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Borrowed Jewels? Not for Real Stars!

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"It's useless to hold a person to anything he says while he's in love... drunk... or running for office!" says Shirley MacLaine.

And James Wood tells us this: "Hug your mother often and tell her how much you love her... Cherish the dead you once loved so carelessly. They still live in our heart."

  • WATCHING WOMEN at awards shows -- the Emmy red carpet being the height in tackiness -- is depressing. They check off "who" they are wearing, what jewels they have borrowed for the night, in a manner indicating they have no idea what they are actually talking about.

    Enduring this, I was reminded of the last time Elizabeth Taylor appeared at the Oscars, in 1993, to receive the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. The business of "who are you wearing, etc." was just taking hold.

    Elizabeth, clutching her honorary Oscar, went to the press room for a few words with the media. She was a bit distant, perhaps keeping in tone with her award, which was not for her career as an actress, rather her great work in the AIDS fight. She wore a gorgeous yellow Valentino gown. We knew that because there had been an old-fashioned press release about the dress. (She certainly did not walk the red carpet and chat about her clothes.)

    But just before she left the press room, she turned and touched the massive Van Cleef & Arpels necklace blazing around her neck. "Oh, and in case you're wondering, this is mine."

    And that, baby, was a star.
  • SPEAKING OF Miss Taylor, the trailers for Lifetime's Liz and Dick movie, starring Lindsay Lohan are beginning to air. What is there to say? I still hold out some hope for Lindsay, despite her inability to stay out of trouble. (I think her mother, Dina's interview with Dr. Phil really said it all!) Liz and Dick looks like it might be grisly fun -- so bad it's good. Along the lines of Valley of the Dolls or Showgirls. On the other hand, we could be pleasantly surprised. Anyway, it airs in November.
  • I WROTE recently about my favorite literary hero, Jack Reacher, created by author Lee Child. The latest Reacher book, A Wanted Man, hasn't received terrific reviews. Many fans are disappointed. But I thought it was pretty darn good! Maybe there wasn't enough action or killing (although naturally there is enough of that!) It is perhaps a quieter adventure. And more than ever, Reacher's super-minimalist life on the road, came through, and seemed even more appealing. He kept challenging people to assess their own lives, chock full of possessions and mortgages and other such worries. Nobody had a good response. Despite some fan griping, A Wanted Man is yet another big bestseller for Lee Child and Delacorte.

    P.S. Paramount is a wee bit nervous over Tom Cruise's coming Jack Reacher movie. The studio is worried that unending, negative Scientology publicity -- accelerated by the Katie Holmes divorce -- could finally do him in. There are even suggestions that Tom will have to choose between his religion or his career! (The Hollywood Reporter has a fascinating take on all this.) You know what? I think Tom will keep both. He doesn't strike me as a man who compromises easily -- or at all. He's on the current cover of People -- "Tom, His Life Alone." Not for long, I'd wager.

  • I went to a Plaza Hotel gala for the American Theatre Wing as a guest of the Dorothy Strelsin Foundation. (Ms. Strelsin was a denizen of the first celebrated revue titled "New Faces" and she was a Broadway lover to the end of her life. I always like to celebrate her.) This was a big event. Lots of the famous showed up to honor the Redgrave Family: Harold Prince, Mary Rodgers Guettel, William Ivey Long, Daryl Roth and her son Jordan Roth of Jujamcyn, John Benjamin Hickey, Willa Kim, Morley Safer, and many more VIPs I probably did not see. Theodore S. Chapin also received a tribute.

    I particularly loved Alan Cumming who sung from Cabaret in honor of the late Natasha Richardson. This guy is one talented stand-out in honoring his fellows. (You also love him on TV in The Good Wife.)

    I enjoyed the two men on my left and right -- Richard Falcone, married to the chef of chefs Mimi Sheraton, sitting across from us, and former Times-man Larry Van Gelder -- a rare journalist who did his apprenticeship on the tabloid New York Daily Mirror. (I told him I came along in NYC in the '50s and he said that Walter Winchell was already a joke to other journalists, even in those days!)

    My escort for the night was the handsomest and most entertaining man in the room, actor Michael Thomas. But our hostess, Enid Nemy, separated the two of us.

    Vanessa Redgrave -- who spoke for Liam Neeson and her dearly departed Lynn and Natasha -- was amazing, as she always is. She looks better and better. My only carp was that they had the beautiful ball room so dark, you could hardly tell who was who at the next table. They could use a spotlight specialist and a sound expert. Light it up and show it off! And make us hear it!

    The food brilliantly passed muster, which is so unusual for a charity event that it deserves mention.
  • SPEAKING of theater, I am showing my friends a drawing by the late Gov. Ann Richards of Texas who opined, "The only one with sense enough to leave the Alamo was a woman!"

    This was in Ann's repertoire of advice such as:

    "You don't have to do it just because he says so... Can't wait to get this girdle off ...Vote early and often... Don't put my Social Security into the stock market... Vote... Quit whining."

    We now know that the Emmy-winning actress Holland Taylor will definitely open in her one-woman show, Ann, on March 7 at the Vivian Beaumont of Lincoln Center. (I already saw this winner of a play, written by Holland herself, at the Kennedy Center and it's great.)

    Missing from this election year, to my dismay, was/is the great American Ann Richards! Let Holland bring a little of Ann back to us.