Sharing Steve :: New Stuff
Friday, May 30, 2003
Come on, Steve. Go for les fraises.
Los Angeles Times
May 25, 2003 Sunday Orange County Edition
California Metro; Part 2; Page 3; Metro Desk
Orange County; Dana Parsons; Steve, I Have This Wild and Crazy Idea
BY: Dana Parsons
Dear Steve Martin,
First of all, huge fan.
In the way that certain songs have left an indelible mark on me, so has your comedy. I wish I could explain it better, but I hope you know what I mean. Let me just say five words: The Man With Two Brains.
You don't need to be flattered (or do you?), so I'll get to the point. I write a column for The Times and read last week that officials of the annual Garden Grove Strawberry Festival have asked you various times to be the grand marshal for their Memorial Day weekend event. They apparently have asked every couple years or so, but you've never been able to do it.
I'm asking -- and this is my idea, not the festival's -- that you say yes for 2004.
They didn't pick your name from a hat. As someone who graduated from Garden Grove High School, you're the ultimate local boy made good.
In 1998 at the Writers Bloc program in Los Angeles, you acknowledged, under intense questioning, your Garden Grove roots, adding, "where there is neither a garden nor a grove."
I picture you reading this and asking yourself, "Steve, why would you want to be the grand marshal for a strawberry festival?"
Well, it's all for charity. A spokeswoman says the festival raised about $150,000 last year. With someone like you marshaling, that figure likely would rise. But, guessing you already donate heavily to charities, I suspect you need more motivation.
So, let me state the obvious, yet something you may have overlooked:
You've done stand-up, (I saw you open for the Carpenters in Omaha in 1975 and left with a side-ache from laughing -- at you, not the Carpenters). You've been a serious actor, a comic actor, a screenwriter, a playwright, a banjo player, a sketch player, a novella-ist, an essayist, an Oscars' host.
Steve, have you ever been a strawberry festival grand marshal?
We both know the answer. With all due respect, it's the missing feather in your cap; the thing undone. Not to be indelicate, but the clock ticks for all of us.
I took the liberty of asking what your duties would be. It sounds like a piece of cake.
You'd leave Los Angeles (in your own car) around 6:30 a.m. on Saturday to arrive in time for the 8 a.m. celebrity pancake breakfast. You'd be taken to the parade site and placed comfortably in the lead car (a vintage convertible).
For the next hour, you'd move very slowly along the route and wave to adoring fans. You'd then attend the VIP reception, where you'd meet Garden Grove dignitaries. You'd then be asked to put in 30 minutes at a public autograph table.
Then you're done. You'd be back home by early afternoon. "It'd be a good eight-hour day, there's no kidding about that," spokeswoman Fran Mulvania says.
Steve, you could do it.
Years ago, you offered an alternative to a generation that only wanted to get high -- "Let's Get Small." What better way to get small than coming down to Garden Grove?
This year's marshal acts on a soap opera. A fine talent, but she's not Steve Martin.
You are Steve Martin.
I remember the Omaha concert when you asked the audience to sing along as you spelled out Nebraska. "N-N-Nab," you said. "N-a-b-i-s-c-o ... Nebraska!" You had an arrow through your head. It still makes me laugh.
Make me laugh again. Say yes to the strawberry people.
Wild and crazy guy.
And next Memorial Day weekend (I hope), Garden Grove Strawberry Festival Grand Marshal.
Monday, May 26, 2003
Amen on the board posted this; I just plagiarized. No wait, that's "research"
Saturday, April 25, 2003
Q&A with Steve Martin: House sitter
The comedian says making Bringing Down the House was a joy from start to finish
By Elaine Lipworth
STEVE Martin lives up to his reputation as one of the world’s funniest actors in the hilarious new comedy Bringing Down The House. Here, he plays a divorced lawyer who finds his world turned upside when he does some internet dating and the woman who turns up at his door Queen Latifah—is not quite the kind of romantic partner he was expecting.
The movie also stars the talented Eugene Levy, Joan Plowright and Betty White.
Q: What motivates you these days to do a film? And why this one?
A: I met the director Adam Shankman and he had so much energy and that gave me supreme confidence, I just liked him. That’s really why I did the movie. I felt he wanted to make a fast moving, fast paced comedy. It’s hard to find those people like Adam; they can be too serious or too mechanical to make a comedy. A comedy has to have room to breathe. You just have to walk on that set on any given day and know that anything’s a possibility.
Q: How do you choose your roles?
A: Poorly. Seriously I choose based on the script but also the people I’m working with. If I get the feeling that it could be funny and fun to do, then that starts to feel really good to me. Having a lot of good people to work with makes a big difference.
Q: Do you still have a passion for comedies like this? A lot of Hollywood observers are saying they’re glad to see you return to the old Steve Martin type of film.
A: What I really have a passion for is the kind of fun we had on this one. The drudgery of making a movie can only be ameliorated by the fun you have making it. You’ve got to feel like you’re in a creative space. Between Queen Latifah and Eugene Levy and Adam it was great. They’re just bright people. But you know I never viewed myself as having gone away from this kind of thing. For example, I did Bowfinger three years ago, a big physical comedy that I wrote.
Q: Is acting still a thrill for you, when you have so many other interests, like writing for instance?
A: Yes it is. This was a thrilling movie to make and to watch. You know movie making is hard; it’s a minimum 12-hour day. It’s exhausting. But then after finally seeing the finished film, I thought “this is all worth it, this is what you worked for, those kind of laughs from the audience.”
Q: Do you think in the current international situation, which is pretty grim, that there’s a real purpose served by comedies like this?
A: I really do. I also think that films like this are antidotes to violent films. This film is edgy but also conventional. It’s a comedy: two people don’t get along and then they do. But violent films are also extremely conventional. I have no problem with violence if its relevant but I often feel that a lot of the violence in movies can be purely ugly. For example, they’ll say “We want you to hate this bad guy so we’re going to open the film by killing three children and you’re suddenly manipulated into artificial hate.” And I think films like Bringing Down The House are kind they’re good, and they’re funny. So I think movies like this do have an important place.
Q: How well did you know Queen Latifah’s work and music?
A: Not so well before the film, but don’t tell her. (Whispers.) I knew who she was and I’d heard her music but I didn’t know what kind of person she was. When we met, it was an instant connection; she’s a warm happy loving person. We got along really well.
Q: There’s a lot of African American street language and slang in the film. Did you check everything culturally with her to make sure it was authentic?
A: Oh yeah. I checked everything with her. She came up with a lot of the slang, everything was passed by her. She vetted all the language to make sure it was real and true.
Q: You did hip dancing in a scene, when you’re out clubbing, are you naturally a good mover?
A: I never considered myself as a dancer but I can learn things by rote. In this case it was a little different, this was not choreographed dancing, it was just how insane you can go and it was fun knowing I didn’t have to get a Fred Astaire look, this was just me being crazy.
Q: Do you have a favorite scene?
A: Yes it’s in Gangs Of New York (laughs). No my favorite scene is when Queen Latifah teaches me how to make love to my wife. I loved doing that scene, it was something I didn’t want to do but I had to.
Q: Did your relationship with Queen Latifah remain professional?
A: Strictly professional—although at one point I did say, “now you do me!”
Q: What happened on the set when you weren’t filming?
A: Intercourse. No not really. When the camera’s off, we would sit around talking, the director is lively and funny and shouting, so we always had fun, sometimes we wouldn’t go back to the trailer because you just want to hang out with funny people. And I played the banjo, I actually learned two new songs.
Q: Queen Latifah is very sexy and stylish in the film; completely different from the usual skinny Hollywood actresses. What do you think this film will do for normal sized curvaceous women?
A: Now you’re making me want to be one. Well certainly when you see a sexy full figured woman you’ve got a new idea in your head, even if you didn’t have that idea of a beautiful woman before. But its not about measurements, its about—what they’ll do for you! (laughs). It’s about what’s inside.
Q: What makes you tick as a person? Is it still the acting?
A: Everything, I love doing the writing, I love writing jokes, I love it all. And I play the banjo for the dog. I have for me a perfect creative life. Writing and acting are opposites, like sleeping and waking. You’re home and you’re asleep and you go. “I’d like to get up and go out” and when you’re out you think, “I’d like to go home and go to bed.” When I’m writing I think, “maybe I’d like to do a movie” and when I’m doing a movie I think, “I’d like to go home and write.”
Q: Is your comic ability a God given talent do you think or something you’ve created?
A: I don’t feel it was God given because I really worked hard but I also feel after a while you get comic baggage and people do expect you to do something funny and they’re anticipating something funny and that makes it easier.
Q: Were you funny when you were young?
A: Yeah I was always trying to entertain. I had a magic act that I did and I worked at Disneyland as a magician, and I worked at a theatre when I was 18 for three years doing comedy performances. I have good funny friends and we’re always sparring in the nicest, friendliest way.
Q: What’s the key to comedy? Is it timing?
A: Timing? I don’t even know what that is anymore. Timing to me is how long you wait before you say the punch line. Or you can jump the timing doing it a little too soon or a little longer. Really it’s about the twist and the surprise, it’s a mystery.
Q: Do you still have loads of goals and ambitions?
A: Yeah there are still things I want to write, I have a book coming out in the fall I’m very pleased with. It’s a novel called The Pleasure Of My Company. It is located here in LA in Santa Monica, it’s contemporary. It’s very different from my last novel Shopgirl. The central character is a man, it’s written in the first person and there’s some similarity in the sense of the isolated person.
Q: How do you identify with these people you write about, these lonely characters having ordinary lives so different from your own?
A: Well I think when I was a kid I was a dreamer. Of course I could never have dreamt what happened to me, not even in my wildest dreams. The fantasy I’d have as a 15-year-old kid would be to be a good magician and actually levitate someone. I thought that would be incredibly mythmaking and attractive. So I was off in a world of my own and I think the characters in my novels are in a world of their own too.
Q: Presumably as a writer and actor it’s not that easy to get access to ordinary people living ordinary lives?
A: Well the people I know are real. Actors, writers, celebrities, art dealers, artists they’re just as real as anybody else, they don’t have to be in a mall somewhere to be real. So all the experiences that the Queen Of England has are the same as experiences other people have, they’re emotional I think. She has her heart broken too.
Q: You have a big influence as an actor and comedian, do you think you inspire people?
A: I don’t think that’s true. But I do think comedies like Bringing Down The House can turn a knob in your head. You know—maybe there’s someone who had this racial prejudice that was expressed angrily and they’ll see this movie and it’ll turn that knob a little bit and they’ll go “oh you know what, I’m tired of that. “But that’s the movie I don’t think that’s me.”
Q: But you obviously lift people’s spirits.
A: Yeah that’s a good thing but I think it’s like an aspirin. It’ll take your headache away for a while but then some day it’ll come back unless you treat it in a different way.
Sunday, May 25, 2003
A bit about Steve
he's just mentioned in this article, but if you're starved for steve stuff, this is the best i can do
For Duff's next role, the more the merrier
Fri May 23, 7:43 AM ET
Susan Wloszczyna USA TODAY
Hilary Duff (news), budding movie star and flaxen-haired idol of the training-bra set, is finding out what it's like to be in a supersized family.
The star of the hit The Lizzie Maguire Movie (it's grossed $33 million in three weeks) offers a first look at her next movie, Cheaper by the Dozen, which has a part that was written especially for her.
In real life, she and sister Haylie, 18, live with mom Susan in Los Angeles while dad Bob stays in Houston and makes regular visits. But in the remake of the 1950 oldie with Clifton Webb and Myrna Loy (news), she's the third-eldest child of a clan of 12 spawned by a pair far funnier than your average PTA members: Steve Martin (news) and Bonnie Hunt (news).
Duff, 15, who just wrapped up her part, says Martin was ''serious'' when they first met. But the wild and crazy guy soon came out with a little coaxing from his onscreen brood. ''I asked him to walk like Ozzy Osbourne, and he said, 'OK.' He didn't know how but I taught him.''
Thursday, May 22, 2003
Steve -- a pickin' and a grinnin'
you have to read all the way to the end.
Ventura County Star (California)
May 15, 2003 Thursday
Life; Pg. G17
Pickin' Music will fill the air Sunday at Agoura's banjo and fiddle festival
BY: Nicole D'Amore; firstname.lastname@example.org
The Western movie set where Dr. Quinn tended her patients will come alive with the sound of bluegrass and folk music Sunday at the annual Topanga Banjo and Fiddle Contest and Festival.
Two of the contestants at this year's event at Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills are Agoura's Max Hoetzel and his 8-year-old daughter, Zse.
It will be the first competition for Zse, who plays the flat-pick guitar. But her dad is an old hand; he won the advanced banjo category three years in a row with his group, skipped a year and is now hoping to reclaim the title.
"I think this is the last year I will perform," he said. "They will probably tell me to judge next time."
Hoetzel grew up in Germany but has embraced bluegrass.
"It's an amazing part of American music history," he said. "Without bluegrass, rock 'n' roll wouldn't exist the way we know it. It's absolutely fascinating music."
He has been playing the banjo since the age of 15.
"I Heard 'Deliverance' on the radio and made my dad drive around to find a five-string banjo -- not easy to find in Germany," he said.
Complicating matters more was the fact that there was nobody around to teach him. Finding sheet music to work from was difficult, too, so he wrote to American banjo players and asked for help.
"I had a reel-to-reel tape machine so I slowed it down and wrote down every note," he said. "It was a complicated way to learn an instrument."
Hoetzel came to America in 1988. He ran the Los Angeles office of Burda Media, publisher of Focus, a German magazine similar to Time and Newsweek. When the office closed last year, it gave him a chance to focus on the banjo and on teaching his daughter to play the guitar.
"One of my dreams I always had was to play with my kids," Hoetzel said. "When Zse got interested in guitar, it was great to be able to do that together, to share that. She is really determined. It's rare to find that today, to fall in love with it and go for it. I am very happy about that."
The two sometimes practice outside together at their Agoura home, which has a sweeping view of the Santa Monica Mountains.
"We play in the evenings," Zse said. "And sometimes we wake up early and play before school."
She said she's not nervous about the competition. She will play a Bill Monroe tune called "Gold Rush." Because they have to fill a three-minute slot, she will play two variations of the song, accompanied by her dad.
Contest rules require the performances be strictly acoustic, so Hoetzel plans to be innovative during his own competition.
"I am going to bring some surprises," he said. "Every year we do something different."
He'll perform with a group that includes Davey Johnstone, Elton John's longtime lead guitarist, and singers Ken Stacey and Wendy Wagner.
One year Johnstone's son Tam wanted to join in, Hoetzel said. Since he couldn't use drums, they gave him a huge Tupperware container and an Evian bottle filled with lentils.
"It was great; it was a lot of fun. The audience likes a break from the strict competition." Hoetzel said.
In addition to the hundred or so competitors of all ages, three professional bands -- Silverado, Banshee in the Kitchen and Lilies of the West --will perform. The festival will also feature strolling musicians, impromptu jam sessions, folk art booths and Eactivities for all ages.
"The beauty of it is you have a lot of choices," said Warren Garfield, a member of the TBFC board of directors. "You get a program with an event schedule and a map and you pick out what you want to do."
Many visitors bring their instruments, he said.
"You can just join a group," Garfield said. "Sometimes people make friends and form their own little group. Occasionally you see a celebrity, incognito, stepping in and jamming with the musicians. Last year it was Steve Martin."
Saturday, May 17, 2003
And now for something only marginally related
i haven't written here in a long time. that's because steve, the rat, hasn't been in the papers doing anything noteworthy. the least he could do is show up with a new girlfriend to spark endless speculation. but, no, he's off making movies, like that was somehow more important than giving me something to write about. the rat.
so, instead of something about steve, here's an interesting bit about one of his best friends, confidants, and movie mogul buddies -- Nora Ephron.
18 May 2003
New York Times Op/Ed
All the President's Girls
By NORA EPHRON
I too was an intern in the J.F.K. White House. I was. This is not one of those humor pieces where the writer pretends to some experience related to the news in order to make an "amusing" point. It was 1961, and I was hired by Pierre Salinger to work in the White House press office, the very same place where Mimi Beardsley, later Fahnestock, was to work the next year. And now that Mimi Fahnestock has been forced to come forward to admit that she had an affair with Kennedy, I might as well tell my story.
I notice that all the articles about poor Mimi (whom I never met) quote another woman in the press office, Barbara Gamarekian, who fingered Ms. Fahnestock in the oral history archives at the Kennedy Library. Ms. Gamarekian cattily pointed out, according to the newspapers, that Mimi "couldn't type." Well, all I can say to that is: Ha. In fact, Double Ha. There were, when I worked there, six women in Pierre Salinger's office. One of them was called Faddle (her best friend, Fiddle, worked for Kennedy) and her entire job, as far as I could tell, was autographing Pierre Salinger's photographs. Fiddle's job was autographing Kennedy's. Typing was not a skill that anyone seemed to need, and it certainly wasn't necessary for interns like me (and Mimi, dare I say), because THERE WAS NO DESK FOR AN INTERN TO SIT AT AND THEREFORE NO TYPEWRITER TO TYPE ON.
Yes, I am still bitter about it! Because there I was, not just the only young woman in the White House who was unable to afford an endless series of A-line sleeveless linen dresses just like Jackie's, but also the only person in the press office with nowhere to sit. And then, as now, I could type 100 words a minute. Every eight-hour day there were theoretically 48,000 words that weren't being typed because I didn't have a desk.
Also, I had a really bad permanent wave. This is an important fact for later in the story, when things heat up.
I met the president within minutes of going to "work" in the White House. My first morning there, he flew to Annapolis to give the commencement address at the Naval Academy, and Pierre invited me to come along with the press pool in the press helicopter. When I got back to the White House, Pierre took me in to meet the president. He was the handsomest man I had ever seen. I don't remember the details of our conversation, but perhaps they are included in Pierre's reminiscences in the Kennedy Library. Some day I will look them up. What I do remember is that the meeting was short, perhaps 10 or 15 seconds. After it, I went back to the press office and discovered what you, reader, already know: there was no place for me to sit.
So I spent my summer internship lurking in the hall near the file cabinet. I read most of the things that were in the file cabinet, including some interesting memos that were marked "top secret" and "eyes only." The file cabinet was right next to the men's room, where one day the speaker of the House, Sam Rayburn, got locked in. Had I not been nearby, he might be there still.
From time to time I went into the Oval Office and watched the president be photographed with foreign leaders. Sometimes, I am pretty sure, he noticed me watching him.
Which brings me to my crucial encounter with J.F.K., the one that no one at the Kennedy Library has come to ask me about. It was a Friday afternoon, and because I had nowhere to sit (see above) and nothing to do (ditto) I decided to go out and watch the president leave by helicopter for a weekend in Hyannisport. It was a beautiful day, and I stood out under the portico overlooking the Rose Garden, just outside the Oval Office. The helicopter landed. The noise was deafening. The wind from the chopper blades was blowing hard (although my permanent wave kept my hair stuck tight to my head). And then suddenly, instead of coming out of the living quarters, the president emerged from his office and walked right past me to get to the helicopter. He turned. He saw me. He recognized me. The noise was deafening but he spoke to me. I couldn't hear a thing, but I read his lips, and I'm pretty sure what he said was, "How are you coming along?" But I wasn't positive. So I replied as best I could. "What?" I said.
And that was it. He turned and went off to the helicopter and I went back to standing around the White House until the summer was over.
Now that I have read the articles about Mimi Fahnestock, it has become horribly clear to me that I am probably the only young woman who ever worked in the Kennedy White House whom the president did not make a pass at. Perhaps it was my permanent wave, which was a truly unfortunate mistake. Perhaps it was my wardrobe, which mostly consisted of multicolored dynel dresses that looked like distilled Velveeta cheese. Perhaps it's because I'm Jewish — don't laugh, think about it, think about that long, long list of women J.F.K. slept with. Were any Jewish? I don't think so.
On the other hand, perhaps it's simply because J.F.K. somehow sensed that discretion was not my middle name. I mean, I assure you if anything had gone on between the two of us, you would not have had to wait this long to find it out.
Anyway, that's my story. I might as well go public with it, although I have told it to pretty much everyone I have ever met in the last 42 years. And now, like Mimi Fahnestock, I will have no further comment on this subject. I would request that the news media respect my family's privacy.
Nora Ephron is a writer and director.
Monday, May 05, 2003
May 05, 2003, Monday
Scribe is set for 'House 2' Scribe builds 'House 2'
BY MICHAEL FLEMING and CATHY DUNKLEY
Mandeville Films has set "Bringing Down the House 2" in motion with screenwriter Jason Filardi.
Shingle is also negotiating with "Mrs. Doubtfire" scribe Randi Mayem Singer to script its remake of "Topper" as a reteam for "House" helmer Adam Shankman and Steve Martin.
Both projects are Disney-based.
Mandeville topper David Hoberman and his former Hyde Park partner Ashok Armitraj are producing "Bringing Down the House." Filardi wrote the original smash hit, and the hope is to reinlist Shankman, Martin and Queen Latifah.
Filardi is also scripting "Navy Seal" at Disney for Arnold and Anne Kopelson, and he's scripting "Ghetto Buck" at Columbia for Martin Lawrence and director Dennis Dugan.
Hoberman is producing "Topper" with Shankman and Jennifer Gibgot through their Offspring Entertainment banner. The 1937 original starred Cary Grant and Constance Bennett as a high society duo who get killed in an auto accident, become ghosts and inflict their rebellious spirit on an uptight, stodgy banker named Cosmo Topper, to be played by Martin.
Sunday, May 04, 2003
California News Wire
Stars salute the troops in USO exhibit
By Norma Meyer Copley News Service
HOLLYWOOD: A golf club that Bob Hope carried while cracking jokes on USO tours rests in a display case across the room from where a young Ronald Reagan shouts "I've got company. Right on my tail!" before firing on Japanese fighter planes in a World War II military training film.
Photographs on nearby walls feature a cavalcade of stars: Bing Crosby crooning to soldiers in 1944 Europe; Marilyn Monroe in low-cut sheath and stilettos being ogled by GIs in Korea in 1954; Jonathan Winters ribbing recruits in Vietnam in 1967; Steve Martin regaling a regiment in Saudi Arabia before the 1991 Gulf War; Jay Leno glad-handing Army infantrymen in Bosnia in 2001.
They were different times, but maybe a new exhibit will muzzle the Hollywood bashers who claim Tinseltown doesn't support our troops. There's even a photo of fervent Iraq war protester Sheryl Crow, dressed in Army fatigues and chumming with American soldiers in Korea last year.
"USO Presents Hollywood Salutes the Troops," at the Hollywood Entertainment Museum through Sept. 1, explores the tight relationship between showbiz and the armed forces from the 1940s to post-9/11, when former Marine Corps reservist Drew Carey drew yuks from service members in the Afghanistan war zone.
Although it seems timely, the exhibition, co-sponsored by the USO, was planned long before the United States bombed Baghdad. The idea was motivated by the upcoming 80th birthday of Hollywood's honorary mayor, Johnny Grant, a longtime radio and TV personality who has done 56 USO tours, more than anyone else, including Bob Hope.
"You know during combat times you may be the last entertainer they ever see," says Grant, who was still recuperating from a heart attack when he visited troops in Afghanistan and Pakistan last Thanksgiving.
With the help of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the civilian USO - United Service Organizations - was founded in 1941 to set up clubs and lounges on military bases, airports and train stations as a home away from home for those serving their country. Hollywood soon volunteered to entertain the troops to keep up morale.
"Marlene Dietrich was in Europe and touring the front for 1 1/2 years to the point of exhaustion where she had to be hospitalized," says museum curator Jan-Christopher Horak.
Despite flourishing careers, some actors enlisted.
"Jimmy Stewart and Clark Gable flew combat missions over Germany during World War II," says Horak, standing in front of a photo showing the matinee idols in Army Air Corps uniforms. ("Lt. James Stewart" is also seen in a recruiting film gloating about "what effect those shiny little wings have on a gal.")
Nearby is a photo of 37-year-old Henry Fonda getting a Navy physical in 1942.
"Fonda was considered too old. He was rejected several times, and finally the Navy on another try took him but only as a simple seaman," Horak says. Fonda rose in rank and earned a Bronze Star for valor.
Besides entertaining overseas, Hope and a band of stars traveled the country by train selling U.S. war bonds. A piece of yellowed typed paper, donated from the personal collection of the nearly 100-year-old Hope, was his script from the whistle-stop Victory Caravan in 1942:
"I sat between Claudette Colbert and Joan Bennett ... halfway here, the engineer made me get off ... I was getting up more steam than he was."
"Bond bombshell" Dorothy Lamour, Hope's co-star in the "Road" pictures, was credited with selling $300 million in war bonds. A letter from the U.S. treasury secretary, dated Sept. 30, 1945, commends her tireless work as "a real contribution toward the winning of the war."
Hollywood's extraordinarily close relationship with the military during World War II also resulted in the Culver City, Calif.-based First Motion Picture Unit of the Army Air Forces, organized with the help of studio mogul Jack Warner. Industry directors, writers, technicians and celebrity soldiers - including Reagan and William Holden - churned out recruitment and training films with names like "Ditch and Live." Military equipment that was used as props is on display.
Also on the home front, Tinseltown's stellar names poured coffee, danced the jitterbug with off-duty GIs and bused tables at the famous Hollywood Canteen at Sunset and Cahuenga boulevards. Bette Davis was the president of the WWII servicemen's nightclub.
Exhibit photos show Judy Garland singing at the canteen, Spencer Tracy signing autographs, Rosalind Russell washing dishes and Mickey Rooney playing drums.
Nothing has topped the star-studded involvement during World War II, when the attack on Pearl Harbor unleashed a die-hard patriotism. But celebrities have kept volunteering for USO tours during combat and peacetime.
In the jungles of Vietnam, "Ann-Margret was like a secret weapon," Grant recalls. The troops, he says, also loved Nancy Sinatra, who lent the Hollywood Boulevard museum the black leather knee-high boots she stomped in Vietnam while belting out "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'."
The military has not cleared USO performers to go to Iraq, Grant says, but once it does, he'll be the first on the plane. And although he won't name names, the 60-year USO showman says he's putting together a celebrity lineup.
"It really is the greatest experience any entertainer can ever go through," he says. "There seems to be a certain ring, a sound to GI laughter and applause. They're so appreciative."
Friday, May 02, 2003
We already knew he was beautiful
Courier Mail (Queensland, Australia)
May 3, 2003 Saturday
NEWS; Pg. 16
Nic beaut and beautiful
NICOLE Kidman and fellow Australian Hugh Jackman have been named on a list of the 50 most beautiful people.
People magazine published the list in its latest issue.
Oscar winner Kidman made the list for the seventh time and fellow Oscar-winner Julia Roberts made the list for an eighth time.
Also listed were actors Susan Sarandon and her daughter Eva Amurri, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Jennifer Aniston and singers Lisa-Marie Presley, Norah Jones, Jennifer Lopez and Britney Spears.
Men on the list included Ben Affleck, George Clooney, Daniel Day-Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio, basketballer Tony Parker and comedian Steve Martin, who joked his beauty "is actually a burden".
"Sometimes I go to a party and not one of the other 49 most beautiful people is there," he said. "That makes me feel very solitary and alone because it means I am the most beautiful person in the room."
Thursday, May 01, 2003
What Steve is doing -- update
there are spies everywhere
The San Francisco Chronicle
APRIL 30, 2003, WEDNESDAY, FINAL EDITION
DAILY DATEBOOK; Pg. D10; THE IN CROWD
Coming to a former prison near you?
P.S. Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt and Tommy Smothers were seen by TIC spy Patricia Regan Sunday night at the Duck Club restaurant at the Bodega Bay Lodge. Further intelligence reports reveal that Martin and Hunt, who'd been shooting "Cheaper by the Dozen" at Railroad Plaza in Santa Rosa all week, were staying at the Lodge. The movie's a remake of the 1950 original, based on a memoir of a 12-kid family from Providence, R.I., who eventually moved to Montclair, N.J., so it's only natural -- in movie logic -- that it be shot in Santa Rosa.