One for the books: N.Y. library bids farewell to Brooke Astor

CELEBRITY NEWS

September 17, 2007|By LIZ SMITH | LIZ SMITH,Tribune Media Services

The New York Public Library said goodbye to Brooke Astor last week on a rainy afternoon that drew the creme de la creme. Such fabulous souls as Toni Morrison, the most celebrated novelist in America, read from things Brooke had written; likewise, the distinguished Robert Silvers, the actor's actor Marian Seldes, Fran Barrett, an Astor award winner, and the irrepressible Vartan Gregorian, who gave us a rousing Baptist preacher-type sermon. I loved when Charlie Rose spoke and showed a snippet of his interview with Brooke at her peak, back when she was in her late 90s.

On the way out, one of the library's greatest supporters, writer Barbara Goldsmith, told me a terrific story about how, when she was divorced from movie director Frank Perry, she encountered Mrs. Astor, who congratulated her. "You are free! Now you won't have to handle the bedpans and take care of him when he grows old. Good for you!"

The word on glamour

He's not a paparazzo; he's an artist. I mean Patrick McMullan, whose new book, Glamour Girls, includes so many pages of same that it's difficult to lift. Naturally, my favorite in this new book is not the article I wrote about which beautiful VIPs of history had glamour, but the photo on page 104 of a pre-rehab golden girl Lindsay Lohan posing with Cindy Adams and me at the Vanity Fair party in 2006. Talk about glamour!

Maybelline kicks off Patrick's tome on Sept. 27 at the Whitney Museum. One tiny caveat -- some of the women in Glamour Girls aren't glam, and they aren't girls.

Films on the horizon

At the Toronto Film Festival, early raves are for Ang Lee's Lust, Caution, which is all about a 1949 Japanese-occupied Shanghai, China. Because of its quality and the recent win at the Venice Film Festival, this one is definitely in the Oscar race. ... George Clooney made his usual welcome appearance for Michael Clayton, a Warner Bros. film showing a solid and intriguing directorial debut for Tony Gilroy. (One of my all-time favorite guys, Sydney Pollack, is in this movie.) ... The indefatigable Coen brothers, Ethan and Joel, showed with Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin and Woody Harrelson for No Country for Old Men, and this looks like a winner for Miramax and Scott Rudin. ... Another interesting film shown was Across the Universe, a Julie Taymor and Elliot Goldenthal offering. (Kenneth and Maria Cole screened that Thursday and gave a dinner after at Amy Sacco's new Bette restaurant.)

Memories of Texans

Texas beauty Nancy Holmes came to New York from Houston and was an ornament in society for years; she died recently in her hometown. Now Randy and Connie Jones are giving a memorial for her Tuesday in New York City.

I shall add to this by saying that exactly a year ago last week, another friend, Ann Richards, died in Austin. But when I gave a party to welcome Ann to New York right after Sept. 11, Ann saw me admiring Nancy's earrings at the same Le Cirque fete. The former governor of Texas went up to Nancy at party's end and bought the earrings right on the spot. I received them as a thank-you gift and have them on now. So the circle closes, and every time I put them on, I think of those two departed Texans.

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