How to announce — or hide — Patrick Swayze’s illness proved to be quite a PR dilemma Wednesday. Rather than do what so many professionals have done — own up to it and blunt the story in advance — his press people did nothing but stonewall.
The result is a story Thursday on the cover of the National Enquirer saying that not only does Swayze have pancreatic cancer, which was confirmed, but that he has only five weeks to live.
So much pain could have been avoided here. The Enquirer doesn’t care what it writes, true or false, or a little bit of both. It’s amazing to me that they proceeded to publication and no one tried to stop them.
Patrick Swayze Diagnosed With Pancreatic Cancer
Simply issuing a statement, like the one that came later Wednesday afternoon from Swayze’s doctor, would have done the trick.
Now — as if it matters, frankly — it’s hard to know whom to believe.
One thing’s certain: Swayze didn’t just get sick. There was talk of his illness last winter. One Hollywood insider, who’s very real and top notch, told me she’d heard he’d been going for experimental treatment a while ago.
So the publicists lied. That’s not new. But what about the Enquirer? Their reports are hit or miss. Only this time, it involved a man’s life.
Do you remember in the spring of 2005 when they said Michael Jackson’s Neverland had been sold? They insisted that within 90 days we would know the name of the purchaser.
It never happened.
Last winter, they fired all kinds of accusations at presidential hopeful Sen. John Edwards. Again, nothing came of it.
What could be in it for the Enquirer to “expose” Swayze’s medical secrets — if they are even true? He’s just one of the nicest guys in the world. He’s never had one scandal, and has always been married to the same woman. He’s one of the few big stars in Hollywood who’s remained humble and friendly.
The Enquirer is like a mad man who enters a crowded room with a loaded gun and just starts shooting. Swayze most certainly has been affected by the Enquirer story in many negative ways. If he hadn't been able to tell all his family and friends about his illness, imagine them finding out that way. I wonder if the Enquirer editors would like this to happen to them. Shameful.
For the record, Swayze appears in a tape of an equestrian show on the Internet made a couple of months ago. He looked fine. He’s just wrapped two projects. Neither one of them, despite what you might have read elsewhere, has anything to do with cheerleading (I thought that was funny).
So we’ll put Patrick Swayze in our prayers. He has been the most gracious and understanding of any star of his generation. He had his moments with “Ghost,” “Dirty Dancing” and a few others. I am a particular fan of a film he made a few years ago with Forest Whitaker called “Green Dragon.” It wasn’t a hit.
But Swayze comprehended that his “hot moment” in Hollywood was over. He accepted this like a man, downsizing his acting career and diversifying his life to other loves. Let’s just hope that modern medicine and a bunch of x-factors kick in now. He deserves it. What he didn’t deserve was the National Enquirer’s half truths.
There are 127 names on the government's revised witness list in the Anthony Pellicano case. That's a considerable cut from the 244 names I exclusively reported a few weeks ago.
Hollywood private eye Pellicano faces federal charges of racketeering and illegally wiretapping celebrities.
But fear not. This trial will not be boring. Among those who've received subpoenas are Sylvester Stallone, Chris Rock and Farrah Fawcett. Those are the marquee names.
• Click here to view the list of names (pdf).
The ones that will strike fear into the hearts of Hollywood insiders: attorney Bert Fields; Paramount chief Brad Grey; Universal Pictures head Ron Meyer; Fields' associate who also represents Tom Cruise and worked for Pellicano before becoming a lawyer, Ricardo Cestero; one-time Madonna manager Freddie DeMann; restaurateur Peter Morton; several talent agents; venture capitalist Alec Gores and family members; billionaire Kirk Kerkorian and his wife, Lisa Bonder Kerkorian; and, most resoundingly, "Gangs of New York" executive producer Michael Ovitz.
The government still will concentrate on its four main witnesses — art collector/hedge fund manager Adam Sender, actor Keith Carradine's ex-wife Sandra Carradine, Gores and developer Robert Maguire's ex-wife Susan Maguire, as I described the other day — but the 127 can be used to illuminate and elucidate once the details are needed.
The trial begins right away. Wednesday, a jury was chosen in a record four hours. So get ready for some Hollywood fireworks. And for some people to start ratting each other out!
And here’s one name we should keep in mind: Andrew Stevens. I told you about Stevens on Nov. 2, 2006. The son of actress Stella Stevens is a C-list actor/producer. As a producer, he went into business with the sketchy Elie Samaha in Franchise Pictures.
As I reported nearly 18 months ago: Franchise was sued in 2000 by a German company called Intertainment, which claimed that Franchise was inflating its budgets to get kickbacks.
In 2003, Intertainment president Stephen Brown was told by the FBI that Pellicano had been wiretapping his calls starting around 2001. Earlier, Stevens — who fell out with Samaha — hired Fields to defend him. What’s clear, and what has been conceded, is that at some point after he and Fields parted company, Stevens became a government witness.
It will be very interesting to see if Stevens can unlock some of the Pellicano mysteries. It’s always the little guys, you know?
It seems like everyone I know has a book out. The "Today" show's foxy entertainment reporter Jill Rappaport and her equally terrific sis, photographer Linda Solomon, are going strong with "Mazel Tov: Celebrities' Bar and Bat Mitzvah Memories."
Among those who tell their stories are Jeremy Piven, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, Marlee Matlin, Richard Dreyfuss, Ronald Perelman, Howie Mandel, Gene Shalit, Harvey Fierstein, Judy Gold, Larry King, Donny Deutsch, Michael Kors and Charles Grodin. ...
Then, a couple you must loathe because they’re so successful are Charla Krupp and Richard Zoglin. She’s got a hit with "How Not to Look Old." Charla has never looked as if she’s aged, so she must know something about it.
Zoglin’s "Comedy at the Edge: How Stand-up in the 1970s Changed America" is a must-read for anyone who’s curious about the evolution of that art. I’m promised that they had a cool book party Tuesday night in L.A. for "Comedy at the Edge" with lots of big yukkers trying to top each other. In my opinion, no one is funnier than Robin Williams. He’s in the book ...
Wednesday night, Seth Adam Group, my favorite unsigned band, played a new club called The National Underground at 159. E. Houston St. in New York City. The club is owned by Gavin DeGraw and his talented singer songwriter bro, Joey. When the whole record biz is out of work — shortly — it will be because they didn’t sign bands like Seth Adam Group. ...