The return of Judith Regan! (New York shudders with delight and fear)

"I WANT IT all and I would like it delivered," said that ever improving philosopher Bette Midler. And today I am going to give you another one -- "None of us know if we've bought our last brassiere," said Elaine Stritch shortly before she left the building.

RECENTLY, there were news stories about how tourists were ruining the Hollywood Hills and attacking the famed Hollywood sign that has been neglected, saved, re-saved and re-salvaged for years and now resurrected to its former glory. It was constructed back in 1923 and it at first read -- Hollywoodland -- until somebody got wise and shortened it in 1949.

I, too, was born in 1923. And like the sign, I too, had my name shortened in 1949 when I graduated from the University of Texas as the newly born Liz Smith.

My admirable friend, the screenwriter-director Linda Yellen, says Liz and the sign are "a lot alike -- both movie crazy."

Speaking of the sign, there is a divine photo of the British actress Emily Blunt posing before what looks like the back of the sign. This prefaces Vanity Fair's magazine spread of the most famous of all the British film stars who have become international names and taken Oscar by storm this year.

Their photos were taken by Jason Bell for a special Academy Award section in Vanity Fair and there are about 40 photos inside. The British actors are led by the glorious Emily Blunt, who I think should have been nominated after "The Devil Wears Prada." But then who pays any attention to me!

Vanity Fair has so many pages of ads and copy in its Hollywood issue that I had to tear the magazine apart in order to read it. But I did manage to take out the section on British beauties, male and female, old and young, and if you send a $25 check made out to Literacy Partners, 30 East 33rd Street 6th floor N.Y., N.Y. 10016, I will personally send this "keeper" to you. You may not live where you can buy the 10-ton popular magazine.

Likewise, I have an utterly ravishing book on Judi Dench, "Behind the Scenes," written by her. It's printed on heavy paper with wonderful personal photos of the woman who won an Oscar for portraying Queen Elizabeth I. She also portrayed "M" of the British Secret Service in the James Bond movies. Send $50 made out to Literacy Partners, same address -- just jot "Liz" on the outside -- and whoever gets to Literacy first, I will mail the book to you at my own expense. (I don't make any salary for wanting to teach adults how to read and write.)

Thank heaven for the return of the controversial dynamo that is Judith Regan, the real comeback kid. If you didn't read Jacob Bernstein's story on this combatant in the publishing and sex world of giant modern "characters," you must go back to The New York Times and read it.

I have been deploring the loss of those real "characters" who once gave New York so much color. I'm not worried now. Judith Regan is back! Let the games begin again.

AS we wrote last week, the movie version of E.L. James' "Fifty Shades of Grey" was banned in Malaysia. So far, that is the most controversial happening regarding this movie. (Although I keep reading that bondage equipment sales are up!)

The film is being released Valentine's Day and the trailer, at least, gives a fairly romantic rather than sadistic impression. A writer from the Daily Mail who has seen the movie declares, "It is not the book!"

A hot opening weekend is expected, even though many also expect "Fifty Shades..." to be an epic bomb that will destroy the fledgling careers of stars Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan. I doubt that. People today are so distracted by social media they hardly care what's hot and what's not, so long as they are Instagramming and Twittering and convincing themselves that they are hot!

The worst that could happen is we won't have a "Fifty Shades" trilogy as planned. Somehow I think we'd survive that.

A FEW Grammy impressions: I thought Kanye West was almost charming on the red carpet, talking with Ryan Seacrest. He actually smiled! It was a stunning moment. Wife Kim Kardashian stood by wearing something ultra-revealing, but then so many take this fashion path. I shouldn't have been fooled by the Kanye smile. Later, he jumped on stage, in a "joking" way to object to Beck winning over Beyonce. (A replay of the infamous Taylor Swift moment.) Thing is, it wasn't a joke. After the telecast, he complained, seriously. Oh, please get over it. Like Beyonce is suffering! Crying into her millions! Anyway, she's not your wife, so can it!

Lady Gaga should always use Tony Bennett as an accessory. The pair, who picked up a Grammy for their album "Cheek to Cheek" were stylin.' Gaga was dressed in a silvery evening gown and looked like a normal woman. Well, she didn't look like she came from outer space, anyway. Taylor Swift was adorable, as always.

Annie Lennox remains divine. Now, that's the way a legend dresses and performs.

Madonna? I actually didn't mind the abbreviated matador get-up everybody seems to be complaining about. (It's Madonna -- a simple gown and we'd have to rush her to the ER for a brain scan!) But then she just had to flash her backside. Been there, seen it. Enough, honey. Her performance of "Living for Love" was fine, although I think it might be time to ditch the high-heels while dancing.

The official video of this song is great and includes the hunky Minotaurs who accompanied Madonna at her Grammy performance. Katy Perry has sharks, Madonna has Minotaurs. Every pop star needs a little something happening in back of them. Or in Madonna's case, all over her!

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


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