Call it, if you will, computer chicanery. In our BHC column last weekend about Canada’s 150th anniversary on July 1 celebrating its independence from the U.K., we discussed our 30 years of hosting a Four Seasons luncheon in Toronto as a kickoff for the Toronto International Film Festival (our favorite). Several paragraphs were missing from the text.
Ours is not to reason why … only the computer knows why…
Reporting, as we did, about our guests, we regretted many names of loyal regulars vanished. Landing on the moon, or wherever?
L.A. best friends, the producers Brad Krevoy and Steve Stabler were front and center every September.
As were Chicago critic Roger Ebert with his beloved-by-all wife Chaz, Sharon Stone, Marty Short, Donald Sutherland, Genevieve and Ivan Reitman, Jason Reitman, Ron Base, Penelope Cruz, Pedro Almodovar, Salmon Rushdie, Universal’s Hollace Davids, Robert Kennedy Jr.
Also: Demi Moore, Eugene Levy, Lauren Graham, Oscar winner Paul Haggis, Marine Corporal Douglas Banker, Rex Reed, Roots public relations boulevardier Raymond Perkins, who invariably arrived with visiting young Hollywood beauties, Yanick Bigourdan of Toronto’s famed Nota Bene restaurant, Marisa Rocco, of the popular Italian rathskeller Sotto Sotto, all contributing their cultural sass and smarts to the tables’ conversational sizzle.
Over the decades, we’ve remained astonished with the prolific talent from our Northern neighbor that’s empowered our entertainment industry.
Talent of all ages, harking back to Toronto-born Mary Pickford, who initiated her own Pickford-Fairbanks studio on Santa Monica Boulevard during the 1920s, and there’s farceur Marie Dressler, who was a hoot.
Award-winners James Cameron, Norman Jewison, Christopher Plummer, and Donald Sutherland.
Plus newcomers Seth Rogen, Rachel McAdams, Justin Bieber, Nia Vardalos, Anna Paquin, Matthew Perry, Jim Carrey, Ryan Reynolds, Celine Dion– the names run on and on.
Debbie Reynolds joined us at one luncheon, seating her as we did, with the great Brit director Trevor Nunn (Les Miserables, Cats). With Trevor informing that his youngsters, Ellie and Jesse, would not believe that he met Debbie, their favorite actress, watching Singin’ In The Rain, as they did time and again.
“I’ve never asked this, but may I please have a photo with her?” Trevor said sheepishly. “She’s their idol.” Mission accomplished.
Last week at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood, the Thalians honored Debbie with son Todd Fisher sharing in the tributes. “Of all her husbands,” Todd said, “my father Eddie Fisher was the best, but it was a low bar.”
Showbiz aficionados Elgart Aster and Paul Swerdlove attended the sold-out evening, prompting us to recall a night with Debbie at the USC Town & Gown dinner, attractively orchestrated by Stan Musgrove, a gent among publicists.
“What the hell kind of name is Mary Frances” Jack Warner bellowed at Debbie and her mom Maxine when they visited him with reels of her performances from their native Texas.
Jack Warner was in a cantankerous state. Debbie and Maxine were an hour late for their appointment and he fired at them that you don’t keep a busy studio president waiting.
Debbie explained they were trapped in traffic. Cars arriving with a neighborhood crowd saddened that a beloved dog was killed by a hit-and-run driver.
“We couldn’t move.”
After viewing the film clips, Jack Warner admitted Debbie was a talented singer and dancer.
“So what the hell are we going to do about your name … Mary Frances Reynolds on a movie poster is a joke.”
He told them to leave, that he would be in touch.
As they were out the door, he yelled.
“What did you say the name of the dead dog was?”
“That’s it! Debbie Reynolds. Perfect.”
True or not, it’s Debbie’s story.