Oprah Winfrey is one of many prominent supporters yet to make a contribution to Barack Obama’s inaugural celebration. Where in the world is Winfrey when it comes to helping Barack Obama out with some cash?
Winfrey has yet to make a contribution to Obama’s Inaugural celebration, even though she’s reportedly moving her show to Washington, D.C., for a week, is possibly shopping for a home of some kind there, and may even be planning a gala.
So far, Winfrey has given zilch to the Inaugural effort. But that’s not completely surprising. She got away with giving only $2,300 to Obama for his primary run, nothing for the presidential run, and not a dime to the Democratic Party. The multi-multi millionaire may feel that her endorsement of Obama — ney, her “selection” of him as president early on — was worth more than actual greenbacks.
And I already told you the odd business of Oprah taking money from and being extremely friendly with Texan billionaire Harold Simmons — the man who funded a $3 million TV commercial campaign to keep Obama out of office. Winfrey has never explained that situation. She accepted $5 million from Simmons for her Leadership Academy in South Africa.
But for the Inaugural, Winfrey so far lags behind many celebrities who’ve anted up for the cause. I already told you about people like Halle Berry and Sharon Stone . Now it seems the entire Dreamworks contingent has sent in major donations including Steven Spielberg and wife Kate Capshaw ; Jeffrey Katzenberg and wife Marilyn; Stacey Snider ; and Katherine Kendricks , not to mention close pal Tom Hanks.
Read my original column on this. The $50,000 also includes a host of Hollywood names: Halle Berry, Sharon Stone, Jamie Lee Curtis and husband Chris Guest , Will Smith manager James Lassiter, director Ron Howard, Samuel L. Jackson, Jamie Foxx , “Back to the Future” director Robert Zemeckis , Muppets scion Lisa Henson , “West Wing” director Brad Whitford , Motown founder Berry Gordy , Global Green USA president Diane Meyer Simon (who enlists celebs like Leo DiCaprio for her causes), powerhouse attorney Skip Brittenham , “Cosby Show” producer Marcy Carsey , Harvard author Daniel Yergin , William Morris TV agent John Ferriter ("Project Runway," "Fear Factor") and commercial artist Dale Chihuly .
But there are some additions to the list since I first posted it on December 18th. Island DefJam’s L.A. Reid has put in $50,000; Magic Johnson sent in $25,000; Steve Ballmer CEO, of Microsoft, added $100,000; 21-year old Matthew Palevsky , son of philanthropist Max Palevsky , opened his piggy bank and got out $25,000; tech billionaire Rick Aversano , $50,000; and add to the list also as “bundlers” — people who put together a number of donations under one listing — “That 70s Show” creators Bonnie and Terry Turner ($100.000).
And yet, no moolah from Oprah, or dozens of other stars who supported Obama during his campaign. There’s still time. The Inauguration is four full weeks away.
Despite rumors, Mariah Carey is still not pregnant.
In the last few days there have been more reports of light work out sessions, ultra sound tests, all kinds of things. There are more reports of “booties” being knitted than Carey’s famous “booty” ever got.
Alas, I am assured by those close to her that still, no baby is in sight. Carey and young hubby Nick Cannon have been on vacation in Aspen and St. Bart’s. But photographs of Carey, who hasn’t been shy about getting in front of the cameras, reveal a still flat stomach on a pretty well toned body.
“It’s all still just rumors,” a Carey insider told me over the weekend. Of course, the light work out sessions could be because Carey is trying to get pregnant and just isn’t there yet. That would make sense.
So again, don’t log on to the Tiffany baby registry quite yet. Give Mariah some time!
J.D. Salinger turns 90 on Thursday. It’s hard to believe, but maybe fifty years of solitude was a good thing. All that healthy living in Cornish, New Hampshire has kept him going. That, and avoiding all of us.
Is there anything new to say about him? Why didn’t we just drive up to Cornish and play the usual game of hide and seek? Well, I’d like to think we’re all smarter than that now. What’s the point? I’m not really interested in harassing a great writer.
What’s new? Well, for one thing, his story, “Hapworth 16, 1924” was never published by Orchises Press after promised it several years ago. In the early days of this column I used to write intermittent updates about the book, but it never happened and it’s not going to. That was the last real update about Salinger, who by then was well into his 80s.
Otherwise, this much we know from reading various blogs including a good one called Dead Caulfields. That site is worthwhile because it catalogs Salinger’s twenty two published but uncollected short stories. There’s only published short story collection, the famous and wonderful Nine Stories. But a little bit of work, just a little, and you can read and print out all the other stories. Why Salinger hasn’t let someone publish a complete collection is just another of his many mysteries.
There have been two books about Salinger in recent years. One was by his ex-lover Joyce Maynard ; the other by his daughter, Margaret, which I’m sure she regrets now. (Salinger also has a son, Matthew, an actor and film producer who doesn’t talk about his dad.) The paperback of Margaret’s book, called “Dream Catcher,” is probably the most useful piece of work on the writer. Margaret includes a long letter from a cousin of her dad’s, and he tells the story of the Salinger family and the early years of young Jerome David . Salinger no doubt felt very betrayed by all this.
But it’s interesting to note that “Sonny,” as he was known in his mid western Jewish family composed of rabbis and doctors, was a normal kid until he went to World War II. When he returned from Germany , Salinger literally — according to the cousin — cut off the entire, close knit family. He says they never heard from again. Another relative surmises that Salinger was shaken by the revelation — in his teens — that his mother had converted to Judaism and changed her name when she met his father. Who knows? But clearly Salinger’s early main character, Seymour Glass, of “A Perfect Day for Bananafish” and “Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenter” was more autobiographical than Salinger would ever admit.
The people who love Salinger’s work always wanted more. Re-reading "The Catcher in the Rye" or "Franny and Zooey" now only makes the yearning worse. But what a legacy. There’s as much “bad Salinger” in modern writing as there is ‘bad Hemingway” or Faulkner. Wes Anderson made a whole movie, “The Royal Tenenbaums,” inspired by the Glass family. The television drama, “Party of Five,” was about five parentless kids with the family name Salinger. (In Salinger’s stories, parents seemingly don’t exist.)
There are countless more homages, rip offs, send ups, celebrations. “The Salinger style” is oft-imitated but never achieved. But you can run a line from Salinger straight through to maybe the last great American fiction writer, John Irving. Salinger echoes in “The World According to Garp” and “The Hotel New Hampshire.” Along that line you find so many others of minor note. I’m thinking of Paul Zindel, who was so popular in the early 70s, for being a great faux Salinger.
So I won’t bother you, Mr. Salinger, I won’t stalk you, write to you, annoy you. I won’t track down one of the cousins, or hang around the Cornish library. I won’t try and find your wife, who’s supposedly a nurse up there in Cornish. She must be taking very good care of you if you’ve made it to 90. I will leave you alone, as you wish. I can’t say you made the wrong decision when you decided to cut us off. Would your life have been better on talk shows, in magazines, gossip columns, and dinner parties? I doubt it. And really, the best thing you ever did was prohibit the books from being turned into movies. (This should never, ever happen.)