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Rosie O'Donnell's new digs ... Hollywood veteran Polly Bergen tells all!

"ARE YOU kidding? God is so perfect, He doesn't have to exist!" said one well-known professor of theology when asked to explain creation.

This is from the Jim Holt book "Why Does the World Exist?" I underlined so much in this Liveright book that I have to buy another copy to read it again.

ALL WE know right now is that we are living through something that resembles the beginning of one of the Ice Ages. This summer, we'll hardly remember it.

But winner takes all and it goes to The New Yorker magazine for January 13. The cover? The New York Public Library lions (Patience and Fortitude) have been replaced by two polar bears.

ROSIE O'DONNELL got another bargain recently. She bought a wonderful 1928 house in Saddle River, N.J., for only $6.3 million. It originally was on the market for $9.2 million, according to the Bergen Record. This is just a stone's throw from Manhattan and boasts five bedrooms, six baths, a library, elevator, pool and a wine cellar on almost six acres. This is one of New Jersey's most desired communities and has hosted the likes of Pat and Richard Nixon, Mary J. Blige and many other big celebrities.

NOW POLLY BERGEN, who won an Emmy in 1958 for her portrayal of singer Helen Morgan, is busy writing her memoir. Writer Stephanie Mansfield is the pro who is helping. Mansfield wrote Doris Duke's life story, which was turned into a successful CBS miniseries.

Polly will cover her early Hollywood life when wed to uber agent Freddie Fields, her backroom abortion at age 17, etc. She is best remembered by movie fans as the terrified wife in the original "Cape Fear," with Robert Mitchum and Gregory Peck.

I am told the characters in this memoir will include everyone from Bugsy Siegel to Barbra Streisand to Ardeshir Zahedi to Elizabeth Taylor and Harry Belafonte. The book will cover everything from Polly's taking LSD with Cary Grant to playing Chris Colfer's ("Glee") grandma in 2012's "Struck By Lightning." Publishers can't wait for this tell-all, to be titled "Welcome to Pollywood."

Do you think Broadway has any culture left? Well, the producers of Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" and "Richard III" are announcing 100 percent recoupment of their investment. You should see the incredible British actors in these two plays.

I see that my friend, the once-dreaded TV expert of the Post, Linda Stasi, who's now at the New York Daily News, has her novel "The Sixth Station" out in paperback. This amazing story has been called by some "one of the five best books of the year." Linda is busy writing another thriller.

Linda has defended my poor name from those who think I am Lis Smith of ex-governor of New York Eliot Spitzer fame.

Linda writes: "This seems impossible because, for one thing, Liz Smith has never worn a backless cocktail dress to her family's afternoon Christmas dinner. Smith the First's fashionista pals would have beat her senseless for such a style crime!"

I love watching football on TV no matter who's playing because it is more fun to watch even than ballet. All those big guys hugging, bumping and patting each other on the backside!

But since I don't care who wins and always root for the underdog, I don't always tune in at the beginning of the game. So why -- for four quarters, from the start to the end -- do they never announce what city they are playing in? Would it kill them, as they natter on about everything else?

And we would all learn a lot more if television programs, from time to time, showed us peoples' names under their pictures while they're talking. Then, maybe we might remember who they are the next time.

IF you are going to China -- and even if you aren't -- don't miss reading Knopf's brand-new offering titled "Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China," about the woman who helped the West modernize China. The massive book is by the celebrated Jung Chang and was the most fascinating thing I worked at reading in three days over the recent holidays. (Some critics claim Ms. Chang has tried to rehabilitate the reputation of the last empress when she doesn't deserve it, but you be the judge.)

You won't like the empress much when she helps the Boxers fight against Western invasion and hundreds are murdered. But she maintained her hold for 47 years and used her son and an adopted son, pretty much as she pleased. But after all this, came the deluge of the Mao revolution. Ms. Chang also wrote a past history of that horrible event.

The last empress was just another woman at the top of history, along with Catherine the Great, Queen Victoria and Margaret Thatcher. Writer Chang's work is hard to put down, even when one can barely lift it.

(E-mail Liz Smith at MES3838@aol.com.)

(c)2014 TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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