"WHEN ONE is young, one should use a lot of mascara, and when one is old, one should use much, much more!"
That was Dame Sybil Thorndike's advice to Marilyn Monroe in the delicious 1957 movie, "The Prince and the Showgirl." (Laurence Olivier was Monroe's co-star but the less said about that, the better. They did not see eye to bodice.)
Radio City Music Hall, Marilyn involved herself in a number of charity appearances. The premiere itself was a benefit.
One such was the big March of Dimes gala at the Waldorf Astoria. I know this because on the last page of the latest Hollywood Reporter there is a rare photo of Monroe, beautifully dressed in sedate white satin, with two little girls, stricken with polio. Grace Kelly, who was by then Princess Grace, also attended.
MGM had joined in, making fundraising possible in movie theaters; empty cans were actually passed around and donations taken. "This is the only nonprofit in U.S. history that cured the disease they were set up to fight," says Universal Studios president Jimmy Horowitz, who also now chairs the March of Dimes annual Celebration of Babies luncheon. They are now focusing on premature births. Bill Higgins and Meena Jang wrote this piece and it was fascinating to me -- the real beginning of the show biz glamour charity circuit.
I MYSELF will add a bittersweet postscript. Marilyn, then married to Arthur Miller, was actually pregnant at this time. She would attend the massive premiere of "The Prince and the Showgirl" wedged into a flamboyant gown with the fishtail bottom so popular in that era. She was glowing. (The mob around Radio City Music Hall was so tumultuous and unruly in anticipation of Marilyn, that Ava Gardner, scheduled to attend, had her driver turn back.) Monroe would miscarry less than a month later. It was her second miscarriage with Miller, and another was to follow two years later.
DIANE KEATON will accept the prestigious Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes on behalf of her shy good friend, Woody Allen. This should be most amusing. Of course, Woody won't accept in person. He might faint.
"WHAT WOULD Jesus think about Obamacare?"
That was the question asked by Fox News emperor and bestselling super-author Bill O'Reilly last week. It led to what I thought was a simply hilarious segment, with film clips and paintings of Jesus.
What would Jesus really think about Obamacare? I think he'd be pleased somebody was trying to piece together a health-care plan that took care of this country's neediest. Whether the current plan over-reached or was under-researched, helping the needy is surely right up there on the Jesus bucket list. No matter President Obama's naivete or hubris -- depending on your point of view -- I am astonished when people act like he is trying to introduce smallpox or Ebola to the U.S. Jesus said, on the other hand, "When you do it for the least of those, you do it for me," or words to that effect.
I don't think the president has been able to make his case clear on this and many other issues since his first term. Partly, he and his staff are to blame; partly, there is the baldly stated intransigence of the Republicans. But Obama is not a bad man who wants to destroy the country, or drag it further into pointless war. (The Syrian crisis appeared ramshackle. However, things seem to be progressing on the matter of chemical weapons, and we are not yet at war with Syria.)
Here's what the Bible says of the poor, in Proverbs: "Open your mouth for the dumb, for the rights of all the unfortunates. Judge righteously and defend the afflicted and needy." Translation: Let's see House Republicans live on food stamps.
BUT MANY Republicans still have fun and are good guys! There were the ghosts of the Kennedy clan playing touch football on the very lawn of the former Joseph Kennedy mansion, which was often called "the winter White House in Palm Beach."
The property now belongs to Marianne and John K. Castle and recently they gave a huge, glorious brunch right on the lawn and raised more than $100,000 for the re-election of U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor, the GOP House majority leader.
(E-mail Liz Smith at MES3838@aol.com.)
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