Ebert's All Thumbs
Movie maniac and noted critic Roger Ebert has just released his autobiography, "Life Itself," in which he goes into great detail about his career and personal life. One anecdote that didn't make into his tome was the TRUE story of how he came up with his trademark "thumbs up" gesture. In an exclusive interview with one of Roger's former high school classmates at Urbana High School, Arthur Keller, of Roger's hometown, Champaign, Ill., I was given the real scoop. It seems as a freshman, during P.E. class, the students were playing dodge ball, and a young Roger, who was constantly bullied, was hit in the hand when attempting to catch a "fast ball" thrown at him by the athletic Keller. "He was a nerdy guy who was always telling people how great 'Citizen Kane' was. I still don't know who this Kane guy is, was he on the Cubs? Anyway, during a game of dodge ball, I aimed right at Roger and pelted him with one of those red gym balls --and it hit him in the hand and broke it. He had a cast on for about six weeks, with only his thumb sticking up through the cast. We used to make fun of him with that one thumb sticking out
you know, telling him to 'Stick it where the sun don't shine' and funny things like that. One day in study hall, he angrily shouted, 'You'll see, I'll make a million dollars with this thumb one day!' He never gives me any credit for it, but I know it was me who gave him the 'Thumbs Up' idea. I hope my story finally can be told."
After a decades-old creative collaboration, movie titans Robert DeNiro and director Martin Scorsese seem to be on the outs. My Hollywood spies tell me when "Bobby D." a lifelong New Yorker, was hosting last weekend's 9/11 TV tribute live from New York City, Scorsese -- another Big Apple native -- wanted to participate and direct DeNiro's segment. But DeNiro became a "raging bull," telling producers he wouldn't work with Marty. "Fugetaboutit, no Marty. If you want him, fine, but you don't get me. Let him call his new buddy Leo to do it." It seems DeNiro, whose movie choices have been suspect the last few years, is veeeerrry jealous of the new screen partnership between Scorsese and young, hunky superstar Leonardo DiCaprio. "It used to be me and Marty, pals for life, but now it's all 'Leo this, Leo that.' I'm an old man but I can still act rings around that kid. But Marty can't get enough of Leo these days." Hell hath no fury like a DeNiro scorned
No Standing O's for Obama
Didja notice how Speaker of the House John Boehner rarely stood up to give President Obama any standing ovations during his jobs speech last week? Most attributed his apparent lack of enthusiasm to simply hard-line partisan politics, but my Washington, D.C. devotees tell me that politics had nothing to do with Boehner being stuck in his chair. A congressional aide whispers that Boehner didn't stand because he couldn't his left leg fell asleep. According to the speaker, "I tried several times to get up, but my leg was numb. It's tough just sitting there behind him for an hour. My leg was all pins and needles. You know that weird feeling? As soon as I put pressure on it, it stung like Holy hell. I kept rubbing it during the speech to get the blood flowing, but the pins and needles just wouldn't go away. I think it's because I was wearing a new pair of shoes and they were too tight. I almost cried it hurt so much. Next time, I'll wear loafers."
Love In Libya?
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his apparent fascination with former U.S. Secretary Of State Condoleezza Rice may not be as unlikely as it seems. After photo albums of Rice were found in Gaddafi's Tripoli compound, the press had a field day at the prospect of a ludicrous "love connection" between the controversial dictator and the former White House honcho. But I've "over-Snerd" that despite his years of tyranny and evil, "Condi" is "flattered" by Gaddafi's attention, and was once heard confiding to an aide during a trip to Libya, "I know he's a horrific and oppressive dictator and all, but sista, that man can wear flowing robes and a military uniform like no one's business. And his hair! Mmm, mmm! Do you think he likes me?" Rice reportedly knew she could never pursue a romance with her Libyan lothario, but during a meeting in 2007, she WAS seen doodling "Condoleeza Gaddafi" in the margins of a top secret terrorism document. Poor Condi, maybe at a different time in a different place, and if the guy wasn't a wacko
Ready For Rosie
With the gabby Rosie O'Donnell preparing to launch her new talk show next month on Oprah Winfrey's OWN Network, I've "over-Snerd" that many of the junk food joints in the Harpo Studios Near West Side neighborhood are expecting to see an up-tick in business while Rosie's in town. The rotund Rosie likes to portray a "healthy" lifestyle, but the owner of a convenience store in the shadow of Harpo Studios, Abdul Momar, told me, "Rosie may be seen in some of the city's hip spots like Hub 51 or Sunda, but I'm expecting to see her more in my little corner store. Look at her
she's not eating sushi every day. I've already left a message at Harpo asking what favorite snacks she'd like for me to stock. All I can tell you is her personal assistant told me she'll definitely call me back. I'm betting you'll be selling lots more Twinkees and Cheetos in my store starting in October."
Not celebrating a birthday anymore: Longtime "Bozo's Circus" producer, Al Hall, 82, and the Oscar-winning star of "Charley," Cliff Robertson, 88; both breathless.
Until next time, keep venting!