Thanks for the Memories


We just heard that Norby Walters died at 91- he was a successful music agent from New York who threw those fabulous Night of 100 Stars Oscar parties at the Beverly Hills Hotel every year. As the Star Magazine gossip columnist, this was a party I never missed. Celebrities – many of them classic old time movie stars – all turned up – and they were friendly, talkative, and VERY accessible. We recall Mamie Van Doran looking ultra-glamorous, but the biggest thrill for me was meeting George Chakiris from West Side Story. Remember – he played the hot Puerto Rican gang member in the purple shirt (and he could DANCE!) George was sweet and I told him his movie character had changed my life. As a Chicago teen I had never even MET a Puerto Rican, so I vowed to go to New York someday and look for a boyfriend like George’s character Bernardo. (Yes, I did, but my bf looked more like Jimi Hendrix, which was fine.) George laughed at my story and he was a pleasure to meet. Thanks to Norby Walters, a dream of mine came true!

Photo; West Side Story- Natalie Wood, Rita Moreno, and George Chakiris


It was back in the 70’s when we were partying at the small and exclusive club in Beverly hills called The Candy Store. A recent arrival in LA from Chicago, we loved nightclubbing because we always ran into movie stars. On this night we were mesmerized by the sight of What’s Up Doc? costars Ryan O’Neal and Barbra Streisand, apparently out on a date. They danced very close and when they sat down, Barbra was openly affectionate and possessive and coy- she seemed to be crazy about him. He was attractive – looked like a college frat boy. Barbra’s romantic notions didn’t pan out (they never became a couple) and that was probably for the best. Ryan went on to have 4 kids and three out of four were drug addicts – Ryan took the blame. But he made some sweet, funny movies and we appreciate him for that…

Photo: Gary Lewis  (This pic was taken outside The Candy Store, possibly the same night)


He’s most famous for his catchy hit, Margaritaville, which he brilliantly mastered into a lifestyle brand earning millions in the process, but Jimmy Buffett apparently also had a great sense of humor. Although he’s not someone we’ve written about, we couldn’t help but share this whimsical tidbit. According to a source, Jimmy summoned his dearest pals to his bedside so he could say goodbye. One of his longtime friends flew in from Aspen and made Jimmy promise NOT to die on his birthday, September 1. It so happens that was THE day Jimmy passed away! What’s even eerier, Jimmy died at almost the exact time of day listed on his friend’s birth certificate. The insider says this was typical Jimmy, always wanting to have the last laugh…

Photo Credit: BACKGRID-USA


Was Tina Turner’s death something she took charge of? The iconic star passed away from a plethora of illnesses including kidney failure, but a music insider speculates that Tina orchestrated her passing on HER terms. In the months leading up to her death, Tina reconnected with everyone she felt was important in her life, from Cher to Oprah. The insider says that this went on for months. During some of these talks and visits she hinted that she soon planned to stop her daily dialysis treatments and pass away on her own terms. She no longer wanted to live connected to a machine on a daily basis. The insider says that while her last years weren’t the easiest, her passing was peaceful – she was surrounded by flowers, photos, her favorite mementos, and music.


Have to admit we were shocked and saddened by the sudden loss of Kirstie Alley. We always WANTED to like Kirstie (loved her on Cheers) but Scientology got in the way. We remember when Kirstie talked about the mass shooting in Las Vegas. Scientologists have an inexplicable hatred of psychiatrists and Kirstie said she believed that since violence is a common side effect of psychiatric drugs, (her words, not mine) the the mass shooting was likely due to psychiatric drug use – not guns! She also cut off her friendship with her Dancing with the Stars partner Maks because he was friendly with Jennifer Lopez, and Jennifer was friendly with anti-Scientologist Leah Remini. Sad, but true.


Photo Credit: BACKGRID-USA


Jerry Lee Lewis will be MISSED- he was a one-of-a-kind character who made rock n’roll fun. His shows were wild and he often ended up brawling with some inebriated guy in the audience. Unlike many celebrities, he LIKED Star Magazine where I worked, and he invited me backstage to his dressing room when he played in Hollywood. (Photo) On this night back in the 80’s, Lisa Marie Presley was also in his dressing room and Bob Dylan and his entourage showed up too.


The death of the most famous paparazzo, Ron Galella, brought back a lot of memories today. I met him back in the early 80’s and he was already a legend. Jackie Onassis had HATED him (she was his favorite target) and Marlon Brando had socked him in the face, broke his jaw and knocked out 5 teeth. Ron thought Brando did it because he revealed his tryst with Jackie! Ron preferred to be called a “photojournalist” and was always super-nice to me – unlike most street photographers, he tried to engage celebrities in fun conversation. Some really LIKED him. In New York and LA, Ron always took time to gossip with me (we turned up in a lot of the same places) – I was quite fond of him. He left behind some cool books of his photos…

Photo: Artsy


Olivia Newton John always held a special place in my heart because of her role in Grease. Grease was written by a guy who grew up in a Chicago suburb like the one I grew up in. In high school there were two groups – the Greasers and the Ivy League style kids. The Greasers had oily pompadours and sinister black leather jackets. The Ivy Leaguers wore penny loafers and v-neck sweaters. Greaser girls wore tight clothes and more make-up. Greasers were less likely to go to college, but they were definitely sexier. Grease, the play, opened in a small theater in Chicago and was SUCH a hit, it was on Broadway the following year – despite the raunchy and politically incorrect dialogue. That’s where I saw it and fell in love. In the film version Olivia Newton John was the perfect Sandy Dumbrowski – and she will always be remembered for that- and the fact that I never heard a negative piece of gossip about her.
(Above, a few years ago, Olivia attended a Grease event with a life size cutout of Sandy.)

Photo: Pacific Coast News


Back in the 90’s when we had an expense account, we used to frequent the fancier restaurants in Beverly Hills. Every once in awhile, there would be a fuss, and Sidney Poitier (along with companions) would be leaving the restaurant, and MANY people (including other celebrities) would stop him to chat. He was always charming and generous with his time with everyone, as we watched in awe. Halle Berry posted this adorable photo of herself with Sidney in Variety along with a nice tribute about how she grew up idolizing him, and how they met and became friends in Hollywood.

Photo: Instagram (Variety)