Sylvester Stallone was probably not surprised to hear that, in his federal indictment, Anthony Pellicano is accused of intercepting Stallone’s February 2002 phone calls.
Stallone has a long history with one of Pellicano’s former employers, attorney Bert Fields. Back in 1989, Stallone was involved in a pretty contentious lawsuit with Fields’s wife, art dealer Barbara Guggenheim.
The “Rocky” star sued Guggenheim for $5 million, saying she led him to pay millions too much for several artworks. Many of the artworks were overvalued, Stallone claimed, because they’d been damaged and restored without his knowledge.
The suit was settled, and Fields wound up marrying Guggenheim. At the time, though, the story was incendiary in art circles because Guggenheim had a strong celebrity clientele.
It’s unclear why Pellicano would have been wiretapping Stallone some 13 years later, but it’s also not a total coincidence, certainly, that Fields and Stallone were totally through with each other. Stay tuned, as prosecutors try and connect these dots…
Clive Davis’ annual pre-Grammy extravaganza is the hottest ticket of the year in Hollywood, perhaps eclipsing Vanity Fair’s Oscar party.
That’s because the people who do get in the door are always top notch, interesting and talented. Last night was no exception, and the first person I ran into — and had a long conversation with — was Courtney Love.
I recalled the last time Courtney came to a Davis dinner like this. She was frantically trying to talk to an exec from her record label about her problems while her young daughter roamed around aimlessly. This was at midnight and Courtney was a mess.
How times have changed! Last night, Courtney came to the dinner with her manager, the famous and serious Peter Asher. She looked sensational, trim and glowing with health. Courtney wore a stunning black dress, and talked like a person who had come through the worst of things and was moving forward with her life. Bravo!
Courtney was just one of dozens of well-known types at the Davis party, which was moved this year to the multi-level ballroom of the Beverly Hilton after outgrowing the Beverly Hills Hotel facility by leaps and bounds.
I was a little worried that the bigger venue might take away from the intimacy of the gathering, and at first glance I thought I’d be correct. The cocktail hour was chaotic and packed, with folks like Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Joe Perry making slow progress through a sea of record execs and producers.
Once inside the ballroom, it was clear that whatever dinner was being served was not being eaten too intently by anyone. The 900 or so guests were so busy socializing and taking pictures that there was no time to eat a morsel.
By the time the room was called to order, you could kind of get a picture of what was going on. There was an area of hip-hop types in the front, including Jay Z and Beyonce, Chris Brown and Mary J. Blige.
Then scattered about was a table for Alicia Keys and family, plus another where Rod Stewart, girlfriend Penny Lancaster, Love, Asher and a few others were installed along with Fonzworth Bentley, Diddy’s old friend.
Next to that table: Carlos Santana, Sheryl Crow, Aerosmith’s Tyler and Perry and Rob Thomas with wife Marisol and manager Michael Lippman.
Above them, on the next tier, I saw producer David Foster with a date, as well as Sharon Stone, socialite Barbara (Mrs. Marvin) Davis, Burt Bacharach, Brian Wilson, plus Earth, Wind & Fire — the entire group!
Somewhere behind them I stumbled on tables with Atlantic Records co-founder Ahmet Ertegun and beautiful wife Mica, Warner Records legend Mo Ostin, songwriter Diane Warren, then the group Maroon 5, Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters, "American Idol" producer Simon Fuller and lip synching Ashlee Simpson with dad/manager Joe.
Jon Voight, Oscar winner and estranged father of Angelina Jolie, was there with a young woman he said was his niece, I think.
Nikki Haskell and Beverly Johnson came to pay homage to Davis, their friend, as did entertainment attorneys Joel Katz and Allen Grubman, among others.
You see the problem: Working this room was a dizzying experience. Jamie Foxx’s group took up a table, and Randy Jackson was right next door with Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds and three lovelies: Gabrielle Union, Sanaa Lathan and Regina Hall.
There was a big "American Idol" presence with Fantasia, Kelly Clarkson, Bo Bice, Mario Vazquez and Carrie Underwood all in attendance. There were also country performers, like Lee Ann Womack and the Dixie Chicks said to be in the house.
In another area, Oscar nominee Terrence Howard wound up sitting next to the fetching “Young and the Restless” star Victoria Rowell, who wrote a note of appreciation on the back of her business card and sent it, very 19th-century style, to modern day soul man Anthony Hamilton.
Denise Rich commanded a table with Natalie Cole and film producer Beverly Camhe on the second level. Just below them, Salma Hayek dined with her producing partner, waiting for Foxx to perform. Across the room from them, Salma’s “After the Sunset” director Brett Ratner had his own group.
From the stage, Clive introduced people who were there but even I didn’t see: ZZ Top, Wolfgang Puck, Jac Holzman, Quincy Jones, Larry King and Herbie Hancock.
Diana Ross got the big center table, where she held court in a glittering jacket that could be seen for miles around (she had several of her children as guests).
Did I mention talking to Natasha Bedingfield, or KISS stalwarts Gene Simmons (with the mother of his children Shannon Tweed) and Paul Stanley?
There was also a group of talking heads: Jimmy Kimmel, Craig Ferguson, Pat O'Brien and Bill Maher were seated through the top tier at different tables.
There were plenty of record execs, too, with Sony’s Andy Lack having the best in the house with Donnie Ienner. EMI Music Publisher Marty Bandier was there, along with Geffen’s Polly Anthony (unclear if she’s still there or what), Universal Music Group chief Doug Morris, Sony BMG’s Rolf Schmidt Holtz, BMI’s Frances Preston and Del Bryant.
And, of course, the whole J Records/RCA Music Group gang: Charles Goldstuck, Richard Palmese, Tom Corson, Peter Edge, plus the great publicists and party makers all of whom make it look so easy to be No. 1.
Were there others? I’ve no doubt there were. But I was too mesmerized by the introduction Davis received from Antonio "L.A." Reid, the head of Def Jam Records. After all, Reid replaced Davis in 2001 when he was ousted as the head of Arista Records.
You remember this story: Davis then started J Records and was a huge success. Reid fumbled the ball at Arista, was eventually fired, and Arista was downsized to an imprint. And now, here’s Reid — back on top at Def Jam with Mariah Carey — toasting Clive. It was classy, but a bit surreal!
Reid said things like, “Clive is a song’s best friend.” He’s also the music biz’s best friend, because without him, who knows what would be left? Davis’ showmanship, graciousness and panache are legendary. They are also all that’s left of a great industry.
And then there was the show: Foxx and Fantasia made the night memorable for spontaneity, and Rod Stewart was simply amazing singing his rock hits, not his recent ballads.
Kanye West and Ludacris made a surprise appearance with Snoop Dogg for some rappin’ and R&B with Jamie including the hit, “Gold Digger.”
Rob Thomas and Santana rocked the house with a seductive version of “Smooth.” Kelly Clarkson showed that her power singing is for real. Chris Brown is a cool dancer.
The night was unofficially dedicated to Barry Manilow, the first star of Arista Records in 1974 with “Mandy.” Thirty two years later, his new album on Arista debuts next week at No. 1 with 156,000 copies sold. That gives Clive four albums in next week’s top 10. Hello! And Clive announced signing Pearl Jam to J Records.
And gossip: I’m not sayin’ anything, but Sheryl Crow left early, sneaking out with Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, and Joe’s wife. Where did they go? Why did they leave?
Well, Sheryl and Steven were deep in conversation during dinner, and maybe they wanted to continue it elsewhere.