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Macaulay Culkin's Dad Goes to Bat for Jacko

Michael Jackson | Christian Slater | Farewell, Bobby Short and Ted Brown

Macaulay Culkin's Dad Goes to Bat for Jacko

Michael Jackson never acted inappropriately with Macaulay Culkin or any of his siblings.

So says the Culkins' long-estranged dad, Kit, in a single-spaced, 40-page treatise I read yesterday.

Kit Culkin has gotten a bad rap because of his acrimonious divorce from his wife and because of various episodes when he acted as his kids' agent.

But Kit, who is the brother of actress Bonnie Bedelia, is not stupid and spent a great deal of time with Jackson in the early 1990s when his kids visited Neverland.

Culkin writes that, except for one instance, he had no criticisms of Michael Jackson.

Indeed, the piece, which is co-written with his significant other of 10 years, Jeanette Kryoski, is thoughtful and unemotional.

"I never saw or heard anything at all during my early days of knowing Michael to suggest that he was a pedophile," Culkin writes.

"My kids never slept with Michael. I need mention this because on the [Martin] Bashir program, Michael admitted that he did sleep with children; and well he may have, but he never slept with mine," he continues.

"Whenever at Neverland, they always had their own quarters, as did their mother and as did I. Michael's bedroom (an enormous room with a fireplace and French doors leading out to a private garden) was almost always an open place to hang out in, as was most all of the rest of the house.

"My children would sit on the bed, as would I, to play cards or checkers or watch television or whatever, but then we would do so most everywhere else also. They might of occasion fall asleep there just as they might of occasion fall asleep most anywhere else, and at most any daylight hour ...

"They'd fall asleep watching a movie at the movie theatre or playing with the toys trains in the toy trains room and there was one occasion, I well remember, when one of them was actually found asleep on the carousel! So, as I say, there was nothing in these days to suggest pedophilia."

Kit Culkin's statement reads like a treatment for a memoir, but isn't being shopped to anyone right now. Culkin has more to say about Jackson, and lots of other subjects as well.

I'll tell you some more about his feelings about Michael tomorrow.

But someone in publishing should call this Kit Culkin. He came off as a little nutty in the tabloid press, and I can't vouch for his parenting skills, but he's an insightful writer who got a quite a good inside look at Hollywood.

A Good Christian in 'Glass Menagerie'

Christian Slater is back on Broadway.

His last appearance was in the Pulitzer Prize-winning "Sideman" a few years ago. He was terrific in London this winter in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." And last night he opened as the male lead, Tom Wingfield, in Tennessee Williams' "The Glass Menagerie."

Slater only had 10 days to prepare for the role, to boot.

The reason for no rehearsals? Apparently star Jessica Lange had a "communication problem" on stage with actor Dallas Roberts, who left the show. So 10 days ago Christian stepped in.

He told me last night after the "opening" performance that for the first few days he actually wrote some lines on the palms of his hands.

"I figured Tom would do the same thing," he laughed.

He's right. Luckily, he never used the hand trick and last night he knew his lines cold, including a couple of tricky monologues that he aced.

The audience loved him, and so did I. That's because Christian is a survivor.

The son of casting director Mary Jo Slater, he had some hit movies, and then a lot of bad publicity.

He married Ryan Haddon (daughter of superbeauty Dale Haddon), and moved to London with her and their two kids. They were supposedly divorcing, but he seems to think that "things may still work out."

You can only hope it does. And he's been a hit in the West End with "Cuckoo." He will return there to do another Williams play, "Sweet Bird of Youth," this fall.

"This is what I like doing best," he told me last night.

He's certainly comfortable on stage. He and Lange have a great rapport, and the chemistry with Sarah Paulson, who plays his sister Lara, is full of affection.

"Now I can start trying to crack you up and say dirty things," Christian told Paulson at the afterparty at the Bryant Park Grill.

Why did he wait?

"We just had to get through opening night," he said.

Paulson is in for it, I fear.

Jessica Lange — gorgeous, gracious and friendly — brought her son and daughter as well as their dad, playwright/actor Sam Shepard. He brought his friend, rocker Patti Smith, with her own daughter, who is about to graduate from high school. Can you believe it?

Also spotted: Famke Janssen, Cherry Jones and "One Life to Live" star Robin Strasser. A great New York night, and a great Broadway one too!

New York City Loses Two Landmarks

It's a tough time in New York right now. Some idiots are planning to shut down the Plaza Hotel soon. It's not right.

We've come close to losing the FAO Schwarz toy store, and Le Cirque is temporarily missing. Last year we lost Alan King and Tony Randall, and more recently Jerry Orbach and Cy Coleman.

In the last few days, we lost two more New Yorkers integral to our culture: Bobby Short, who was 80, and Ted Brown, who was probably a little older.

Bobby Short you probably knew: He was famous for his appearances at the Cafe Carlyle, for being in Woody Allen movies, his Charlie fragrance and Gloria Vanderbilt jeans commercials. Bobby Short was like living Art Deco, and he seemed to harken back to a long-gone New York era.

I once saw him trying to flag a cab up First Avenue to get to the Carlyle. I offered him a lift, but he held out for a Checker cab. What a swell guy. He was the tops.

Maybe Ted Brown is only known to New Yorkers, but he was a staple on radio here for eons. Like John Gambling, Henry Morgan, William B. Williams, Scott Muni and many others who are still alive and kicking, Brown was one of those familiar, friendly voices who made New York distinctive on the air. If you picked them up by accident from a faraway place, it felt like home.

These guys didn't curse or speak of pornography. Ah, well. Ted Brown, once the husband of our friend, Sylvia Miles (before her two Oscar nominations), will be missed.