Dwayne `The Rock' Johnson: headed for movie star status?

CELEBRITY NEWS

May 07, 2008|By LIZ SMITH | LIZ SMITH,Tribune Media Services

IN A way he is a modern breed of film star. A man as interested in the business of show as he is in performance. An amalgam of magnetism and marketing savvy. Talented and shameless. A charming control freak. George Clooney minus the smugness. Arnold minus the skeeve. Tom Cruise minus the crazy. Ryan Seacrest, if Seacrest were a man."

That's Alison Glock writing in Men's Journal about Dwayne Johnson, formerly known as pro wrestling's "The Rock" and later as a tight-jawed, heavily muscled action hero in over-the-top projects such as The Mummy Returns and The Scorpion King. Johnson has been slowly transforming himself into an all-around matinee idol and family-friendly movie star. (The Game Plan was a huge unexpected hit and coming efforts include Tooth Fairy, Race to Witch Mountain and Get Smart.)

Well, I'm glad Men's Journal is on board ... with me! I cited Dwayne as the most pulled-together, charming and charismatic man at the Oscar ceremony this year. And nobody looked better in a tux!

On Cruise

Despite the above quote, we don't think Tom Cruise is crazy. He just ... wants his way. Why not? He works hard for it. (And he knows when it is politic to alter his views. In his most recent sit-down with Oprah, Tom said he'd misjudged the depth of postpartum depression. You all remember his set-too with Brooke Shields over that matter!)

Tom, wife Katie and daughter Suri were in Manhattan the other day, taking in Broadway's big hit Hairspray. After, the family stopped in at Serendipity 3 for dinner.

They were ushered in through a side entrance, but waved to the assembled throng, royally. Tom, Katie and Suri ate backward. That is, they all started with dessert - a butterscotch sundae. Then Mr. and Mrs. Cruise shared a chicken pot pie. Suri chose grilled cheese. Tom left a stunning 100-percent tip.

But never let it be said that Tom allows a moment to pass when he doesn't want the world to know how much he adores Katie. At one point, Tom stood up and said, "I'm gonna kiss my wife!" He then grabbed Katie by the back of the head and gave her a grand old-style Hollywood kiss.

More applause from the fans.

Divas being divine

Last week I wondered what it would be like to be a fly on the wall of the dressing rooms of Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight, Patti LaBelle and Diana Ross, during their "Divas With Heart" concert at Radio City Music Hall, benefiting heart disease.

Apparently, any nosy flies would have died of a sugar overdose! It was nothing but love, love, love between the four great ladies. Chaka and Gladys Knight held hands at one point backstage. And Miss Diana actually got up and went to LaBelle's dressing room to chat, between the matinee and evening shows. Chaka sent Diana, Patti and Gladys gorgeous bouquets.

The concerts? A sell-out. Ten thousand screaming fans. Multiple standing ovations. Diana - no surprise - closed the show. She entered from the back of the house - just like Mama Rose! The audience leapt to its feet, and stayed on its feet for her entire time onstage, as she ripped through her Supremes and solo hits.

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