LIZ SMITH: I'M SO VAIN, BUT I'M ALSO 90 Years Old

Liz Smith as an infant.
I'M SO VAIN — BUT I'M ALSO 90 Years Old on February 2nd. And In Lieu of Anything, Please Do Good Deeds In a Naughty World. Donate, Contribute, Make the World a Better Place. I'm Just Fine — Others Are Not.

by Liz Smith
Monday, January 21st, 2013

“BUT please, don’t print that!” people invariably say after they have just told me an incredible story.

I am saying to myself today, “Liz, please don’t print the following.” Well, I am going ahead against my better judgment.

Yours truly, as Winchell used to say, is going to be 90 years on February 2nd. How in the hell did that happen? I still feel as if I am at my favorite age, 28, although I am losing short-term memory, eyesight and hearing and I can’t run anymore.

My elegant friend Billy Norwich, who was once a newspaper columnist himself and has worked for the biggest most important editors in the world, advised me to “claim the age of 90.” I didn’t want to do that because I am so vain. But considering the alternative, I think Billy was right.

The other day my friend Joan Kron of Allure stated in the New York Times that she was the oldest person still working for a living in media. (We are not counting the actress Betty White who is in a class by herself!)

I had to correct Joan. I am, I think, the oldest.

MY friends at the New York Social Diary ... TMS News & Features ... The Huffington Post ... the Chicago Tribune ... and at Fox Television News let me ramble on and the rest of the Internet picks up whatever they like and runs with it.

I am mighty glad to still be here and to be working. Otherwise I’d be bored.

"Entertainment Tonight" is going to tell you anyway when I am 90 and there is no escape from the calendar, despite the Mayans recent dust-up.

What I’d like to state here is that I am hoping to escape the inevitable on Groundhog Day. I don’t care whether the hog sees his shadow or not. I just don’t want him sending me any presents.

When I was only 80 and still had a big newspaper column that you could actually hold in your own hands, I asked people not to spend money sending cards, sachet, stationery, and flowers. A decent birthday card costs two or three dollars. So, I asked readers and friends to send a couple of bucks for The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York.

I thought I might get a few hundred. Instead I was overwhelmed with the sum, give or take, of over $250,000. I passed it on to Mayor Bloomberg who behaved as if he’d never realized he had a Mayor’s Fund. But he did and he could do as he pleased with the money for a good cause. He put me on his Board where I still recline in lazy splendor. And I bask in his friendship.

We went on to raise a few million more for the Mayor’s Fund and have built much-needed shelters for battered women and children.

Now, I want to ask you not to make a big deal out of my being 90! Make me happy and send me a few dollars you would waste on a gift, c/o Suite 26A, 160 East 38 Street, 10016. It can be made out to one of my favorite charities. They are:

L. to. r.: Lizzie Awardee Jackie Weld Drake; President of Maria Droste Counseling Services Elizabeth Peabody; Living Landmarks Marshall Rose and Candice Bergen.
Literacy Partners, which tries to teach millions of adult New Yorkers how to read and write at the 5th grade level. This is truly hard work done person-to-person. Its annual fundraiser is May 1 and Jackie Weld Drake will get The Lizzie Award.

The New York Landmarks Conservancy, which helps save monuments, buildings, churches and anything else worthwhile about to be torn down to the City’s detriment.

This charity makes deserving New Yorkers into “Living Landmarks” and next November 14th celebrates the 40th year of doing so at the Plaza Hotel with a “black and white” ball. Celebrities galore!

The Maria Droste Counseling Services. This is run by Elizabeth Taylor Peabody and offers psychiatric help to those who can’t afford it. We will be putting on a little show this year on April 9th with the help of our pal Whoopi Goldberg and this fund-raiser is a real rising and popular comer.

The New York Restoration Project
wherein Bette Midler picks up the City’s garbage and makes NYC more livable and beautiful. Sensational parties abound raising dough for this one.

Clockwise from top: New York Restoration Project founder Bette Midler; Co-founder of Citymeals-on-Wheels Gael Greene; K.I.N.D. creator Lawrence O’Donnell, Jr.; Director for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Marlo Thomas.
Citymeals-on-Wheels, which feeds New York’s hungry. Gael Greene, the food expert, thought this up and almost every great restaurateur in the world has helped her with it. Incredible, to serve the elderly and shut ins. Needed more than ever these days.

The St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis which does such incredible work and has Marlo Thomas as its sparkplug. This caused Marlo and her brother to work harder than they wanted to and wonder why their famous father, Danny Thomas, hadn’t left them a “fun” gambling casino instead.

The Police Athletic League, which the District Attorney’s office, the Police Commissioner and every politician worth his salt supports because it gives New York kids a place to be mentored, a place to play, a cop for a friend and a way to stay out of trouble.

The Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter is helping solve the problems of nearly 27,000 adults who are homeless and in shelters. Sleeping on the streets and in the subways are 3,200 of them who must be rescued from this degradation. I’ll learn more about this in April when they honor me.

Lawrence O’Donnell, Jr. of MSNBC has a nifty charity for children in Malawi. It is called K.I.N.D. “Kids in Need of Desks” and I have been helping him in a feeble way. The children make their own desks so they can go to school with just a little bit of help from the U.S.
Elizabeth Taylor, Madonna, Harvey Weinstein, President Clinton, and Sharon Stone all worked hard against AIDS.
I am on the board of AmFAR, the international fighting group, and you could help any AIDS organization and be doing a good deed in a naughty world. Elizabeth Taylor, Madonna, Sharon Stone, Harvey Weinstein all worked hard against AIDS. We must follow President Clinton’s example and go on with this work.

The Bowery Mission, chaired by Veronica Kelly. Holding a black tie Valentine’s gala at the Plaza to feed hungry kids. Such as Sandra Lee, Maria Bartiromo, and the Police Commissioner will be there. I’m going and I’ll take your check made out to them.

Happy Birthday to me. Thank you.

Contact Liz Smith here.

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