John Lennon's First Wife Endorses Mistress' Book

Lennon's First Wife Endorses Mistress' Book | Elton Will Entertain Oscar Guests | Roy Scheider; How Blu-Ray Beat HD DVD

Lennon's First Wife Endorses Mistress' Book

Last week I told you that Julian Lennon, John Lennon’s eldest son, had posted the news on his Web site that Yoko Ono was suing a 25-year-old singer over her name.

This week comes news that Cynthia Lennon, Julian’s mom and John Lennon’s first wife, is endorsing a new book by May Pang.

Pang was Lennon’s mistress/girlfriend during 18 months in 1973 and 1974 routinely described in Beatle mythology as the Lost Weekend. In an episode that widely has been reported over the years, Pang was sent by Ono — her employer — to take care of Lennon when Ono sent him packing.

The result was an affair in which Lennon worked hard and partied hard. Several classic records also were produced, including Lennon’s "Rock and Roll" album and his hit singles "Whatever Gets You Through the Night," "Mind Games" and "#9 Dream."

Now Pang, whom Ono has systematically tried to erase from Lennon’s history in her Broadway musical, tributes and films, is publishing a collection of photographs she took during her time with Lennon.

"Instamatic Karma," published by St. Martin's Press, hits stores next month. It’s Pang’s second book about Lennon, but the first with these unpublished pictures.

More importantly, the book’s jacket carries an endorsement from Cynthia Lennon sure to rile Ono.

Cynthia writes: "My first meeting with May, in the early seventies, was fraught with tension and uncertainty. My efforts to reunite Julian with his father after four years could [have] gone one way or another. May was wonderful, even though she was young and inexperienced in having to deal with such sensitive and emotional issues.

"Before long we became close friends. May was open, caring and compassionate to me and my son, Julian.

"For all that May has done in the past and hopes to achieve in the future, Julian and I will be her greatest champions. She is a lovely, vibrant lady. She was a good friend when my son and I needed one, and a dear close friend now.

"This book of photographic memories is very special and evocative of times remembered. May, We wish you all the success in the world."

Cynthia is such a fan of "Instamatic Karma" that there’s a rumor she’ll turn up in New York for Pang’s book party in the early part of March.

Meanwhile, I’ve had a quick look at some of the pictures, and all I can tell you is they are phenomenal. There’s one picture, in particular, from that '73-'74 period, that Beatle fans are going to cherish as if it were the Holy Grail.

You can read all about May, by the way, at her Web site. She’s also an accomplished jewelry designer.

Elton Will Entertain Oscar Guests

Well, Elton John’s Oscar party is getting hotter and hotter. The big news is that Elton himself with his band will play at the event on Sunday night with special guest star Mary J. Blige chiming in.

The RSVPs already are pouring in, with all the Oscar-winners and many nominees expected to make the trek from the Governor’s Ball to the Pacific Design Center.

Also on the guest list are Amber Valletta; Chris O'Donnell; Christina Applegate; Ellen DeGeneres and Portia De Rossi; Eric McCormack; Eva Longoria; Julia Ormond; Kevin Zegers; Larry King and Shawn Southwick; Patricia Clarkson; Petra Nemcova; Rebecca Gayheart; Sean Penn; Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne; Sharon Stone; Randy Jackson; Simon Cowell; Tim Allen; and John Waters.

David Furnish co-hosts the event with Elton, with all proceeds going to the Elton John Aids Foundation.

Again, Elton, all we ask is that you play "Harmony." And maybe "Country Comfort" and "Levon." I’d better stop there!

Roy Scheider; How Blu-Ray Beat HD DVD

Roy Scheider was an actor’s actor, with two Oscar nominations and a long list of impressive and memorable credits. When he died on Feb. 10, I was traveling and, frankly, too depressed about his passing to chime in.

Scheider also was a regular at Hamptons gatherings and premieres, just one of those great guys who was terrific to talk to, polite, articulate and straightforward. I loved him in "Blue Thunder," not to mention "Jaws" and all his other hits. His passing is extremely sad. Scheider was 75, but you’d never know it. He really will be missed. ...

Blu-Ray discs have beaten HD DVD, which means Sony and Panasonic have triumphed over Toshiba. I guess Sony wasn’t going to allow Blu-Ray to go the way of Betamax and DAT players.

When Toshiba conceded the war this week, it noted that Warner Bros. films going with Blu-Ray exclusively was the last straw.

Coincidentally, right before Warner made its announcement, Chief Technology Officer Chris Cookson, who’d been at the job since 1999, bolted for Sony as head of Sony Pictures Technologies. That was on Jan. 3. The very next day, Warner announced it was moving to Sony’s Blu-Ray exclusively.

This did not all happen overnight. Business Week reported a rumor in October 2005 that Warner was thinking of making the commitment. Just a lot of coincidences, I’m sure. ...