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Although You Are Gone Your Fragrance Lives On

23 Mar

This morning Hollywood lost one if it’s last remaining starlets of the golden age.

It is no secret that Elizabeth Taylor was radiant.  A few years ago I heard my favorite Elizabeth Taylor story from a friend who was a hairdresser in Santa Monica. In the 60s he claimed to have worked closely with Ms. Taylor’s people.  He told me that Elizabeth was gorgeous in person and every time she walked into a room your attention naturally gravitated towards her. After he had seen her at a few parties, only for short periods of time, he had begun to wonder how she could look younger and so well rested every time he saw her. Do you want to know why?

He claimed that a couple times a year, Elizabeth would retire to a resort in the Swiss Mountains somewhere for weeks at a time. Her doctors would put her to sleep for days while she remained in bed connected to feeding tubes with hired nurses exercising her limbs around the clock. So Hollywood Babylon, I know. But for some reason it’s those extravagant celebrity stories that make her a legend in my eyes.

Most of us associate her gorgeous violet eyes, jet black hair and pale white skin with the movie Cleopatra (1963) or as the inspiration for Michael Jackson’s fucked up face.  However, I will always remember her for her ability to juggle acting with her love affair with the tabloids.

Since the beginning of her acting career Ms. Taylor had been close with the paparazzi. In fact her parents’ close relationship with famed Hollywood columnist Hedda Hopper helped Liz land her first acting jobs on the Universal lot. In the last 60 or so years her relationship with the press has been dramatic. She was constantly being scrutinized for her bad health, her strange relationship with Michael Jackson and her 8 failed marriages to large profiled men like Nicky Hilton, Michael Todd and also to his close friend Eddie Fischer.

In memory of the late Elizabeth Taylor, who died early this morning of congestive heart failure at the age of 79, I would like to share my 3 favorite Taylor movies. Feel free to share yours.

1) Giant (1956)- We got to see Elizabeth gracefully age 30 years with Rock Hudson and James Dean in this epically melodramatic movie. She had finally made the leap from child star to adult actress.

2) Father of the Bride (1950)- Taylor’s natural high from her fairy tale wedding with Conrad Hilton translated beautifully on screen making this one of the most memorable films of the 50s.

3) Butterfield 8(1960)- as an emotionally charged party-girl/ part-time model Elizabeth Taylor made it cool for big actresses to play call girls. Without this movie there would be no big stars in Breakfast at Tiffany’s(1961)  or Pretty Woman(1990) they would just be forgettable smutty B movies.

Elizabeth, I miss your ability to entrap men, your large jet black yet elegant helmet hair, and of course your intoxicating white diamonds.

Elizabeth Taylor, I Miss your face- Shassie.

A Snubbed Angel at the 82nd Annual Oscars

7 Mar

Every year the Oscars pay a quick 5-10 minute tribute to those in Hollywood that have passed. This past year had a large death toll, including John Hughes, Michael Jackson, Patrick Swayze, Bea Arthur, Betsy Blair,Dom DeLuise and Brittany Murphy to name a few.  But surprisingly, the 82nd Oscar tribute left out many celebrities from their montage, including the gifted Farrah Fawcett.

Now, I was already all hot and bothered on June 25th when I heard that one of Charlie’s own had lost her battle with cancer. I was livid that the Farrah news was quickly overshadowed by the death of Michael Jackson. But tonight when I saw that Jackson had been included in the Oscar In Memoriam tribute, after he had only appeared in  one major motion picture (The Wiz(1978)), when Fawcett has starred in more than three (including her independent spirit award-winning performance in The Apostle(1997), as well as  See You in the Morning(1989), Cannonball Run(1981) and the fantastic Man of the House (1995), which she starred in with J.T.T.) I was exasperated; and as I screamed out loud, I had to quickly rewind my tivo to make sure my eyes didn’t miss the goddess of 70s popculture-the Oscars are getting sloppy.

Farrah Fawcett is best known for her blown out 70s trade mark hair sported in both her infamous pin-up poster and on Television as  Jill Munroe from ABC’s Charlie’s Angels.  Fawcett was one of few romantic Hollywood discoveries, ala Lana Turner and Schwab’s Pharmacy, a producer saw her picture in a layout of sorority girls in Crashbox magazine in the early 70s and crafted her into a star.  In 1976, she landed a role as one of three kick ass women detectives in the infamous Charlie’s Angels. She has also acted on Broadway and in various Television films. I would say she was much more of an actor than the so-called King of Pop.

At 50, Farrah became one of the oldest women to appear nude in Playboy.

Farrah, I miss your  tendency to follow the instructions of men you have never met, your tight red bathing suits complimented by your angelic glow, and your unnaturally windblown curls.

Farrah Fawcett, I, for one, miss your face-Shassie

*Bea Arthur’s death was also ignored by the Academy. Some intern is going to get a lot of shit for this.

I’ll Never Let Go Billy

21 Feb

There is only one movie that I have seen (and paid for) in theaters more than 6 times. That movie is Titanic (1997).  Over a decade ago, in 1997, I was just a 9-year-old, third grade girl desperately in love with J.T.T. But, the first time I laid eyes on Leonardo DiCaprio in the Titanic trailer, the drool hanging off the bottom of my lip told me that J.T.T and I were over. There was a new man in my life. Leo and I have been together ever since.

With the recent release of James Cameron’s Avatar (2009) and the weekend release of Scorsese’s Shutter Island (2010) it is clear that, despite 13 years of aging,  the Titanic alumni are still very relevant to Hollywood today: Kate Winslet took home an Oscar last year for her performance in The Reader (2008).   DiCaprio has been nominated for two Academy Awards, post Titanic, and has had the starring role in stellar films like The Departed(2006 ), Blood Diamond (2007 ),  Gangs of New York (2002 ), and Catch Me if you Can (2002).   Bill Paxton stars in his own show on HBO, Big Love. And Lord knows Kathy Bates hasn’t gone anywhere. In fact, the whole cast of Titanic’s careers seem to be unsinkable, with the exception of Billy Zane.

In Titanic, Billy Zane played Rose’s aggressive and possessive boyfriend Cal. His hairless head and extremely fit body made him easy to spot among the Hollywood crowd in various award shows, but as far as the Big Screen is concerned, Billy Zane has just been blending in.

Post Titanic, the Chicago native has been playing mostly small supporting roles in a series of B-movies and Television shows, most notably as Winston Funk, Christina Applegate’s ex lover on ABC’s Samantha Who?.  Although his face has not appeared on the Big screen his voice has been flooding the airwaves of children’s movies, he was the voice of John Rolf in the Disney sequel; Pocahontas II: A Brave New World, and in  video games in SSX Tricky as Broderick ‘Brodi’ Ford and again as Ansem in Kingdom Hearts.

Currently Billy Zane has bit parts in 4 movies scheduled to be released late this year: 4Chosen, The Roommate, Enemies Among Us, and The Confidant.  I, for one, am ready for Mr. Zane to get the lead role he deserves.

Billy I miss your shimmering scalp, your ability to embody evil and your sinfully seductive left side smirk. 

Billy Zane, I miss your face- Shassie

p.s. Interesting fact: Zane first appeared on the Big screen as one of Biff’s henchmen in Back to the Future(1985).

Still learning about the complexities of friendship…

16 Nov

Do you know what T.V. is missing? The advice and snappy dialogue of an educator and elder. Not a young hip teacher like Mr. Kotter (Welcome Back Kotter), Doug Stevens (Swingtown), or even Mr. Matthews (90210). What T.V. needs is a new Mr. Feeny.

Mr. Feeny was arguably the best part of ABC’s Boy Meets World and now he has disappeared completely. William Daniels was the man behind the grey mustache.

Daniels had a stellar pre-Boy career. He has co-starred in some of the most influential pieces of pop-culture; he was Dustin Hoffman’s father in The Graduate (1967), as John Adams in 1776 (1972) and as the voice of KITT in the original Night Rider.

Good news, Daniels is still alive and ready for a Boy Meets World Reunion. Currently he has no new projects, although a KITT GPS voice is rumored.

William, I miss your large eternally present mustache, your various neutral colored sweaters and your frank lectures.

William Daniels, I miss your face.

If you’re in doubt about angels being real…

15 Nov

Gillian Zinser’s new surfer chick character on 90210, Ivy, is reminding me of better more simple times, when all a girl needed to do for attention while surfing was pretend to drown like the great pre-teen temptress Gidget.

Gidget was a character so great that in the 1950s -1960s four different actresses had to play her in film, sequel, and television. I miss them all.

Sandra Dee as Gidget

Sandra Dee, the original girl + midget (a Gidget) introduced the role to teens everywhere in 1959 when she adapted the character from Fredrick Kohner’s novel Gidget into the film of the same title. Sandra Dee’s Gidget was blonde and stick thin with a high-pitched squeaky voice. Gidget was grossed out by men and unwilling to grow up. Sandra Dee was a popular actress in many more films including the melodramatic classic that is Douglas Sirk’s remake of Imitation of Life (1959) and also in the Tammy and the FILL IN THE BLANK Franchise. Dee went on to marry Bobby Darrin at age 18. And in middle-age became an anorexic alcoholic.

Deborah Walley in Gidget Goes Hawaiian

The next girl to fill the baggy boyish bathing suits of Gidget was Deborah Walley. Walley played Gidge as a wide-eyed red head in Gidget Goes Hawaiian (1961). Post Gidget, Walley was in 15 major motion pictures, most of them B- movie Beach Flicks for American Pictures. Walley last worked on Television in 1999 in a bit part on Baywatch. Sadly Deborah Walley died in 2001 of cancer.

The fourth lucky girl was Cindy Carol in the non-related sequel to a sequel Gidget Goes to Rome (1963). Carol had the shortest post-Gidget career, appearing in her last film in 1965 in the Brigitte Bardot movie, Dear Brigitte (1965). She was also the least popular among fans, her Gidget rarely surfed and often tested the word of Moondoggie.

Sally Field as Gidget

The last, and in my opinion the most important woman, to play Gidget was the one and the only Sally Field in the T.V. series adaptation of the film. Field’s Gidget was vivacious and conniving. This Gidge got dates, tortured her older sister, helped her community, dated her teachers and met pop stars all while being the model of the perfect daughter to Conrad Bain look-a-alike Don Porter. Sally field, known to most of my generation as the mother from Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), has had the most successful post-Gidge career. She has starred in more than 4 T.V. shows including The Flying Nun (1967-1970) and the current ABC Drama Brothers and Sisters. She has been in more than 40 films including Forrest Gump (1994), Steel Magnolias (1989), Where the Heart Is (2000), and T.V. movie gem Sybil(1976).

Gidgets, I miss your silly resistance towards being feminine, the frequent amount of times you hire boys to be your dates, and your gift for green screen surfing.

Gidgets, I miss your face-Shassie

Do they wear underwear in the shower?

13 Nov

There is nothing I love more than introducing people to the Hollywood gems that they somehow missed while growing up. Today, it was Heathers (1989). As I basked in the artistic genius of Winona Ryder I realized that her once over exposed face has been missing from tabloids and from mainstream movies for years.

Sure, this could be because studios are still cautious about hiring a shoplifter to promote their work, but bitch please that was way back in 2001. The world was a different place and she was still young and impressionable. It’s hard to pay for things when you are used to getting them for free.

Winona has been in the public eye since her early teens in the late ‘80s with movies like Lucas (1986) and Edward Scissorhands (1990); typically playing angsty teens, wannabe nuns, and sexually deviant liars. For the best of Winona I suggest you witness her genius in Mermaids (1990) with Christina Ricci and the great Cher. In Mermaids, Ryder wants to be a nun in order to depress her mother, unfortunately she is Jewish and fighting a colossal infatuation for Michael Schoeffling, better known to girls as Jake Ryan of Sixteen Candles(1984).

Currently Ryder is planning a comeback. She is scheduled to star in Black Swan (2009) currently in pre-production. Lord knows A Scanner Darkly (2006) did nothing but bury her career even deeper into its grave.

Winona, I miss the way you read your diary entries out loud, how you constantly critique “the Man” and your use of the five finger discount.

Winona Ryder, I miss your face- Shassie

Cara Mia

9 Nov

David Krumholtz. Most of you may know him as Goldstein, the pot-smoking Jew from the Harold and Kumar franchise, or as Michael, Cameron’s best friend in 10 Things I Hate About You. To me, Krumholtz will always be known as Joel Glicker, sheet-white asthmatic lover to Wednesday from the Adams Family Values (1993).

Krumholtz has been working steadily since he began acting in 1993 with Life with Mikey. He has appeared in movies and shows like Slums of Beverly Hills (1998), Freaks and Geeks (1999), Undeclared (2001), The Santa Clause (1994), Ray (2004), Tenacious D. Pick of Destiny (2006), Superbad (2007), and the recent cinematic failure I Love You Man (2009). Since 2005, he has worked as the dashing detective mathematician Charlie on CBS’s Numb3rs.

As a primary member of the Judd Apatow gang you would think that Krumholtz’s future seems promising; but, aside from Numb3rs no upcoming projects are rumored. I am not prepared for a life without D.K..

David , I miss your childlike use of sarcastic schtick, your pale lanky body and your long curly eternally wet black locks.

David Krumholtz, I’m beginning to miss your face-Shassie