The country’s celebration of dreck and bad taste reaches a new low today: Tori Spelling is on the cover of Us Weekly, a mere five days after the death of her father, beloved TV producer Aaron Spelling.
Think about this: Aaron Spelling passed away on Friday night, June 23. Tori would have had to have given her interview by Monday at the latest in order to make Us’ printing schedule. The funeral was on Sunday. Creepy does not even begin to describe what this girl has done.
Ostensibly, Tori’s appearance is designed to destroy her mother, Candy, with whom she has been feuding for no apparent reason. Even Fallon Carrington, one of Aaron Spelling’s most self-centered creations, wouldn’t have gone this far.
I am told there are several discrepancies in Tori’s story, but an inside source familiar with the Spellings’ family crises has been very clear: According to this person, Tori did not attend her father’s burial. Further, this source insists, she had not seen him in months. The latter assertion has been confirmed all the way around.
It’s already well-documented that when Aaron Spelling had a stroke on June 18 — ironically, Father’s Day — Tori was in Toronto with her second husband, Dean McDermott.
Did she rush home to the bedside of her 83-year-old dad? No.
At the same time, the Spellings who were home knew how gravely ill Aaron was: according to my sources, Candy was already making plans for her husband’s funeral on Monday the 19th. When Spelling died, a press release was issued stating that his wife Candy and son Randy were at his side. There was no sign of Tori.
Tori insists in the Us Weekly piece that she came home for the funeral. She also says she visited her father on June 11 in Los Angeles. My source disputes this, but Spelling family publicist Kevin Sasaki says she was in attendance.
Either way, there’s something fishy here about a young woman whose father gift-wrapped her fame with a spot on “Beverly Hills, 90210.” It's fame she would not have had otherwise. This girl is not an actress. She is no Meryl Streep. She isn’t even Lindsay Lohan. She was simply born into the right mansion at the right time.
My sources say that Tori, in fact, had not seen her father since last September. The word is that Aaron was not aware of her divorce from first husband Charlie Shanian and quick marriage to husband No. 2, who is also the father of two from his first marriage (publicist Sasaki was unclear about this himself). Tori’s marriage to Shanian broke up when she had an affair with McDermott on the set of a Lifetime TV movie.
In the Us Weekly story, Tori says the reason for the estrangement is her mother’s friendship with a man named Mark Abramson, who introduced the Spellings to each other some 38 years ago.
There is an implied affair, which friends of the Spellings dismiss as ridiculous. Abramson is described as a kind of “walker,” a friend who’s been there for Candy with no romantic involvement. Tori’s assertion doesn’t even make sense. It’s just sort of cruel and mean.
So what's the story here? “Tori just kept coming at Aaron for more money all the time,” says a source. “She wouldn’t do anything for herself. Candy objected to it. It’s all about money.”
Tori did wind up getting a new show post-"90210," called “So noTORIous.” It’s a reality show on VH1 in which she plays herself and Loni Anderson plays her self-centered, shopping-obsessed and hateful mother. Anderson is supposedly playing Tori’s notion of Candy.
The Us Weekly cover is perhaps the most venal and permanently divisive story I’ve ever seen concerning a celebrity family. It makes anything Patti Davis Reagan did look like kindergarten. I doubt Candy Spelling will ever speak to her daughter again, and who could blame her?
As for Tori, she and Star Jones are the losers of the week. Each of them needs lessons in manners, graciousness and spin control. Maybe they can get a group rate.
Why, oh why, is Madonna on tour again? As Jim Farber pointed out yesterday in the Daily News, this is her third major show in six years.
The answer is easy: it’s the money, honey. Like Barbra Streisand, Madonna doesn’t write her own songs. If she had to depend on publishing royalties to keep up her extravagant lifestyle, she’d be broke.
(You can put Cher and Celine Dion in this category, too. Only Mariah Carey was smart enough to make sure her name was on every hit she ever warbled.)
Stephen Bray, Patrick Leonard, Mirwais and William Orbit — those are the names of Madonna’s composers over the years. One of their names appears in every byline of a song that also contains Madonna’s credit, including hits like "Vogue," "Justify My Love," "Like a Prayer," "Express Yourself," "Open Your Heart," "Into the Groove," "Live to Tell" and "Causing a Commotion."
Some, such as the popular "Ray of Light," are not only written with a composer but also “adapted” from other material altogether. Any publishing from "Ray of Light" goes to its original writer, Clive Skinner and his daughter Christine Leach.
But the bulwark of Madonna’s popular numbers weren’t written by her at all. They include "Holiday," "Like a Virgin," "Material Girl," "Papa Don’t Preach," "Crazy for You" and of course, "Borderline" (for which writer Reggie Lucas famously reinvented his Grammy-winning Stephanie Mills hit, “Never Knew Love Like This Before”).
Madonna at least gets some publishing money twice a year. But Streisand is a different story. As a pure singer, she has to depend on record sales if she’s not on tour. The only hit song she’s ever had a credit on is "Evergreen" (she must have contributed this timeless lyric: “Love soft as an easy chair). The actual composer is the vertically-defeated '70s TV-staple Paul Williams, who’s written a countless number of hits.
If Streisand doesn’t go out and charge hundreds of bucks a head every few years, she will have trouble supporting her family. Like Madonna, she has a husband and child who’ve grown accustomed to their lifestyle.
Madonna, however, has two kids and a husband to think about. And the Madonna lifestyle is not simple: it’s first-class all the way, with no skimping or budgetary restrictions, which requires a lot of cash.
With her CD sales way past their peak years, Madonna is left with one scenario: tour. So we can expect to see her again in 2008, like clockwork, and every two years after that until she either can’t dance on stage or little Lourdes is ready to pick up mom’s platinum-studded cross.
And so FOX 411 has arrived in Las Vegas for Friday night’s big Cirque du Soleil/Beatles premiere called “Love.”
There are high expectations for “Love,” the first time the Beatles have ever licensed their music for a show dedicated to them.
Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr are expected, as is George Harrison’s widow, Olivia. No word on Yoko Ono, who apparently has seen the show already.
The Beatles’ producer George Martin will be here, since his son Giles produced the music for Cirque du Soleil. And the Mirage Hotel is ready: the Beatles logo is everywhere, even on the room keys, and a new Beatles cafe is being built off of the lobby casino.
If the show’s a hit, Michael Jackson will get a nice cut of the action, thanks to his part ownership of the group's catalog. Unfortunately, his proceeds will go toward paying back his substantial loans.
Our trip to Vegas was no joy. Suffice it to say that, on this occasion, we were ready and Delta wasn't. Our flight was 90 minutes late leaving New York. The video and audio devices at the seats were broken. There was no food — just a snack too small for a squirrel. When we finally arrived — late, of course — it took nearly an hour to get the bags.
At least the flight attendants — all smart and attractive — kept a jolly attitude. They were very pleasant about all the problems. But what can they do? They're given little information, and they are trying to keep their jobs.
A German family sitting next to me on the flight was truly bewildered, though: European air travel is considerably more evolved. American air travel in general has been reduced to rubble. You’d almost be better off taking a bus.