10/22/2013 10:45 am ET Updated Dec 22, 2013

What I Found Amusing In Scandal: A Manual

My friend the screenwriter-director Linda Yellen, seeking fabulous young and middle-aged actresses who will play Garbo and Dietrich in her coming film "Blush," is a European traveler right now.

She sent me, a big Lana Turner fan, this photo from above a bar in Dublin. A gang of people drinking decided to vote on who this beauty was?

In Dublin this time of year, it is so cold that nobody's teeth could chatter out the name.

Linda won drinks all around by saying, "It is Liz Smith's favorite -- Lana Turner!"

Listen, even Ava Gardner believed Lana was the most beguiling and great-looking woman in movies, with scores of men to her credit. "You know how they put the older Eskimos on the ice floe?" says gossip columnist Joanna Molloy.

This is what Joanna said to the Times' Jacob Bernstein the other day. She was talking about being fired by a tabloid newspaper. (And I'm thinking maybe the way things are going that the ice floe idea isn't half bad.)

Joanna and husband George Rush have written gossip for the N.Y. Daily News and the N.Y. Post (and so have I) and now there's the advent of their retirement from gossip and a book titled "Scandal: A Manual."

They write me personally to ask whether I think they need to be spanked? Having read their history of days we all lived through already, I'd say I don't care what they wrote about my so-called 'private life.' And naturally, I remember a lot of our history quite differently.

It is always fascinating to see how other people view the times you also have lived through. But I can hardly believe that our mutual then boss, wealthy publisher Mort Zuckerman, ever asked them to lay off of my "sins." He'd never even asked me about such things and I knew him real well and all along, my life was about as "private" as a corner newsstand. If that's the most scandalous thing in their book, well, Lord help us. It was pedestrian in extreme and Mr. Zuckerman's own private life was always so much more interesting and romantic than mine. (And still is!) I doubt he thought about me one way or other.

I don't believe people can really be shocked now as they maybe were back then. I wrote my own memoir in 2000 and sat through tough questions from a man I loved on "60 Minutes". Mike Wallace and I had more fun together finding my star on the Austin, Texas "Walk of Fame," right next to Admiral Chester Nimitz. "Look at that,'re famous!" exclaimed Mike.

Now, if Rush and Malloy are suggesting I might be interested in administering them a spanking... Well, that might be interesting and worth considering. I am always up for new experiences.

• CORRECTION! Owning restaurants is always tricky so, of course, I was mistaken in letting my mind wander so that I said Faith Stewart-Gordon was running Tavern-on-the-Green when I meant to say she was guardian, in the good old days, of the one and only Russian Tea Room. I am sorry!

• SO "they" attacked Elle and Melissa McCarthy because she is wearing a big coat on the cover of the magazine, saying she was covering up her weight--and for shame!

Well, she looks absolutely gorgeous, self-satisfied and confident. That ought to count for something! A lot of women wrote online in reaction to the cover: "The way she looks, she makes me want to get that coat!"

Hey, isn't this the age when women can wear anything they like--or nothing. This fabulous actress has a talent that is bigger than what she wears.

The public now makes such a drama out of everything-- weight and clothes--hardly distinguishing those subjects from world-wide fiscal calamity.

Anyway, more power to Elle and Melissa for doing as they see fit.

• Get this, you dog lovers! My crazy friend Howard Rosenman, who now refers to himself as a "legendary producer," wants us all to co-finance his latest "Shepherd: The Story of a Jewish Dog."

Well, Howard does know everything there is to know about the Jewish religion, history and the Holocaust--and he has a long story of his own struggles as a German shepherd dog lover and movie producer ("Sparkle"..."The Main Event" with Streisand..."Resurrection"..."Father of the Bride"..."Buffy the Vampire Slayer"..."Common Threads" the AIDS quilt documentary...and he acted in "Milk." ) If you'd like to contribute, click here.

On October 28th, our friend Angela Lansbury will be inducted into the Bucks County Playhouse Alumni Hall of Fame in New Hope, Pa. Hal Prince, who directed Angela in "Sweeney Todd" will present the award. Also appearing will be Boyd Gaines, Alfred Uhry, Tyne Daly, Christine Ebersole and more. To get tickets for this event visit or call 212-862-2121.

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