It wasn't the biggest hit in TV history, but Bosom Buddies — the Some Like It Hot of the small screen, circa 1980 — has its place in the books. That's because it launched Tom Hanks' career.
Twenty-three years later, Hanks and his Buddies co-star Peter Scolari are still good friends. That must be some kind of record. Even Lucy and Ethel, or Mary and Rhoda, can't say that exactly.
So last night Hanks and wife Rita Wilson showed up for the star-studded Broadway premiere of Gypsy. You might think they were there because Gypsy, like Hanks' Road to Perdition, is directed by Sam Mendes. But we know better.
In fact, Scolari's wife of four years, Kathy, a 30-year-old blonde with a hearty laugh, is in the Gypsy chorus playing two or three parts. Scolari, 48, couldn't be prouder. And he talked to me about making his first movie with Hanks, the animated, Robert Zemeckis-directed, Polar Express.
About 10 people have producer credits on the Warner Bros. feature, by the way, but it's Hanks' company, Playtone, that's actually making the movie. Playtone also made That Thing You Do and My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
Polar Express should be a grand-slam since the book is one of the all-time bestsellers, but we'll see what Warner does with it.
Hanks wasn't the only big name to drop in on Gypsy to see Bernadette Peters' tour-de-force debut in the Ethel Merman role. Matthew Broderick (without Sarah Jessica Parker, but extremely well-dressed in formal attire), Nathan Lane, playwright Neil Simon, Hours director Stephen Daldry, Gloria Estefan, Rosie O'Donnell, Susan Lucci and legendary actors Lauren Bacall, James Whitmore and Dame Maggie Smith were in attendance as well.
Lucci brought along the hot young stars of All My Children, including Rebecca Budig, who's become a sensation on the soap since she arrived. Budig and Gypsy star Tammy Blanchard got to be friends on another soap, Guiding Light. Blanchard also invited her Guiding Light mom, actress Patti D'Arbanville, whose blondish hair is dyed black for her role on The Sopranos.
Gypsy's composer, Stephen Sondheim, and writer, Arthur Laurents, by the way, kept far away from the madding crowd at the after party at Guastavino's. They whiled away the dinner downstairs and kept hidden from the A-list crowd.
Not spotted at the premiere of Gypsy: Actress June Havoc, who's the real Baby June of the story. Equally absent was Gypsy Rose Lee's son, Eric Preminger. A show insider said they'd been invited to the premiere but didn't show. Havoc, now in her '80s, lives in nearby Fairfield County, Connecticut.
O'Donnell, by the way, came to the show with her extremely friendly partner/companion/whatever Kelli Carpenter, and the pair showed me pictures of their cutey-patootey four-month-old daughter.
The family is extremely happy, contrary to what you may have seen in the tabs. And how is Parker, Rosie's eldest child?
"He started Little League, and he's the catcher. But the first time the ball came toward him, he moved this way," she said, making a shuffle to the left. Smart kid. "He'll get used to it," she added.
Rosie also said she's disappointed Caroline Rhea's TV show is being canceled. "She's so talented," O'Donnell said. "But it's all about money. Caroline said, 'They're being so mean to me and they were nice to you.' I said, 'They wouldn't have been nice to me if we hadn't had the ratings.'"
Outside the Shubert Theatre following the show, Lucci and husband Helmut Huber wound up getting besieged by fans while waiting for their car.
Lucci, who is petite and tremendously friendly, obliged all the autograph hounds. It was like the great mall scene from SoapDish. Two young women made her sign the designer jeans they were wearing. Look for them on eBay before the weekend is out.
Just about the same time that Gypsy was letting out, the Friars Club was holding a tribute across town to their leader, Freddie Roman.
By the time I got there, Lisa Lampanelli, a comedienne, was taking the stage dressed in a nun's habit. She identified herself as one "Esther Rabinowitz," who had become a lesbian nun as result of a bad date with Freddie.
The rest of what she said was very funny and entirely unprintable. It was in stark contrast to three hours of Mama Rose.
Several more Friars also toasted Freddie including Louise Duart, a woman who does an unnerving imitation of both George Burns and Gracie Allen.
But it was Jack Carter, the veteran comic from the Ed Sullivan era, who really rocked the house. Nearly 80 years old, Carter showed the crowd just how the experts do it, despite the fact that he wears a hearing aid and looks like he might tip over at any moment.
So guess what? Tonight he's going over to Broadway to see his old friend, Frank Gorshin, in Say Goodnight Gracie, the comedy about none other than George Burns and Gracie Allen.
"The producers want me to do the national tour," Carter told me. "But I don't know. It's a lot of work. It's not like I can't do it. I probably will."
And where was Friar Alan King?
"He's working tonight," said Freddie. Pause. "Hey, if I had a job would I be here?"
The new issue of People magazine has the annual 50 Most Beautiful People — and a surprise. After six years of being on the list, actress Halle Berry finally got the cover.
Bravo to editor Martha Nelson, who has done something really neat here by breaking the color line and putting a black woman on the cover.
Recently, Berry was forced to share the cover of Glamour with two other actresses. She won the Oscar a year ago and yet our friends at Vanity Fair still haven't bestowed the cover honor on her.
But People, which is a much bigger deal circulation-wise than VF, has to be commended. Berry certainly is Most Beautiful, but wait til you see her in X2. She rocks!