nothing in the early 90s, her four singing sisters (who look just like her and all have names beginning with the letter “T”) were enduring their own personal and professional dramas. Read more

It Hasn’t Been Easy for Celebrity Magazines to Cover Elizabeth Taylor’s Death

Elizabeth Taylor‘s death was one of the biggest celebrity stories last week — but it’s timing caused no small amount of problems for celebrity magazines trying to make their deadlines. You’ll notice the delayed response on the newsstand, with Taylor only now popping up on many covers.

The New York Post gives a rundown of how the major magazines struggled to cover Taylor’s death in a timely fashion:

Time was actually the first weekly with a Taylor cover mention, inserting a postage-stamp-sized Taylor in the upper right-hand corner of the issue that hit last Friday, with a 10-page feature inside. People editor Larry Hackett pushed up the normal Tuesday deadline by four days and closed the issue last Friday so it could rush copies with a Taylor cover story to newsstands ahead of competitors…. AMI’s National Enquirer, which has had Taylor dying for years, is running with a cover, not too surprisingly, on “The Medical Mistake that Killed Taylor”…

Vanity Fair is also doing its first ever e-book on Taylor, which may come out as early as tomorrow. The e-book, a compilation of previously published VF articles on Taylor with a new introduction by Editor-in-Chief Graydon Carter, will sell for $4.99 through Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s Nook and other e-readers. Said Carter:

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Cleopatra Stand-In Recalls Wonder of Working with Elizabeth Taylor

Recollections about the great Elizabeth Taylor continue to arrive, in all media forms.

At one end of the spectrum is a commemorative magazine published by American Media, parent company of Radar Online and The National Enquirer. At the other is a delightful piece by Joanna Clay in today’s Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot, part of the LA Times family of community newspapers.

Eighty-two-year-old Britsh born resident Sydney Mack (pictured) spent a full year working as Taylor’s stand-in on the mega-budgeted 1963 epic Cleopatra, under the name Patricia Beattie. She became friends with the actress’ husband Eddie Fisher, and got to spend time with Taylor and Burton away from the set:

While out with the couple one day, Mack said she experienced a more vulnerable side of the actress. Taylor had walked away and Burton asked her to go check on her.

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AP Reporter Recalls His Busboy Days with Elizabeth Taylor

In the wake of Elizabeth Taylor‘s death, reporters who crossed paths with her away from the movie set have been sharing their experiences. Hollywood Reporter film critic Todd McCarthy once bumped into the actress in the foyer of Chasen’s, for example.

But the best such recollection so far comes from Southern California AP reporter Jeff Wilson (pictured). When he was a teenager, he worked as a busboy at the now razed Mexican restaurant the El Chiquito Inn, which was right across the street from Warner Bros. in Burbank. During the filming of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, he served Taylor and husband, co-star Richard Burton many times:

I was awestruck. Those violet eyes took my breath away. And that cleavage, well, it (they?) meant a lot to a 16-year-old high school kid… She was a jaw-dropping beauty like no one else.

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Elizabeth Taylor’s New York Times Obituary Writer Actually Died in 2005

The news of Elizabeth Taylor’s passing came as a surprise to many today, but the New York Times has actually had the screen legend’s obituary ready for over half a decade — so long a time that the principle obituary writer, Mel Gussow, actually died in 2005.

The Village Voice reports that Gussow, a Times theater critic who wrote over 4,000 pieces for the paper, died after a battle with cancer at the age of 71.

Sad (and somewhat eerie) news all around.

The Film Elizabeth Taylor Wants To Be Remembered For

Barbara Walters, who was in contact with Elizabeth Taylor right up to the death of the beloved 79-year-old icon in Los Angeles early this morning, told Good Morning America that the actress wanted to be remembered above all for her work in the 1966 film Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

That’s no surprise. Of the nearly dozen film collaborations Taylor made with the love of her life, Richard Burton, this searing adaptation of the Edward Albee play stands as the pair’s best. It won Taylor one of her two Best Actress Oscars and presented the UK born stunner in a far different light, partly because she was willing to gain 30 pounds to play middle-aged Martha. (Haskell Wexler, who took home the Oscar for Best Cinematography that year, was brought on as a last minute replacement to help “beautify” the actress, but that idea thankfully quickly went out the window.)

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