Friday, June 24, 2016

LIZ SMITH: Missings and Musings

Nora Ephron — She Made US Laugh.
by Liz Smith & Denis Ferrara

Anticipating Richard Cohen's Book, "She Made Me Laugh: My Friend Nora Ephron." She made me laugh, too and cry, and I still miss her so much.

“NOTHING  FIXES a thing so intensely in the memory as the wish to forget it,” said Michel de Montaigne.
I HAVE been cleaning out my files, going back to the early '80s — and even before! — in preparation for moving from my office/home of many years in Murray Hill. The things one collects! 
The University of Texas Dolph Briscoe Center continues to archive my works! I didn’t get a lot of money from this, in the manner of talented friends such as Norman Mailer and Woodward and Bernstein or the legendary quadruple-threat, show-biz guy George M. Cohan. But writers, whether coming up or established, might consider this great repository for their own posterity. You could ask.
Dolph Briscoe in his office at the Capitol.
I am flattered that they want the scribblings of a gossip columnist, but then I shouldn’t indulge in false modesty. Walter Winchell  said, “Today’s gossip is tomorrow’s headline,” and that’s true. It is also true that “Gossip is just news running ahead of itself in a red satin dress!”  Liz Smith said that.
Gossip columns and magazines devoted to same, are historical documents of a sort, really. Saint-Simon is famous as a “diarist” but actually he was just a big gossip!
Anyway, among my souvenirs I found a copy of Spy magazine from August 1990.  I reprint this cover exactly as it appeared first, fresh from the sassy minds and mouths of Graydon Carter and Kurt Andersen. 
This issue makes fun of Donald Trump as well as yours truly.  (I appear as a fool on pages 13, 30, 38, 46, 70, 78-79!)  I am definitely a big part of gossip Tomfoolery!
Graydon and Kurt used to run a Liz Smith tote board, with me dressed as an American Indian — I was got up that way for a WNBC-TV charity event. Spy always listed how many times I mentioned Barbara Walters, Elizabeth Taylor, Madonna or Diane Sawyer, etc.  Their jabs simply made me mention these stars and other constants of the column even more!  At first I was annoyed, but then I realized the snark was helpful to me!  As dear Oscar Wilde said: “There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is NOT being talked about!” 
I became friends with the men of Spy and admired their perspicacity as modern historical journalists.
Times have changed since 1990, but one thing that hasn’t changed is our collective opinion of Donald Trump — a true all-American disaster. (Graydon, now the editor-in-chief of Vanity Fair simply never lets up on Donald, and his description of the Republican candidate for president as a “short-fingered vulgarian,” has become something of a legendary phrase.)
SHE WAS my friend, and I’ll bet you feel that she was your friend too! — I’m talking about the gifted Nora Ephron who died all too soon in 2012.

I personally haven’t gotten over this loss and I never will.  Large parts of the literary world and the Hollywood scene have been suffering ever since.  I would equate the loss of Nora and her place in the firmament with that of Dorothy Parker, but the comparison isn’t really apt. Ms. Parker, who I knew slightly toward the end of her life, was really a mean-spirited, disappointed soul. Nora was comic and heavenly, heart and soul, and had everything to live for! (Although she could quip and “put down” with the best of them, she was actually kind-heared.)    

I have in my hand an advance, not for sale, copy of syndicated columnist Richard Cohen’s book from Simon & Schuster — “She Made Me Laugh: My Friend Nora Ephron.” Of course, I haven’t had a chance to read this yet but I’ll bet it’s a winner! These two talents deserve our consideration. They were the best of friends. I hope you are anticipating this book, which comes out Sept 6th as much as I am. 
WE RECEIVED a sweet thank you note from Christopher Bollen, author of the thriller, “Orient” (meaning Orient Point, L.I.) which we reviewed here earlier this week.

Christopher is busy writing his next book, which not, alas, a sequel to “Orient” but it is set on the Greek Isles, which is always a picturesque spot for ... well, almost anything!

Mr. Bollen promises that if we ever meet for lunch he will indulge our curiosity as to the fate of his two major characters in “Orient” — Mills and Paul. One was good and one was bad and neither of them appeared to have had decisive closure. But then, in real life or fiction, who does?
ENDQUOTE:  “Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen finally turn 30, after having dressed as 60 since basically 15.” 
This, from Marc Snetiker’s “The Bullseye” back page in Entertainment Weekly, had me on the floor.

I’d never realized it, but he is so on target!  These twin girls — living, scary, Keane paintings — have specialized in drab, tomb-like garb almost through their entire careers. With the exception of the years they spent on the TV series “Full House.” Then they were outfitted like ordinary little girls.  (Or more precisely, an ordinary little girl, as they both played one role.)

Contact Liz here.