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Posts Tagged ‘Sherry Lansing’

A Gaggle of Oscar-Winning Producers

There are all sorts of fascinating group-snippets in the video below, shot by The Hollywood Reporter during a recent gathering of dozens of Academy Award-winning and nominated producers at the home of Robert Evans.

All these years later, Frank Marshall alongside Quincy Jones still can’t get over the fact that the Academy honored The Color Purple with 11 nominations but skipped director Steven Spielberg. Mel Gibson and Alan Ladd Jr. try to remember how they first met. And Jason Reitman (Up in the Air), with father Ivan next to him, details some unusual dynamics:

“I remember the first time I gave a screenplay to my dad – he was basically the first person to read it – he said, ‘Jason, this is a plotless screenplay.’ You can’t be so afraid of plot.’… It’s a very tricky line when your father is your producer and he has to find that moment of when is he being your father and when is he being a producer.”

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Bette Midler, Blythe Danner and Chris Noth’s Advice for President Obama

1003_mockup.gifIf you felt the tremors in midtown around noon, it’s because 55th and Fifth nearly buckled under the weight of all the star power at Michael’s today. Between the Hollywood A-listers (Bette Midler, Blythe Danner, Kate Capshaw),  Democratic dynamos (Kerry Kennedy, Betsy Gotbaum) and talking heads (Star Jones), I was getting a serious case of whiplash trying to keep track of it all.

Just when I thought the crowd had settled in, I spied Chris Noth sitting alone at the bar, and I just couldn’t resist going over for a quick chat. While Julianna Marguilies‘ errant TV husband on The Good Wife waited for his pal, producer Fred Zollo, to arrive, I got him to weigh in on the show’s headline-making sex scenes. “Network television can’t go where cable does, but I did do a scene where we showed just enough oral sex in a bathroom while cable news played in the background,” Chris told me. How could we forget? “That stuff gets people talking, I guess.” Yup.

This season, while his co-star Archie Panjabi steams up the screen, his character is trying for a shot at redemption and is running for governor. “I have no idea whether or not he wins,” says Chris. The ardent Democrat tells me he has no interest in running for office himself. “I’m not one of those actors. All my skeletons are out of the closet!” He does, however, have a keen interest in who wins this year’s presidential election. “A lady on the subway asked me to take a picture with me, and I told her I would as long she voted Democrat!” When I told Chris I was lunching with Robert Zimmerman,  a Democratic National Committee member from New York and one of the party’s top fundraisers, he perked up. “I have a line I want to give him for President Obama! Can you introduce me?” I was only too happy to oblige.

When I brought Chris over to my table to meet Robert and another smart, savvy Democratic booster, producer Joan Gelman, he told Robert, “I’ve got something for Obama: A half truth is the same as a complete lie, and we’re not even hearing half truths from Romney. You ought to pass this along for the Obama circle for  the debate.” Robert assured Chris he would get his comment to the president’s handlers.  When Chris went off to his own table, Robert said, “They ought to take his advice; he’s got a higher approval rating than both parties.”

Chris Noth and Diane Clehane

Chris Noth and Diane Clehane

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Sherry Lansing Makes a Very Generous High School Donation

It’s going to be quite the 50th high school reunion next June for former Hollywood studio exec Sherry Lansing (pictured). Thanks to her pledge of $5 million to the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, she will be basking in not just the glow of her Fox, Paramount and philanthropic success, but also that of a major financial backer.

Lansing’s donation to the “Laboratory +” $55 million drive will go mainly towards the Sherry Lansing Theatre, a 250-seat auditorium to be used as the primary rehearsal space for the high school’s theater and other peforming arts programs. Per today’s announcement:

“Attending the Lab Schools was one of the most important experiences of my life,” said Lansing. “It shaped my value system. I think what I remember most is that the Lab Schools were a non-judgmental environment, where we were totally free to be ourselves. What was important was academics–not other values that people might think are important, such as social status or how you look.”

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Jimmy Buffett, Dr. Ruth and the Usual Suspects

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— DIANE CLEHANE

Those corporate bean counters that put a crimp in expense accounts all over town must be loosening up a bit, because it was SRO today at Michael’s. A slew of magazine folks (See, print isn’t dead after all!), media mavens and the requisite flock of social swans were packed into the dining room. Jimmy Buffett showed up half way through lunch, and the place was so crowded I couldn’t even make out where he landed.

I had a dishy lunch today with MarketWatch columnist Jon Friedman. (Sorry, but most of the good stuff was off the record). Jon, who has toiled for USA Today, BusinessWeek, and Bloomberg, has been writing an online media column since 2005 that’s a must-read for the Michael’s crowd. These days he churns out an average of three columns a week. His recent piece on whether Brian Williams is the new Walter Cronkite generated plenty of buzz and sent HuffPost commenters into overdrive. Jon’s take: Williams is fascinating because, even after getting “the job of a lifetime,” he’s “the rarest case of success because he’s still ambitious.” We both agreed that Brian really came into his own once he loosened up a little off the set and let audiences in on his dry sense of humor and self-deprecating wit through appearances on The Tonight Show and SNL. “A classic!” says Jon.

Earlier this year, Jon launched a weekly online broadcast of Media Matters where he talks shop with media bigwigs. Hearst’s Cathie Black is scheduled for the June 21 broadcast. We’re tuning in.

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. The ‘Imber Gang’: Dr. Gerald Imber, Jerry Della Femina, Andy Bergman and Michael Kramer. (Jeff Greenfield was absent.) I stopped by their table to chat with the guys about the fun piece in the Times‘ Style section last week covering their legendary lunches in the dining room. “It was great,” said the good doctor, who emerged as the star of the piece with some nice plugs for his latest book, Genius on the Edge: The Bizarre Double Life of Dr. William Stewart Halsted. Give that publicist a raise!

2. Peter Brown

3. Nick Simuneck (Terry Allen Kramer‘s hubby, in case you didn’t know)

4. The New York Observer‘s Jared Kushner

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Mika Brzezinski’s Book Party at Arianna Huffington’s House

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Huffington Post senior editor Willow Bay and co-founder Arianna Huffington hosted a book party for Morning Joe co-anchor Mika Brzezinski‘s new book All Things at Once last night at Ms. Huffington’s Brentwood home. Arianna, perhaps one of the most charming people on the planet explained her role in encouraging Mika when her galleys came out. We don’t know why Joe Scarborough was there…also selling his book released in June of last year. But he was. They’re not married to each other right? Did Alan Colmes have to book tour with Sean Hannity? Somehow Joe made it about him,”It was in this room a few years ago that I predicted Barack Obama would never win against the Clinton machine,” he told the swanky LA literati. “Glad it wasn’t on TV.”

Mika, was finally given the microphone and noted she was warned against writing this book because it was too honest and could “damage her brand.” She seem genuinely impressed with the caliber of the crowd.

We spotted Larry David, yes that Larry David. Sherry Lansing was there. Journos James Rainey from LAT, Tina Daunt now of Huffpo LA, Sandra Tsing Loh, Mickey Kaus of Slate.com and of course Lawrence O’Donnell from MSNBC.

We will post more pictures later today.

“What is Your Self-Worth?” Book Party

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Last night at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood (also known as ‘that big blue building), philanthropist Cheryl Saban PhD. celebrated her first book, “What is Your Self-Worth?” with a release party.

The host of the evening? Sherry Lansing former CEO of Paramount Pictures. Yes, this is much higher caliber of party than we normally get invited to…no offense Archibald Cox Jr…Anyway, we were trying to get a picture with Lansing and she did this very impressive pivot and turn and instantly ended up on the other end of the room from us. Like magic. This was no small room. Impressive. So then we decided to harass Arianna Huffington, because well…we figure us bloggers have to stick together. Or at least say hi. Ahem.

Lansing And Friedkin Are…Cubs Fans? Go figure!

Former Paramount chairman Sherry Lansing and husband, director William Friedkin Sherryandbill.jpg
(“Exorcist,” “French Connection”) were spotted at Wrigley Field in Chicago last night sitting right next to former Dodger coach Tommy Lasorda and watching the Cubs go down in flames last night to the L.A. Dodgers.

Not clear whether they were there for the Cubs or Dodgers (as both Hollywoodites presumably still live in L.A.), but FBLA can only assume that as Lansing grew up in the Chicago area, they were there for the forlorn Cubs.

Maybe Friedkin can conjure up one of those Exorcistian chants to give the Cubs a boost.

LAT in 90 Seconds

faithcap.jpgRobbers of the Rich and Famous: A two-man burglary crew has burglarized mansions in the last year, making off with more than $7 million in cash and jewelry from high-powered victims — some of whom may be former Paramount Pictures chief Sherry Lansing, Clippers star Cuttino Mobley, John Taylor, Juicy Couture president Gela Nash-Taylor and Tim McGraw and Faith Hill.

lohcoke.jpgRich and Famous Scofflaw: Actress Lindsay Lohan is out on bail after being booked Thursday in a May DUI case. Go ahead. Pretend you don’t care.

tomhit.jpgMost Tortured Segue of the Day Award: Goes to Gina Piccalo who had the unenviable job of inserting “news” about a big Hollywood party in the middle of a story about Tom Cruise playing a Nazi turn-coat:

The actor shot his first scenes Thursday, an airport sequence that precedes the film’s climax where Stauffenberg flies to Wolf’s Lair, Hitler’s headquarters in East Prussia, and plants the briefcase bomb under a conference table. Production on the film officially got underway Wednesday.

Air travel also figures in Cruise’s real life as he’s scheduled to fly back Saturday night to Los Angeles for a star-studded bash to welcome his new Bel-Air neighbors, David and Victoria “Posh Spice” Beckham. Cruise’s wife, Katie Holmes, is co-hosting the party with Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith.

I hope she got some extra mileage points with her editors for that.

Johnny Lopez on the Lesbian Oscars? Chris Ayres on Everything Else

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Joining us late in the Oscar blogging category are two writers too good to pass up–Johnny Lopez and the London Times’ Chris Ayres. Lopez has the single best line about the event:

The 2007 Academy Awards shall go down as the Lesbian Oscars. From Ellen & Melissa to Jodie & Latifah, the ladies who love ladies were out, well sorta, in full force. Let the red carpet munching begin!

He really should write for the show, as he zings everyone:

James McAvoy It’s not hard to look cute when your most famous role is playing a man-goat in Narnia.

Tracey Edmunds is the biggest beard since ZZ Top.

Sherry Lansing Ladies and Gentlemen, the lost Gilmore Girl.

Tobey Maguire Is he trying to look like Ed Grimley from SNL?

Philip Seymour Hoffman The lesbian Oscars keep on truckin’. Hey everyone, it’s Cynthia Nixon’s ‘husbian’ life-partner.

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Oscars 2007: Sherry Lansing Not Dressing To Impress

oscar_79_statue.jpgAt least one Oscar winner isn’t worrying about what to wear on the red carpet on Sunday. Sherry Lansing, who’ll receive the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award on Sunday, says she thinks the emphasis on dressing to impress the scores of reporters or arm chair critics that consider the broadcast a three hour fashion show is ridiculous. “The pressure, the dresses — the meanness — so and so should have worn that, shouldn’t be wearing that. What are we talking about? When Cher would come with her typical Cher personality wearing her outfits I loved her for it,” says the former studio head turned philanthropist. “It just not authentic now.”

Lansing learned first hand just how out of control Oscar’s fashion derby has become when it was announced she’s be receiving her award. “One of the sad things is that the very first question so many people asked me was, ‘What are you going to wear? I’m a 62-year-old woman. What difference does it make what I wear? I ain’t going to look 22. Hopefully, I’ll dress appropriately — it will be fine for all of my 45 seconds.”

— Diane Clehane