If like everyone else you've been wondering what happened to Suri Cruise and why we've never seen a picture of her, here is part of the answer: No one wanted to pay for her.
According to my sources, a photo shoot of Suri was offered to Wire Image, the prestigious agency, for sale to the various celebrity magazines right after the little "Mission: Impossible"/"Dawson's Creek" tyke was born in silence to her unmarried movie star parents Tom Cruise and the dazed-looking Katie Holmes.
An auction was conducted, with People, Us Weekly, Star and the lesser names like In Touch all putting in their two cents.
Unfortunately, it must have felt like two cents to Cruise given the amount that Shiloh Jolie-Pitt fetched from People: $4 million, not to mention more from magazines around the world.
The Cruise auction is said to have produced not more than a $3 million bid. At that point, the offer was rescinded. The mission was termed "impossible." No further word was heard from the Cruise camp.
Exactly who from Cruise's strange inner circle initiated the contact is still unknown, although I am told the enterprise was "official." It's likely that the Church of Scientology would have gotten a cut, too, considering they like to take 10 percent of everything from their celebrity clients.
And now that Suri is almost 3 months old, has her price gone up or down? The answer, says one of the mag's experts, is down.
"Shiloh was the whole deal," my source said. "We won't see a baby like that again for a while."
In other words, Britney Spears shouldn't expect a windfall for her latest Kevin Federline product.
Legendary producer Arif Mardin did pass away yesterday afternoon as a result of prostate cancer. He was 74.
I wrote about Arif in Friday's column as his death was anticipated, but it's no easier to report now. He really was quite a gentle man, and a brilliant, brilliant musician.
I'm told he was working on a big final project in the last few weeks, with many of his artists like Average White Band and the Rascals contributing time. I hope his son, Joe, will pull it all together.
In the meantime, much love to Joe and his mother, Latife. Arif Mardin was one of a kind, never to be replaced. Sorely, sorely missed...
Comic Steve Carell — who should win the Emmy for best actor in NBC's "The Office" — doesn't have many publicity hooks. He doesn't smoke, drink or cheat on his wife. What good is this man?
In the spectacular new comedy issue of Premiere magazine, however, his wife Nancy reveals something about the star of "40 Year-Old Virgin" and the upcoming "Evan Almighty" — at last, finally. And this is it: He doesn't dry off after a shower; he just puts his wet clothes on. Yechhh. (Fans are online ordering for him right now from Bed, Bath and Beyond.)
"Maybe many years from now they'll discover Steve has a room in his house where he's bitten the heads off of dolls," observes Rainn Wilson, Carell's co-star in "The Office."
Well, he's clearly not getting the cover of Vanity Fair.
The comedy issue is really a must-read, too, with an oral history of funny stuff including recollections from Mel Brooks, Diane Keaton, Robert Altman, Carl Reiner, Elliott Gould, Matthew Broderick, Blake Edwards, the much loved and missed Teri Garr and Peter Boganovich.
Peter directed the absolutely genius farce classic, "What's Up Doc?" with Barbra Streisand, Ryan O'Neal and Madeline Kahn. If you've never seen it, you must rent it, buy it or steal it immediately. I just watched it again last week after about 20 years and it's better than ever, just a gem. Peter tells Premiere that he was emulating Howard Hawks' immortal "Bringing Up Baby" when he made it.
Of course, directors now have no idea who Hawks was, but that's another story. Bogdanovich tells Premiere: "People used to talk faster in movies. Cagney, Bogart, Grant. People talk slower now. Barbra said during 'What's Up Doc,' 'Can I have a moment here?' and I said, 'There will be no moments in this picture.'"
The Premiere issue is full of other surprises, too, including a nice piece on the Wayans brothers, and a salute to comic character actors from Christopher Guest's repertory: Fred Willard, Jennifer Coolidge, Harry Shearer, Catherine O'Hara, etc.
The first time I heard Julia Fordham's delicious new song, "I Want to Stay Home with You," I thought she had covered some old chestnut by Noel Coward or Cole Porter. I also thought Ella Fitzgerald was singing it. Wrong, it's Julia's from her mini-album of songs you can find on her Web site.
I hope these five songs — including what should be a gigantic hit for adult contemporary radio, "You Make it All Worth It" — turn into a full-blown jazz album. They are remarkable, she is remarkable, and if you're an adult and miss her music, you are the worse for it.
A belated happy birthday — yesterday — to two of my favorite people: New York Times Style section contributor Jill Brooke and famed singer-songwriter Carly Simon. Now, if only the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame would vote Carly in. She's way overdue, as are Linda Ronstadt, Todd Rundgren, The Moody Blues and late R&B legends Mary Wells, Billy Preston and Rufus Thomas.
Maybe the group's new leader Joel Peresman, who's replacing Suzan Evans, will tie up some of those loose ends.
Tom Shactman's new book, "Rumspringa: To Be or Not to Be Amish," is a winner. Did you know that Amish youth are allowed to run around for a period beginning when they're 16, and act like crazy American teenagers? They have to decide at some point whether or not to stay with their original values or leave Amish life altogether.
Schactman's original interviews were used for Lucy Walker's 2002 documentary film "Devil's Playground." Then he did more research and this book is the result. It's absolutely riveting. And what a great idea for a movie, no? Imagine Lindsay Lohan, Hilary Duff, Adam Brody and Aaron Stanford in Pennsylvania Dutch garb. Someone call Joel Schumacher now.
"Al Franken: God Spoke," the Chris Hegedus-Nick Doob film, has been picked up by hot new indie Amherst, Mass.-based distributor, Balcony Releasing. The film opens Sept. 15 in New York.
Today at 2:30 p.m. in Manhattan Family Court, Rita Hilsen finally gets her big day thanks to square-shooting Administrative Judge Nicholas Palos. The ex-wife of ex-rock group Kiss' manager and shrink has subpoenaed everyone involved to determine where Jesse Hilsen has allegedly hidden all the money he made from the group and elsewhere.
Star witness should be Dr. Joan Packles Margolis, a Manhattan psychiatrist whose husband is Dr. Richard Margolis, a prominent researcher. Packles-Margolis, Rita Hilsen alleges, knows the secrets that have been kept for 22 years.