"WHAT IS your idea of perfect happiness?" asks Vanity Fair's Proust Questionnaire of producer Robert Evans.
He answers: "I can't tell you. It could be illegal!"
His response also caused me to think of last week's brouhaha over Justin Bieber being "caught" exiting a Brazilian brothel.
He's 19 years old. I can't imagine why he felt the need to visit a brothel, when he could have almost any young woman in the world right now. Maybe he just wanted the "brothel experience."
But the way the press carries on you'd think he was a callow youth of 15. He's a callow youth of 19 and his exit from the establishment was typically ridiculous -- bodyguards throwing a blanket over him. He walks around stripped to the waist most of the time. He appears to be excited about the peach fuzz growing on his upper lip. Why not just saunter out in a manly fashion?
Some sources say the singer thought the "popular" brothel -- that's how it is described -- was a private club. Maybe. When Justin gets back to the U.S., he should have a ginger ale with Charlie Sheen. (Hookers are one thing, but Justin is still too young to drink.) These are subjects about which Charlie knows a great deal. And Sheen never had to have anybody throw a blanket over his head, either.
I LOVED the rest of Bob Evans' answers to VF. Evans says his greatest extravagance has been "My seven wives." And when and where he was the happiest? "At the altar, all seven times." I wonder if Bob and Elizabeth Taylor ever compared notes?
OH, do go November 11 at 5:30 p.m. to Rizzoli Bookstore for the Elke Gazzara book signing hoopla of "No Better Friend." The widow of the great actor Ben Gazzara has put together man and woman's best friends via many celeb write-ups.
Rizzoli is at 31 West 57th Street and many lively canines will attend.
IF THERE was any question that "Thor: The Dark World" would be a giant hit (there wasn't really) the European box-office take should allay any studio jitters. The movie took a whopping $102 million last week. Nice for stars Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Idris Elba, Tom Hiddleston and Anthony Hopkins.
"Thor" opens in the United States on Friday. Tonight, The Cinema Society hosts a special screening of the film in Manhattan. The lovely Miss Portman will be on hand. (Hemsworth is filming, and can't make this event.) Because of the high interest in the movie, I better not say exactly where the screening is taking place, although I know my well-intentioned caution is for naught.
When I get to the place, it'll be swarming with fans and paparazzi.
ALSO TONIGHT: The great, groundbreaking tennis star, Billie Jean King and The Women's Sports Foundation are hosting the U.S. premiere screening of "The Battle of the Sexes." This is a documentary about the legendary 1973 match between King and the late Bobby Riggs. The evening also celebrates Billie Jean's 70th birthday!
The screening happens at The Theater at the Museum of Arts and Design (there's a Q-and-A afterward) and the party is at Robert Restaurant.
BRAVO TO Woody Allen! He has written an open letter in The Hollywood Reporter asking the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize, with Oscar nominations, the job of the casting director. This is a vital part of the moviemaking process, and Allen uses his own casting director, Juliet Taylor, as an example of just how important a part of the process casting is. He writes: "I'm particularly difficult in the casting area because the whole process bores me. If it were up to me, we would use the same half-dozen people in my pictures. ... Juliet forced me to watch the work of many new people and hire people on nothing more than her strong recommendation."
Woody's plea comes on the heels of the fascinating HBO documentary "Casting By." This focused primarily on the legendary casting director Marion Dougherty, who was essential in pushing such future icons as James Dean, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Duvall, Al Pacino, Danny Glover, Gene Hackman, Warren Beatty and many more on wary directors. It's time for these super-smart and super-dedicated professionals to be included in the Oscar mix.
Also on the Woody front -- I am sure whatever the outcome of the casting director imbroglio, he will see his "Blue Jasmine" star Cate Blanchett nominated for an Oscar. Hers is an uncomfortably unsparing and riveting performance.
MEMO TO one of my all-time favorite survivors, and an all-around lovely person, Cher. Darling, you are so savvy -- but "jokes" don't exist anymore in this politically correct era. So your amusing inference in an online Q-and-A that Sonny Bono was in Hell, went straight to hell on the blogs. (Many sites and reports muddied the water, adding unflattering things you'd said about Sonny long ago, and it seemed you were going through all that again.)
Everybody knows you had a rough time with him, you divorced, and then you re-built your career to Oscar-winning glory. He died in a terrible skiing accident in 1998 and you were genuinely, shockingly distraught at his funeral. Leave it there. After all, you did marry him. And how often have you said there would never have been a Cher without Sonny?
Your straight-from-the-hip honesty is one of your most endearing qualities. No phony-baloney from you! (Your sensational new CD isn't titled "Closer to the Truth" for nothin'.) But find out where to buy that vital self-censoring chip. Because nobody understands irony these days. They can't even spell it! Madonna's eternal plea is "It was ironic!" when she is misunderstood.
The rest of your online Q-and-A was literally hilarious, especially when you said your first "Farewell" Tour began during the Civil War, in response to somebody who asked what it was like touring during the American Revolution.
Your friend and eternal fan, Liz Smith.
(E-mail Liz Smith at MES3838@aol.com.)
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