I covered the O.J. Simpson criminal case from day one until the verdict. I watched Nicole Brown Simpson dragged through mud and made to suffer cliché after cliché. It's starting again with Lana Clarkson.
Buxom and blonde, Clarkson is not going to rest easy as a corpse. Clearly the victim in a shooting at Phil Spector's house, Clarkson is already getting bad spin out of L.A. In last night's latest reports, the only focus on her is as a B-movie actress who worked at a "Sunset Strip blues club." Oh! Sounds seedy, huh? But the House of Blues is quite the opposite, as anyone knows. It's a nice place, a great place. It's Disneyland for anyone who likes to listen to music.
But it's all spin these days, isn't it? It's like Christie Brinkley trying to protect her child from getting in the wrong car. Her "child" is 17 years old, not four! But that's how it goes.
Last night's wire stories also announced that Clarkson's body was undergoing an autopsy to see if she had drugs or alcohol in her system. She's the victim, but she's undergoing the tests. I wonder if Spector was tested properly by the LAPD. Back in 1994, O.J. Simpson was not tested for the one thing that could explain his mood swings: steroids. Instead he was given a routine drug panel (coke, marijuana) and sent on his way.
Clarkson may have been the queen of the B-movies, but she was no dummy, and not much of a runaround by the looks of things. I told you yesterday exclusively what she wrote on her Web site's message board, which is now off the Internet: "I have been blessed to work in an extremely difficult industry, but in my opinion have not even begun to reach my full potential. I have been pounding my head against a Plexiglas ceiling trying to break through to a completely different level for a while now. God willing, this is the year it will happen. Keep your eye out for a new quality of work from Ms. Clarkson!"
It doesn't sound like a stupid person, does it? And only a stupid person would have been with Phil Spector because she thought he'd further her career. Everyone in Hollywood knew that Spector -- certainly a genius in 1963 -- was not a starmaker in 2003. It's not like he was going to turn her into Cher or Tina Turner. The last diva he worked with was Celine Dion. The sessions were never completed, and the bad feelings have never been resolved.
You can win all the Oscars you like, but that doesn't guarantee you the cover of Vanity Fair.
The monthly glossy has apparently assembled a group of five big name male movie stars for the cover of its Hollywood issue, on sale March 7. However, last year's Academy Award winner, Denzel Washington, will not be among them.
Instead, the magazine shot Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford and Jack Nicholson for its cover. A fifth actor, possibly Tom Hanks, will join the group. (These covers are generally taken as separate pictures and then morphed together.)
Of course, Pitt, Cruise, and Ford have never gotten an Academy Award. But then again, it's the Hollywood issue of Vanity Fair, not the Oscar issue. That makes it possible for them to have chosen Brittany Murphy as their ingénue of the year. Get it?
Also scheduled for the Hollywood issue: a reunion photo of the cast of The Big Chill featuring Kevin Costner, who was cut out of the finished version. The rest of the cast is in the photo, but Meg Tilly declined. She will be featured in a video still from the film, captured on a monitor in the background.
Vanity Fair will also spotlight producer Robert Evans and his new wife, Leslie-Ann Woodward. Vanity Fair's editor in chief, Graydon Carter, produced the Evans bio documentary, The Kid Stays in the Picture. That film grossed a total of $1.4 million when it was released last fall.
But it's the cover that will be most amusing to those in the know. Vanity Fair has rarely put an African American male on its cover, and hasn't had Washington since the late 1980s. The last black man to make it was singer Barry White, who made the inside flap of the music issue in November.
According to sources, Washington might have made the inside group this year had there been one. But Mel Gibson, who was supposed to be in that group, declined, and that was that. It will be interesting to see which two of the five who were photographed will be on the "real" cover and who will be inside. Won't it?
About nine minutes into yesterday's syndicated Extra show, the underlying music was a guitar instrumental of J.J. Jackson 's "But It's Alright." I sure hope that song was cleared, and Jackson -- who is quite bit alive and living in the United States -- gets his royalties...
Another Jackson making headlines this week: Michael. Evidently he's given his career ending interview to Martin Bashir. We can all watch it this week on ABC, which bought the piece for $5 million. Already we're told that Jackson did Macaulay and Kieran Culkin no favors by saying they slept on his bed as children. That's Jacko's way: using children as his rationale. And how about nicknaming his child "Blanket"? Sounds like a pet's name. It's an inanimate object, a blanket. It's a thing. I wonder what a psychologist will have to say about objectifying one's child that way.