"NEVER BEGIN anything with a quote!" is the advice given by that fascinating observer, Nora Ephron.
But we began the Liz column ages ago with an opening quote and consider it bad luck to start changing everything around now.
So I was heartened to see a big celebrity saying something astute in Time magazine. Here's the Oscar- winning Kate Winslet on what she feels whenever she hears the omnipresent music of "My Heart Will Go On" from the James Cameron movie "Titanic."
Kate: "I wish I could say, 'Oh, listen, everybody! It's the Celine Dion song! But I don't. I just have to sit there, you know, kind of straight faced with a massive internal eye roll. I do feel like throwing up."
Mr. Cameron does not feel like throwing up.
But (sorry, but there's always a "but"!) the announcement of this engagement is truly a surprise. Can everything we're hearing be true--the French château, the lavish preparations, the big ring, etc? Really? A wedding like that seems to fly in the face of the manner in which this couple has lived their life together for seven years. The explanation is that they are "doing it for the children" who have begun to ask questions as to why the pair are not married, because "people get married in the movies." It was never my impression Brad and Angie's kids were watching a lot of movies where people get married. Or watching a lot of movies, period.
And if the children's angle is true, why go through all this fuss? How about a quick marriage with close friends, family and concerned kiddies attending? How about a secret wedlock, just sprung on us? No need for months of hysteria.
And yes, it can be done. Nobody should ever forget the great example set by John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette. The media wasn't quite as pervasive as it is today, but it was plenty intrusive. Yet, John and Carolyn were literally on their honeymoon by the time the first photos
of their intimate wedding were being released to a stunned world media.
I don't question Angelina and Brad's affection or sincerity, but I wonder about this uncharacteristically "movie star" moment. They generally save that sort of thing for public appearances at awards shows--Miss Jolie's leg-pose at the Oscars is still a subject of hot debate.
And to be honest, I feel for Jennifer Aniston in all this. Oh, not because she harbors any lingering feelings for her ex. But this means an eternity of "poor tragic Jen" on the covers of the weekly glossies. She is hardly that, and such a perception makes her crazy.
I will only assume that if the Jolie-Pitt wedding culminates in the already expected extravaganza, proceeds from sale of photos, etc, will go to charity. That will be a positive thing.
Smith--who won the Oscar in 1969 for "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie"--apparently thinks three seasons on TV is enough, even if it is PBS. She wants to get back on the big screen and stage.
Miss Smith's Dowager Countess will be missed, if the star sticks to her guns.
It doesn't get any better than in exchanges such as when an unwelcome guest at Downton Abbey says to the Countess, "I don't think you'll be seeing me again."
"Do you promise?" says the Countess, wringing all that is scathing and dismissive out of three little words.
Almost every time I go to Swifty's nifty retaurant up on Lexington Avenue near 72nd Street, I run into Gerry's widow, the ubiquitous Patricia Schoenfeld, and she reminds me. I see this lady, too, at every opening night. She is the living memorial to Gerry.
These days, my long-lost relative Mr. Phil Smith is running the Shubert organization and things are much calmer if not quite as exciting for those of us who try to follow "theatah."
So now if you want to get invited to the book party Pat is giving for her dear departed, you have to email RoryS@shubertorg.com and explain why you are worthy to come celebrate the advent of "Mr. Broadway."
I loved Gerry Schoenfeld, a man who dominated the theater world for many years, and I also had many contentious run-ins with him over time. But I admired and got a great kick out of him. He had a wonderful sense of humor. His memoir should be a blast and I'll tell you all about it once I read his book and if I can get into his party April 30 at 6 p.m.