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George Christy 01-29-2010

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Queen of the Hop she was at the 16th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, and Betty White rewarded the crowd at the Shrine Auditorium with the best acceptance speech when she was honored with their Lifetime Achievement Award.  She should give lessons.

Honored with tumultuous standing ovations for her six-decade career, Queen Betty, who’s of German and Greek ancestry and graduated from Beverly Hills High, sighed that with so much attention she “may not be fit to live with these next few years.”  Funny and wickedly clever, describing herself as an “old broad,” she made no bones about being 88 years old.  Presenter Sandra Bullock zinged that she finds Betty “annoying, having appeared in four TV series.”   Betty didn’t miss a beat, firing back, “Isn’t it beautiful how far a plain girl as she is can go?”  Betty then recalled that she began her acting career by singing in what then was an experiment:  “Television.”
Backstage, Betty praised Sandra for “being gorgeous and talented and the most down-to-earth human being … the epitome of what a movie star should be.”
But Betty didn’t deny that she’s star struck, never having met one of her idols, Robert Redford.  Acknowledging her age, she reminded that she celebrated her 88th a week before the  awards, and added that she has “a lot of stuff to do,” championing animal health advocacy and working with the Los Angeles Zoo Association.

“How do you like the title?” asked author Jackie Collins, the aunt of artist Sacha Newley, during Sacha’s vernissage at the LA House Art Gallery on Beverly Boulevard.  How can you not like the title of her about-to-be-published, umpteenth hump-hot novel, Poor Little Bitch Girl?

Sacha’s the son of Joan Collins and the late Tony Newley, who we anointed during our Hollywood Reporter tenure as “macho camp,” a signature Tony was nuts about.   “May I inherit it?,” asked Sacha between greeting his party pals.   Please be our guest, Sacha.

The evening’s hosts were Margie (Mrs. Jerry) Perenchio and Ann (Mrs. Jerry) Moss, founders and owners of LA Art House.  Margie is wed to the fabled billionaire Jerry Perenchio, the former talent agent who bought Univision and sold it for $13.5 billion.  Ann is the wife of Jerry Moss, the suave founder and former owner of A&M Records.  Wed for 33 years, they are devoted horse breeders.

An avowed artist since his teens, Sacha’s portraits and art are in museums, with LA Art House gallery director Kevin Conway describing Sacha’s talent as “protean … with influences from Leonardo Da Vinci to Lucian Freud … his curiosity’s propelled  a searching and humanistic view of Western art in a contemporary way.”  All proceeds from LA Art House support emerging artists at the Hammer Museum.

Mom Joan Collins, looking radiant, and husband Percy Gibson welcomed Sacha’s cocktail crowd, as did Aunt Jackie Collins, with her custom-designed belt with the word “bitch” in gold.  She arrived with Barry Krost.  “I want Sacha to meet Jamie Wyeth,” offered philanthropist Louise Danelian, escorted by man-about-the-seas Gary Pudney, whose lectures about our cinema greats aboard round-the-world cruise ships attract SRO houses.

Jamie’s the artist son of the late Andrew Wyeth – both have immortalized their Brandywine neighbors and bucolic countryside in Pennsylvania with their art.  Louise plans introducing Sacha to artist George “Frolic” Weymouth, the guiding cultural presence thereabouts who was nicknamed Frolic after the family dog.  

Coming and going were Sacha devotee Carol Bayer Sager and husband Bob Daly; LACMA director Michael Govan; the Hammer Museum’s Ann Philbin; Jolene and George Schlatter; Cynthia and Bud Yorkin; Jason Binn with Loree Rodkin; Gelila Puck; Barbara Davis; Betsy Bloomingdale with Burt Boyar; Nancy Moonves; PR whiz Jeffrey Lane; Lloyd Klein, who designed Angela Tassoni Newley’s gown; make-up artist Mark Richard, whose clients include Diahann Carroll, Liza Minnelli, Rosemarie Stack; Michael J. Fox; Dorothy Hamill.

Also, Lauren Shuler Donner and husband Richard Donner; Stefanie Powers; Sandy Gallin; David Niven Jr.; Ann Turkel; Dani Janssen; Tina Sinatra; Bobby Kass; Lorne Hughes with Suzanne Turner; Julia Hunter; Monica Gerber; Michael Jackson’s attorney Tom Mesereau with marketing executive Star Campbell.
Meanwhile, Hollywood folks in Park City, Utah, are disappointed with the Sundance Film Festival’s downbeat films.  Brutal violence against women, scarring, S&M, senseless killings, heavy smoking, pyromania, and other chilling narratives.   Ryan Reynolds in Buried plays a truck driver taken hostage in Iraq and locked in a coffin with an Arabic cell phone –  “I hope you enjoy this film,” announced Ryan before the screening, “as much as I hated making it.”

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