Published April 27, 2001
Just two days ago I told you about Puff Daddy's "story" being turned into a movie by Ralph Lauren's son Andrew.
Now Puffy's story is also getting the TV treatment — this time from Dick Wolf's Law & Order. And in this version, Jennifer Lopez is guilty. Who says love don't cost a thing?
The NBC crime show is filming an episode the week of May 7 — one of their stockpiled episodes for next fall which may be in violation of the Writers Guild of America — based directly on the story of Puffy's nightclub shootout, featuring a Jennifer Lopez character. Talk about ripped from today's headlines!
The episode, called "3 Dawg Night," calls for a character named Darryl Collins aka G-Trane, a "black hip hop star with his own clothing line who has a Park Avenue townhouse and a place in the Hamptons." Casting is underway right now.
(I recommend, by the way, an actor from As the World Turns named Paul Taylor. If this works out, maybe Dick Wolf will give this column a credit!)
Collins' girlfriend in the story is named Allie Tejada, who's described as "20s, Latina, rising star." In the Law & Order version of things, Allie, aka Jennifer Lopez, is the shooter, and Puffy, er, uh, G-Trane is protecting her. I suppose Miss J-Lo will not be too happy when she hears that!
Another character in the show is a bodyguard, presumably based on Anthony "Wolf" Jones, Puff's right-hand man. In the show, the character's name is James Truman, although I'm sure this is no reference to the real-life editorial director of Conde Nast Publications.
Angie Harmon, who has played assistant District Attorney Abbie Carmichael for the last three seasons, will not be in "3 Dawg Night." The actress was pushed off Law & Order recently. Her last shooting date was this past Wednesday. She was replaced by Elizabeth Rohm, late of TNT's Bull and a short lamented stint on One Life to Live.
Ah, Mary. Is there any better celebrity than Mary Tyler Moore? Me thinks not. Since she came back to New York 20 years ago (she was born in Brooklyn, you know), Mary has been an animal-rights advocate, played Broadway twice, filmed movies here, and worked tirelessly for Juvenile Diabetes. She's been happily married for years to Dr. Robert Levine. Yes, she has hundreds of millions of dollars in the bank, but that has not prevented her from being a great person.
So there she was on Wednesday night, helping to promote TV Land's 5th anniversary. TV Land shows reruns of the Mary Tyler Moore Show, Rhoda and occasionally Phyllis — all once owned by Mary before she sold them for those millions. They also show The Dick Van Dyke Show, in which she memorably co-starred.
Mary does not need to help TV Land, believe me. She's got a TV movie on May 20 for CBS in which she plays sociopath Sante Kimes, currently in prison — along with her crazy son Kenneth — for killing New York millionaire/socialite Irene Silverman just to get the lady's Fifth Avenue apartment. (Mary, by the way, has such an apartment, but she earned it the old-fashioned way.)
She's also headed to the Williamstown Theatre Festival in June to do the new A.R. Gurney play, and she has a movie coming out this fall called Cheaters, in which she plays a nasty high school principal.
Dressed in a kind of laminated-looking hot Missoni dress with red and beige horizontal stripes (and dotted with something called paillettes that looked like hole-punchings), Mary was pretty snazzy standing there alongside Beaver (Jerry Mathers), Felix (Tony Randall), Oscar (Jack Klugman), and Jeannie (Barbara Eden). In fact she looked a little out of place.
"Mary," I said, "I only came to this weird event because of you and Ed Asner."
"That’s funny," she said with perfect comic timing, "I only came because of you."
When Mary went on stage to join the others — including of course her former boss Mr. Grant, played by Asner, Don Knotts (Barney Fife), Larry Hagman (Capt./Major Anthony Nelson, not JR Ewing tonight), Mr. T (Mr. T), Barbara Feldon and Bernie Kopell (from Get Smart), Joyce Randolph (the beloved Trixie from the Honeymooners), Mike Connors (Mannix), Randolph Mantooth (Emergency), Isabel Sanford (Weezy on The Jeffersons) — Dr. Levine waited anxiously for her in the wings and collected Mary protectively. You could see how nice they are together.
But let's not rake over the coals of the Mary Tyler Moore Show, our all-time favorite TV program. Instead, Mary talked about playing Sante Kimes in Like Mother, Like Son. Gabriel Olds plays Kenneth.
For Mary, it's another chance get away from Mary Richards. Her most famous chance to do that was in Ordinary People in 1980. She got an Oscar nomination for Best Actress, but lost to Sissy Spacek in Coal Miner's Daughter. (It was a tough call.)
"Beth (the character from Ordinary People) was neurotic, but this woman is sick," Mary told me with some glee. "She always felt she was owed a good deal in life. You know she was a prostitute at 12 years old. Her father put her on the streets."
Mary went to visit Rikers Island (a prison island in New York that you never ever want to go near under any circumstances) to a get a read on Sante (who calls herself "Shante.") Our dear Mary on Rikers Island! The last time Mary went to jail, on the MTM Show, it was to protect a source, remember? She made friends with a prostitute. She couldn't get a toothbrush.
Nevertheless, Mary said, in her conversations with people who actually know Kimes — like prison guards — the woman came up aces. "They all found her charming, lovable, charismatic. She embraced them all," Mary said. "Then they realized how they'd been manipulated by her."
You go, girl! This will add one more Emmy to Mary's incredible collection, no doubt. She's already got more than any other TV performer. Quite an accomplishment.
USA Films, which is famous for sending out clever promotional items for its films, shipped an actual whip — a cat o’ nine tails, to the press this week for One Night at McCool’s, which opens today. I was one of the lucky recipients. You can see me demonstrate the whip over the weekend on Celebrity Spotlight, the Fox News Channel show which airs at 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday. Check local listings.
To wit: "The official One Night at McCool's whip is to be used only in the privacy of homes by consenting adults, or in circus cages near consenting beasts, or in the privacy of homes by consenting adults who might also be beasts. … Please be not only whip-smart with our gift but whip safe as well."
Here's a Capitol Records' press release, verbatim: "As a person, Dave [Navarro] has always been an open book sharing the truths, the lies, the beauty, the horror of it all. In his house there is a photomural of a Vietnamese soldier about to get shot in the head from Life magazine. He uses it as a reminder of human suffering and to have gratitude for his life. Much like the photo and his life, Dave's music walks the tightrope between grace and hell."