Rosie's Return  | De Niro's Ex  | Metallica Tops the Charts  | Art Cooper, R.I.P.

Rosie Perez: No More Fooling Around

Rosie Perez, one of my favorite actresses, is about to make some big changes in her life. She is ending her three-and-a-half-year marriage to director Seth Zvi Rosenfeld and re-igniting her acting career. Don't forget, Rosie is a former Oscar nominee for her excellent 1993 performance in Fearless.

The talented Perez, who presented an award at Sunday night's Tonys and looked spectacular, should be in the top tier of young actresses working today. But it turns out marriage to someone else in show business was too taxing. If you want to know how that works, ask the dozens of acting couples who've tried it. Nicole and Tom, anyone?

It didn't help that Rosie starred in a really terrible movie Rosenfeld directed in 2001 called King of the Jungle. But the couple remains friendly, etc., and there will be no harsh words tossed about. It's all as pleasant as can be under the circumstances.

But Rosie is busy, busy, busy. She's hoping to produce a film she will star in called Route 35 which is about, as she describes it, "getting lost in a relationship." There are also projects pending with theatre director George C. Wolfe and writer Terrence McNally, including a revival of the latter's play, The Ritz. Rosie would presumably take the role originated by Chita Rivera, which sounds like a pretty good idea to me.

De Niro's Ex May Be Warbling Soon

The big talk at producer Harvey Weinstein's book party for producer Robert Cort last night at Man Ray: Grace Hightower, ex-wife of Robert De Niro and mother of his son Elliott, may be taking up a career as a chanteuse. Actors Christopher McDonald -- newly moved back to New York -- and Matthew and Cari Modine were among those who heard this news and nodded in assent. Why shouldn't the former flight attendant sing for her supper? Show biz is all about changing careers.

Take the author Cort. Producer of many hit films, Cort was once with the CIA. Not the Culinary Institute of America, the real thing, the one in Langley. Ron Silver, on his way to a 79th birthday dinner with his dad, confirmed this for me.

Cort -- married to manager/producer Rosalie Swedlin -- expounded. "I was in the ROTC, at graduate school at UPenn in 1970. I had the only wooden desk in the office." He got out of the CIA when they asked him "to do something I didn't feel comfortable doing," he recalled.

Well, that makes it mysterious enough to be a good anecdote 33 years later.

Cort's novel, Action, just published by Random House, is a serious roman à clef about Hollywood. "It's on a higher level than Jacqueline Susann or Harold Robbins," said Weinstein in his introductory remarks, which were full of praise. (No, Action is not published by Talk/Miramax and Cort hasn't got a movie deal there. Harvey just liked the book.)

I ran into a lot of local New York celebs including Fox's Monica Crowley, WNBC's Chuck Scarborough and Janice Huff (who was getting the cold shoulder, pardon the pun, about the weather), plus dyed-in-the-wool Republican Georgette Mosbacher, who exclaimed, "Harvey just told me he voted for Pataki! I knew it!" (I have no way of knowing if this was true. But it made Mosbacher -- who has eyeglasses larger than the late Carrie Donovan or Swifty Lazar -- very happy.)

But back to Christopher McDonald. You know, he's been in a lot of movies but he was most memorable as one of the dopey husbands in Thelma & Louise. After many years in Hollywood he's returned to New York where he once studied theatre. "I bought an apartment that looks into my old building," he said. "It was a little place where I was very cramped.

"Now I have a terrace that's as big as"  -- he motioned all around the Man Ray dining room. "I can see the world. Cheers," he said, and glasses clinked merrily all around.

Metallica Smashes Into the Charts

The big winners this week in the pop world: Sylvia Rhone, Donnie Ienner and Jason Flom, all of whom will able to sleep knowing they've got hits.

Rhone's reign at Elektra Records always gets questioned by snarky types, but she has the No. 1 album with Metallica's St. Anger. It could wind up having sold a highly respectable 500,000 copies.

Donnie Ienner? He took over some of Tommy Mottola's duties at Sony and now he's done the impossible: scored another hit for the group Train. Their third album will finish in the top five. Everyone thought they were one-hit wonders with Drops of Jupiter, but it looks like "everyone" was wrong.

And then there's Jason Flom, at Lava/Atlantic Records. It's not enough that he revived Kid Rock's good-as-dead recent album with a Sheryl Crow duet called "Picture." Now he's got yet another Sugar Ray album starring smilin' Mark McGrath. There's one big hit on every Sugar Ray album. One day this group, sort of England Dan and John Ford Coley, but with sex appeal, will have some greatest hits collection.

And they say no albums are selling. They're not, but those three are flickers of hope. And today we get the new Annie Lennox and Steely Dan.

Hope springs eternal!

GQ Magazine Editor: Felled By a Company

You're going to hear people say Condé Nast killed Art Cooper. I mean, why not? No one wants to admit it, but let's get it out in the open. The enemy has won a major round.

Cooper, who died yesterday at age 65, devoted his adult life to GQ magazine with 20 unprecedented successful years. As a reward, Condé Nast kicked him to the curb. You may say, what else is new?

Cooper was erudite and sophisticated. He was well-read and respected.

These are all things now eschewed in the world of publishing, particularly at Condé Nast among other publishers. Youth is valued. So is "edginess," whatever that is. Arrogant disrespect is so much more interesting than painstaking reverence.

I like to quote a line from Albert Brooks' genius movie Lost in America. Fired by his boss after working like a dog, Brooks pops into the man's office and announces: "I've given you eight of the best years of my life and I want them back." For Art Cooper, who could have had 20 Condé Nast-free years, it's too late for that now. Godspeed, Art.