It's hard to imagine Lindsay Lohan's life at this point.
Although she just turned 19, the teen actress has been subject to just about every kind of tabloid speculation known to man.
If you believe the rumors, she's had extensive plastic surgery, been bulimic and overweight, slept with countless older stars, run through all kinds of controlled substances and had a bout with alcoholism.
"Good friends," "insiders" and "sources" have not hesitated to tell every story they "know" to Star, US Weekly and anyone else who'll listen.
So I was naturally a little nervous when I ran into Lohan last night at the premiere of John Singleton's "Four Brothers." We'd only met one other time, at another premiere this year.
Also, she was with her publicist Leslie Sloane Zelnick, whom I've known for years and always liked. But if you catch their passing appearances in these magazines, Lohan and Zelnick seem like they're careening out of spin control on a daily basis.
So there they were, accompanied by Lindsay's attractive young friend Amanda, who's still in high school. They were already in their seats at the Chelsea West movie theater.
Lindsay, who's a redhead, is sporting streaked blond hair these days. Otherwise, she was quite normal looking, personable to a fault and incredibly pleasant.
It was very disappointing. I wanted a temper tantrum, a quick run to the bathroom for a snort, anything juicy!
Alas, it was not to be.
"How are you getting through all of this?" I asked, keeping in mind that at least one, maybe two of her family members have been in jail lately or tried to cash in on her success.
"I'm trying to ignore it," she replied. "But I'm going to direct a video to a new song, and it's going to tell the whole story of the last year and a half."
Lindsay, as you may recall, has a sort of odd singing career that produced an album earlier this year.
The new song, I think, is not from that album. The video, she said, excitedly, "is really a short film."
She just returned from Minneapolis, where she played Meryl Streep's daughter in Robert Altman's adaptation of Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion."
"When I got there I was nervous," she said, which I understood completely. She's a New Yorker. "There was nothing out there. Then I calmed down, and it was great."
Altman does not suffer fools gladly, so he obviously saw something of value in Lohan.
This was a relief to Lindsay, who is probably less known right now for her acting skills than for what dress she wore to which party.
"He did have Paul Thomas Anderson there," Lindsay said of the "Magnolia" director. "He said, 'He's here in case I croak.' I said, 'Bob, please don't say things like that.'"
Anderson was indeed on set because Altman was under the weather at first. Luckily, nothing bad happened — and Anderson, whose "Magnolia" is a gigantic Altman homage anyway — got a great tutorial.
So that's Lindsay Lohan, aged 19. She's having quite an experience. If she can just live through it, she'll have quite a career.
Just in case you were wondering, the other stars at the premiere last night included the cast of "Four Brothers" — Mark Wahlberg, Tyrese, André 3000 of OutKast, Garrett Hedlund, Terrence Howard, Sofia Vergara, the underused and talented Josh Charles — and director John Singleton.
Howard, who also stars in "Hustle and Flow," which Singleton produced, has a small role here, but he is indelible. His strong screen presence assures him of a terrific career if he wants it. We're going to see him next in the 50 Cent movie, "Get Rich or Die Tryin'."
PS: I do love great character actors. "Four Brothers" has one to whom we should start paying more attention.
His name is Barry Shabaka Henley, and you'll know him the minute you see him.
He has a long list of credits including "Collateral," "The Terminal" and "Ali," along with loads of TV work. Let's keep an eye on him from now on.
I was as shocked and saddened yesterday to learn that Dana Reeve, the plucky widow of actor Christopher Reeve, is battling lung cancer.
Reeve, 44, is not a smoker, which makes the situation all the more baffling.
What Reeve is, though, is a fighter.
Over the nine years of Chris's ordeal, Dana was an indefatigable soldier. She never ceased to amaze everyone she came into contact with.
Not only is she beautiful, but she was tireless as Chris' wife, advocate, physical therapist, publicist and caretaker.
At numerous events, she was 100 percent there, never flagging for a minute in her energy and devotion.
I have no doubt she will tackle her cancer — which I gather she was forced to divulge because the tabs were going to "out" her mercilessly — with the same courage and strength.
Let's send her our strongest prayers for a speedy recovery.
The verdict is in on the Disney shareholders' lawsuit.
While Disney has won — at least until the case is appealed by the shareholders — it's not all good news for the Mouse House.
In fact, in his ruling, Judge William B. Chandler III had some not-so-nice observations to make about outgoing Disney CEO Michael Eisner.
In his 180-page ruling, Chandler spends quite a few pages ruminating on Eisner.
He writes: "By virtue of his Machiavellian (and imperial) nature as CEO, and his control over [Michael] Ovitz's hiring in particular, Eisner to a large extent is responsible for the failings in process that infected and handicapped the board's decisionmaking abilities.
"Eisner," the judge continues, "stacked his (and I intentionally write "his" as opposed to "the Company's") board of directors with friends and other acquaintances who, though not necessarily beholden to him in a legal sense, were certainly more willing to accede to his wishes and support him unconditionally than truly independent directors."
The judge, while finding that Eisner was well-intentioned on behalf of Disney, doesn't exactly give the departing CEO a glowing recommendation for future employers.
"Eisner's actions in connection with Ovitz's hiring should not serve as a model for fellow executives and fiduciaries to follow. His lapses were many. He failed to keep the board as informed as he should have. He stretched the outer boundaries of his authority as CEO by acting without specific board direction or involvement. He prematurely issued a press release that placed significant pressure on the board to accept Ovitz and approve his compensation package in accordance with the press release.
"To my mind," Chandler concludes sharply, "these actions fall far short of what shareholders expect and demand from those entrusted with a fiduciary position. Eisner's failure to better involve the board in the process of Ovitz's hiring, usurping that role for himself, although not in violation of law, does not comport with how fiduciaries of Delaware corporations are expected to act."
More to come ...