With `Bill' sounding sour notes, Clinton might need a new song

CELEBRITY NEWS

January 30, 2008|By LIZ SMITH

The country watches - some admiring, some aghast, many simply agog - at Bill Clinton's omnipresence on Hillary's campaign. His husbandly defense of her has opened up a huge can of waggish worms. Among them is the suggestion that the famous Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein song from Show Boat, "Bill," will be Senator Clinton's swan song, if she doesn't get a grip on him.

I think it's time for former President Clinton to rejoin with former President George H.W. Bush and ... go to Kenya or something. Let Hillary defend herself, choose her own battleground and allow her to be her own woman - something she has to be, to win the country.

Oh, and while I'm at it, I don't know that I particularly want words of support from Michelle Obama, Elizabeth Edwards or any spouse of any candidate.

I did have hope - though I was not wild about John Kerry - that if he won, in 2004, at least we'd have Teresa Heinz Kerry. I think she would have been quite a lot of fun - not the type to preside over luncheons for the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Hollywood blues

As I have noted before, this unusually interesting presidential campaign, combined with the Writers Guild of America strike, seems to have sapped most people's interest in show biz.

The prevailing attitude was crystallized during dinner with a friend who is interested in everything - movies, theater and politics. But when the subject of the Oscars arose and if it might not be the usual orgy of celebs and glitter, my date said, "Oh, really, who cares? I mean, too bad about the Globes, because you can drink and everything seems less stupid. But I am much more interested in what Bill Clinton's going to do next than if Juno wins the Oscar."

P.S. Juno might well win the Oscar. This charming little indie about a pregnant teen has been a great big hit, and it is the only one of the five nominated films that leaves you with a total uplift about life. And, boy, do we need that now!

Being Julie Christie

Still, show biz life goes on. And there are pleasures. In fact, alone in my bedroom, I actually let out a little yelp of pleasure when Julie Christie took the Screen Actors Guild's best female actor award for Away From Her. Even better than her win, was her charming acceptance speech and, well - her beauty, which continues luminous and within the bounds of nature. That is, she still looks like Julie Christie.

But what was with Tom Cruise? He came on to close the SAG Awards show and seemed rather sullen. He didn't get a very big hand from the audience either.

In mourning

The tragic death of Heath Ledger continues to reverberate through Hollywood. Some of the usual suspects have stepped forward to make statements about Heath, which are really self-aggrandizing PR opportunities.

One who has not spoken is Jake Gyllenhaal, Heath's co-star in Brokeback Mountain. Jake, who is godfather to Heath and Michelle Williams' baby Matilda, was shocked and devastated by his friend's passing. And the film he is currently working on was immediately closed to the press.

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