On Friday afternoon, as the rest of Manhattan escaped to points north and east, I had the pleasure of running into the dapper George Hamilton. We were both headed uptown by foot, under gray skies. Hamilton, who indeed possessed his trademark tan, looked like a billion bucks (a million being nothing anymore). He just finished filming Woody Allen's spring project, in which he plays a studio mogul.
As always, George Hamilton is 'in.' At 61 he is the winner of Hollywood's Survivor game. Everyone's been voted out of town by now from his generation except George Hamilton. (His gang: Jill St. John, Dyan Cannon, Raquel Welch, etc.)
On Madison Avenue, George was quite the movie star. It's not like people didn't notice him. They did. They probably had read in another gossip column recently that George has a 15-month-old son, the product of a liaison with a "girl."
"I didn't expect this child," George told me. "But he's great and I'm really enjoying him. We've been shooting at the Lenox Lounge up on 125th St. for Woody's movie, and I've been buying baby clothes up there. They have all the same stores that are downtown."
In the year 2001, George Hamilton was shopping for baby clothes at the Gap in Harlem. There's a sentence I never thought I'd write. (George has one grown son, Ashley, from his marriage to Alana Hamilton Stewart.)
Hamilton told me he's getting ready to produce a feature film based on his childhood. Merv Griffin will executive produce and Charlie Peters (Blame It on Rio and other light comedies) has written the screenplay. Michelle Pfeiffer has expressed an interest in playing George's mother, Anne Stevens Potter Hamilton Hunt Spalding. It's the kind of part that has Oscar written all over it.
"When I was 12, my mother took my two brothers and me and put us in a car and went driving across the country looking for old boyfriends whom she could marry. We were living on Sutton Place and had run out of money. So she was hoping to hook one."
I won't tell you the end of the story, but I will tell you that Anne Spalding is 91 and quite alive, although one of George's brothers has passed away. Hamilton and Griffin hope to get their project before the cameras before the end of the year. If so, expect a George Hamilton Renaissance in 2002. Sounds like fun.
If you've seen Michael Bay's film Pearl Harbor this weekend, then you know that one of the most preposterous things in it takes place at a Cabinet meeting.
During this meeting, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt struggles up onto crutches from his wheelchair. The date is approximately December 7, 1941.
For the record: FDR was stricken with polio in 1921 when he was 39 years old. By the time he became President, Roosevelt was completely wheelchair bound. The press — quite different then — conspired to keep his secret. Less than a handful of photographs were ever taken of Roosevelt in his wheelchair. Nevertheless, he was paralyzed from the waist down until his death in 1945.
Roosevelt's insistence on being depicted as a healthy person, and not handicapped, made him a hero at the time to people who were physically challenged. It's unlikely that he stood up at a Cabinet meeting, but that's Pearl Harbor — history of the absurd.
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