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No retiring people to be seen at this AARP Magazine event

The Baltimore Sun

GLAMOUR! It exists even for some who have passed into "a certain age." Nowhere was this better proved than at last week's AARP Magazine's "Movies For Grownups" awards at the Bel Air Hotel.

The lineup? - Julie Christie, Jackie Bisset, Julie Andrews, Gena Rowlands, Ruby Dee, Angela Lansbury, Shirley Jones and Dana Delany. And a few "glamorous" men such as Michael York, Hal Holbrook and John Cleese.

Everybody was in fine fettle. My friend, the equally glam Caroline Graham, put this together, and Hollywood loves her way with a fete. These get-togethers are more on-the-ball than the typical La La Land gatherings of self-congratulators. "I always feel like I'm in Washington, D.C., when Caroline throws a party," says one veteran. Well, she was a daughter-in-law for some years to the famed D.C. publisher Katharine Graham.

Jones was still exhausted and hyped-up by her recent stint on the daytime soap Days of Our Lives. She said, "I did six episodes in six days. I die in the last one. It's the hardest thing I've ever done!" She plays a 90-year-old woman, an ex-nun, thought dead in a fiery crash - but, of course, people never really die in the soaps. Lord knows Shirley gave it her Oscar-winning all. (Jones' hubby, the ebullient Marty Ingels was on hand, less ebullient than usual. Even Marty has his quiet days.)

The night's theme was the 20th anniversary of A Fish Called Wanda. (The table centerpieces were goldfish bowls, each with one lonely fish swimming inside.) Fish star Jamie Lee Curtis canceled at the last minute - a flu bug. But her co-star John Cleese was there, and overheard to say he's never "felt better or freer." (He just separated from his psychoanalyst wife of 19 years.)

When Dr. Howard Samuels of the Wonderland rehab facility jumped up and left before the main course, everybody began speculating about - Britney, natch! Was Samuels to be Miss Spears' savior? (Spears did not enter Wonderland. She skipped out of UCLA and went back to roaming aimlessly around Los Angeles, accompanied by unsavory boyfriends and the paparazzi.)

Holbrook was asked why his divine wife, Dixie Carter, always refers to him by his full name, "Hal Holbrook." He laughed, "Oh, it's a Southern thing. And she's the ultimate Southern lady. Also, her brother was named Hal and her father's name was Halbert. But they called him 'Hal.' I guess she wants to distinguish me!" (Several years ago, I asked Dixie the same question, noting her formal use of Hal's full name. She seemed surprised, "Do I really? Well, I guess it's a Southern thing." Dixie and Hal are well-mated.)

York just finished a film in Russia and is also narrating an audio version of the Bible. "It's thrilling. I'm recording the entire King James version with sound effects and a musical score!" Michael has a very sexy voice. This will come in handy during the famous love poem, "Song of Songs." And Michael waxed fondly about Elizabeth Taylor, noting that her birthday was just around the corner (Feb. 27). "She has always meant a lot to me because she gave me my first job in the movies, in Taming of the Shrew. She was wonderful, and so was Richard Burton."

AARP stands for American Association of Retired Persons. But on this starry night, retirement was the last thing on anybody's mind!

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