LIZ SMITH: Farewell to Phyllis ...

Liz and Phyllis Diller.
Gaga: She's Only 26. She Wants to Screw Around, not Settle Down.
"Fifty Shades of Grey" — Who'll Play "Ana" in the movie version? Congrats to Jennifer and Justin ... Farewell to Phyllis Diller ... Derek Lowe is no Samson — He Wins after a Haircut!
by Liz Smith

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

“LOOK, I’M 26, and I want to make records and party and screw around and wear fake Chanel and do what every other 26-year-old wants to do. I don’t want to settle down and live in a house yet or anything.”

That’s Lady Gaga talking to Vogue’s Jonathan van Meter in the September issue of the fashion magazine. It’s a good piece, with a lot of info and insight into the professional side of Gaga, the phenomenon of her epic shows, her perfectionism. (“I’ve never seen her miss her mark. I’ve never heard her sing a bad note. I have seen the technology fail her, but she has never let us down,” says one insider.)

I must say, however, it took me twenty minutes to find the Gaga story. The September issue of Vogue celebrates the mags 120th anniversary. It is massive. One of — if not the biggest — issues I’ve ever attempted to pick up! (916 pages) Great for Vogue, but if you’ve skipped the gym recently, beware.

Gaga is on the cover, but at first I didn’t recognize her. I thought it was — no kidding — RuPaul. I had to find the cover info on page 194. It’s Gaga, dressed in Marc Jacobs and photographed by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott. Inside the issue she looks more like herself, and quite lovely, especially the nude with the giant pink feathered hat.
IN RECENT years, Hollywood has made big bucks out of turning literary series such as “Harry Potter,” “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hunger Games” into mega-movies. Even TV has gotten in on the act, with HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” Now Hollywood is planning to “movie-ize” another trilogy, I do mean E.L. James’ erotic novel “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Focus Features/Universal Pictures have optioned all three books. The other two volumes are titled “Fifty Shades Darker” and “Fifty Shades Freed.” Well, this tale of sexual adventure, which includes S&M and bondage, is a long way from child wizards or Hobbits, though there was violence and many scary situations in the “Potter” and “Rings” movies. But nobody got tied up or tied down for kicks.

It will be interesting to see who will be chosen to play Anastasia Steele, the 22-year-old protagonist of “Fifty Shades of Grey.” This role is going to require a lot of intensity and, no doubt, some nudity. Who is available in that age range, more or less? Selena Gomez? Dakota Fanning? Miley Cyrus? Taylor Swift? Rihanna? Kristen Stewart? (Since Miss Stewart, who is 22, is getting all the media blame for her indiscretion with director Rupert Sanders, while supposedly attached to Robert Pattinson, she might as well capitalize on her newly sexualized image.)

Of course, the character doesn’t have to be 22, which opens it up for the likes of Natalie Portman, Anne Hathaway, Blake Lively or even — Katie Holmes. Holmes is 33 but looks considerably younger now that she is no longer Mrs. Tom Cruise.

Okay — this is not exactly the search for Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone With The Wind,” but in 2012 Hollywood, “finding Ana” will be a big deal.
I AM late in congratulating one of my favorite Hollywood stars, whom I don’t know, but like a lot. I do mean Jennifer Aniston, newly engaged to hot, hot, hot actor Justin Theroux. Best wishes to both of you. Ignore the media. Unless you’d like to give me your first post-engagement interview! I’m all ears then, Jen.
I NEVER ran into anyone in show business who didn’t like/love Phyllis Diller. Her raucous comedy wasn’t really mean; just absurd. She kept the largest Christmas card list in history.

She was always thrilled to meet the press and every utterance of hers was followed by that cackling laugh. She was her own best audience.

I will miss her incredible costumes ... her laugh at herself ... and receiving the inevitable Yule greeting. The capper was this e-mail from a Hollywood agent on the day she died.

“I saw Phyllis Diller at a dinner party six months ago. To the table, she posed the question: ‘How do you get a nun pregnant?’

“The table gave up on the answer. Phyllis answered the question herself: ‘You f*&# her!’”

She was irrepressible at 95. Harmless. A real professional who had enjoyed her life as comedy.
GOOD GRIEF! The death count for 2012 just keeps mounting. Within a week, we lost the above mentioned Miss Diller, the great character actor William Windom, Veronique, the divine widow of Gregory Peck, and actress Phyllis Thaxter. Miss Thaxter’s obits all mentioned her role as Superman’s adoptive mom in the 1978 version of the Man of Steel’s adventures, but she was well known as one of the most dependable actors in the biz, usually playing the patient wife or girlfriend. She was, by all accounts, a lovely woman.

And of course, Hollywood is truly stunned over the apparent suicide of director/producer Tony Scott, jumping from a Los Angeles bridge.

I hope somebody gets pregnant or has a baby soon, this constant mourning is depressing!
The starring cast of "She's Working Her Way Through College" Ronald Reagan, Virginia Mayo, Don DeFore, Phyllis Thaxter, Gene Nelson, Patrice Wymore, 1952 Warner Bros. Photo by L. MacLean – © 1978 L. MacLean – Image courtesy mptvimages.com.
IT IS just the opposite of Samson and Delilah — that’s my local neighborhood hairdresser Lolita Gomez, a cute little blonde bombshell who operates out of the Bon Bon salon on Third Avenue at 38th Street.

She just happened to be in New Jersey recently.

She cut the hair of brand new Yankee Derek Lowe and here are the pictures to prove it. Derek pitched his first game for the New York Yankees on August 13. The Yankees won 8-2 against the Rangers, despite Derek being shorn. 

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