"YES, I have smoked crack cocaine. It was probably during one of my drunken stupors."
This quote from Rob Ford, the mayor of Toronto, Canada, has to go down in history, for so many reasons. Pillows and T-shirts are sure to follow. He says he's not addicted. To crack? Well, I'll take his word on it. He must weigh 400 pounds. Crack whittles away the flesh, as well as your teeth and your mind. I don't know about Mr. Ford's teeth, but his mind? He refuses to step down. Maybe when the video of him holding a crack pipe finally surfaces?
HONORS: Cate Blanchett will receive the Outstanding Performer of the Year Award on Feb. 1 at the 29th Santa Barbara International Film Festival. This award rightly celebrates her performance in Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine." Director Oliver Stone was honored at the Tisch School of the Arts about a week ago. (Stone is a Tisch alum.) He was recognized for his entire career and his recent 10-hour TV series, "The Untold History of the United States," now available on DVD. Stone's wildly controversial feature film, "JFK" is in re-release around the country. Talk about conspiracy theories -- "JFK" is awash in them!
ON Election Day there was New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, his wife Veronica, their son Greg and Playboy writer Glenn Plaskin all chowing down in the Grill Room of the Four Seasons, seemingly oblivious to the future and the mayoral election going on outside.
Coming is Glenn's big interview with the top cop in the nation (for my money), which bows in the magazine on Nov. 15. Kelly is said to be super-candid! Motivational speaker Tony Robbins joined the group because he's in town for an "Unleash the Power Within" seminar, which happens at the Meadowlands later this week. He also has been interviewed by Plaskin.
Tony shared great anecdotes about working his magic with pro basketball teams, coaching presidents and royalty and telling how he met his attractive wife Sage. (She was at lunch too!) Tony is donating 500,000 meals to needy New Yorkers this Thanksgiving. Mrs. Kelly also shared her generous work for the Bowery Mission.
I admire all these people but I am glad I wasn't around when they got the check for lunch! (As Pete Peterson always says when they present the damage, "Thirty dollars for a baked potato! Not bad for a little boy who grew up in a Greek cafe in Carney, Nebraska!")
OBOY -- is there no end to the hubris of one-time sitcom performer Suzanne Somers? Now she is suggesting that she star in a "Three's Company" spin-off, with the late John Ritter's son, Jason, playing her son. The implication will be that "Three's Company" characters Chrissy and Jack married and had a child.
For some reason Ms. Somers has always seemed to confuse herself with the genius Lucille Ball, and Lucy's magnificent creation, Lucy Ricardo.
"Three's Company" went on for quite a few happy seasons minus Suzanne and Chrissy Snow. It was John Ritter who was the real star and comedic glue of that show. Joyce DeWitt was no slouch either, and she remained with the series to its end.
Jason Ritter, a gentleman, has called Ms. Somers' idea "sweet," but not for him.
I FOUND this little item while scouring The New York Times the other day, and it read just like an old episode of "Law and Order: Criminal Intent." A soloist with the Bolshoi Ballet claims he is not guilty of an acid and urine attack that nearly blinded the troupe's artistic head. (You'd think acid would be enough, but apparently the urine heightened the damage.)
The attack, which involved three men, pushed back the curtain on some intense rivalries and dislikes at the Bolshoi. And here we thought Moira Shearer throwing herself in front of train in "The Red Shoes" was extreme!
RECOMMENDED MOVIE star reading of the moment. Stephen Michael Shearer's "Gloria Swanson: The Ultimate Star" and "Ann Dvorak: Hollywood's Forgotten Rebel" by Christina Rice. These should be read in tandem; one the tale of Miss Swanson, the great silent screen star, who made the most sensational movie comeback of all time in Billy Wilder's searing "Sunset Boulevard," playing a great silent screen star.
Ann Dvorak, on the other hand, looked to be on the road to stardom at Warner Bros., but she chafed too often at the restrictions placed upon her. (WB was especially hard on its stars, driving Bette Davis, James Cagney and Olivia de Havilland to fight for better roles and more money.) Dvorak was a brilliant actress ("Scarface," "Three on a Match," "The Private Affairs of Bel Ami.") She was eventually reduced to supporting roles, ended her career early and ended her life in reduced circumstances. Miss Swanson, despite some hard times, after her career in talkies faltered (and her business deal with her lover Joe Kennedy collapsed) lived and behaved like royalty.
The odd thing -- both these women, Gloria and Ann, were similar in many ways -- driven, stubborn, interested in many things outside the purview of the motion picture industry, had bad luck with men. (Gloria had bad luck six times!) Both were forward-thinking, with basically positive attitudes.
Yet who besides the most devoted film fanatic knows of Miss Dvorak? Swanson, thanks to "Sunset Boulevard," is immortal. (Although she played the role of the more-than-slightly-insane Norma Desmond a little too well, in time, that persona enveloped her reputation, and with her lifelong penchant for grandiosity, it was assumed she was Norma, her fabulous early career brushed aside.)
It's fascinating reading on two fascinating actresses. Oh, and if you ever come across a little 1950 Lana Turner stinker titled "A Life of Her Own," stick with it for Ann Dvorak's three scenes. Not only does she wipe Lana off the screen, she practically burns a hole through it!
(E-mail Liz Smith at MES3838@aol.com.)
(c)2013 TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.
Honors for Cate Blanchett and Oliver Stone
We've upgraded our reader commenting system. Learn more about the new features.
The Baltimore Sun encourages civil dialogue related to our stories; you must register and log-in to our site in order to participate. We reserve the right to remove any user and to delete comments that violate our Terms of Service. By commenting, you agree to these terms. Please flag inappropriate comments.