By Tony Rizzo
HOLLYWOOD — Phil Spector, the odd-looking, eccentric record producer who was convicted of murder before our eyes on the news and on Court TV, is about to become the subject of an HBO Films biopic. The film will be written and directed by award-winning playwright David Mamet and be produced by Oscar-winning director Barry Levinson (who won for “Rain Man”). To play Spector, they’ve cast one of the greatest living actors of our time, Al Pacino, who will undoubtably do for Spector what he did for Jack Kervorkian last year in the HBO Films biopic that won him another Emmy Award.
Nearly 50 years after the untimely death of Marilyn Monroe, the fascination with her life, the mystery surrounding her death and the dissection of every part of her personality and mind have filled countless books, documentaries and films. As evidence of this we have a new film, based on the diaries of Colin Clark, the assistant who worked with Monroe in 1957 on the set of “The Prince and The Showgirl,” co-starring Laurence Olivier. Michelle Williams of “Brokeback Mountain” will play MM, and her co-stars include Dame Judi Dench, Kenneth Branagh, Julia Ormond and Dougray Scott.
There’s also a new book, “The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe” by J. Randy Tarborrelli (Grand Central Publishing), that says it reveals untold truths. And the cover story of November’s Vanity Fair has “Marilyn’s Diaries,” yet another exploitation by Paula Strasberg, her former acting coach, who sold Monroe’s private papers at auction for a mere $13.4 million.
Hollywood insiders have a different version of what happened to Marilyn. They don’t think her death was a suicide or a murder by the Mafia, as speculated. They believe it was her affair with President John F. Kennedy and then Robert Kennedy that got her into hot water. She knew too much and threatened to go public with it. Allegedly, one of our government agencies handled the problem, and did its job of muddying the waters so well, we still don’t have all the answers to what really happened — and probably never will!
The Paley Center for Media staged a reunion of some of the cast of “Falcon Crest,” the nighttime soap on CBS from 1981-1990 starring Jane Wyman. Looking back with its creator, Earl Hamner, who also created “The Waltons,” were fan favorites David Selby, now in “The Social Network”; Susan Sullivan, a regular on “Castle”; Abby Dalton, who recalled when her TV son Lorenzo Lamas married her real-life actress daughter Kathleen Kinmont and became her son-in-law; and Robert Foxworth, widower of Elizabeth Montgomery, now remarried and touring the country performing Shakespeare. During the run of the show, many big-name movie actors appeared, such as Ursula Andress, Eve Arden, Leslie Caron, Celeste Holm, Mel Ferrer, Gina Lollabrigida, Kim Novak, Cliff Robertson, Cesar Romero, Robert Stack, Rod Taylor and Lana Turner. It also gave newcomer Mariska Hargitay of “Law & Order” her big break. Season 2 of “Falcon Crest” has just been released on video.
© 2010 King Features Synd., Inc.