The Insider

Feb 10, 2003  •  Post A Comment

The Insider has been humming Carol Burnett’s signature song ever since last Wednesday’s Museum of Television & Radio gala in honor of Ms. Burnett and frequent collaborator Julie Andrews. The crowd that filled the grand ballroom of New York’s Waldorf-Astoria did indeed seem so glad to have that time together with a couple of pros who hadn’t lost any of the timing or the magic that made the inevitable reels of clips the most marvelous of any Museum gala’s The Insider has ever attended.
Ms. Andrews looked hale and hearty and terrific. Ms. Burnett looked a bit more delicate but terrific. Also in the swellegant crowd: the impossibly thin Mary Tyler Moore (who briefly raised those ghastly supermarket tabloid rumors); Michele Lee, the queen of understated glam (The Insider bowed); Chita Rivera in a black glam number (The Insider’s date, Bobby Rivers, bowed); Tony!!! Bennett!!!!! (The Insider and her date bowed deeply and earnestly); and Terry (Mrs. Mel) Karmazin (The Insider vows to adore any mogul’s wife who wears gowns more than once, especially if they wear as well as her strapless black knockout touched with white).
There was Helen Gurley Brown. The Insider got down on her knees to help when Ms. Brown’s purse plummeted to the floor during dinner, spilling its contents. The Insider did not drop to her knees again-once is, no matter what Jacqueline Susann said, more than enough for knees of a certain age-when Ms. Brown’s purse hit the ground again while everyone was waiting patiently for their wraps. “Serves her right,” said a mild-mannered woman. “She cut in front of me in the coat line.”
And there was Ashleigh Banfield, in an all-black strapless number, working the room so energetically that one had to wonder whether there’s a window about to open in her MSNBC contract. More than one observer dubbed her the Sharon Stone of the evening. The Insider is sure that was meant affectionately.
One fete, `Six Feet’ and a couple of cool fans
Want to know the nifty story behind that striking photograph of the “Six Feet Under” cast on your invitation to the third-season premiere party in New York Feb. 19? Oh? You didn’t get an invitation? Fear not, The Insider will be your eyes and ears. Today she’ll be your docent.
For the image with which it would market the most recent season of “The Sopranos,” HBO turned to Annie Leibowitz, a photographer almost as well-known as some of her celeb subjects. But HBO’s advertising group approached Gregory Crewdson, whose exhibits and books (“Hover” and “Twilight”) have produced quite a following, to create a defining image for “Six Feet’s” third season, which premieres March 2 at 9 p.m.
Turned out that “Six Feet” creator Alan Ball is a big fan of Mr. Crewdson and had paid him a quick homage in the second-season episode in which tortured teen and budding photographer Claire (Lauren Ambrose) visits an art school and her tour guide says, “Your pictures are very Gregory Crewdson.”
And it turned out that Mr. Crewdson is a big fan of the show and happy to shoot his first-and, he said, last-commercial image.
Not for the first time, The Insider asks, Who else would tell you such things?
You had Regis at `Notre Dame’
The Insider couldn’t help it. She giggled all the way through the conversation with Regis Philbin about his newest honor: having been named a Distinguished American by the Walter Camp Foundation. The “Live” host, who is always the first to laugh gracefully at himself, pretended to grouse that he was getting no respect from The Insider. But he knows The Insider adores him and he had to concede that nobody has ever called him “distinguished” before. “Just the sound of the word sends chills down my spine,” Mr. Philbin said. “It really does. No more hangin’ around with Freakin’ Finelli or anything.”
“I’m trying to keep this from [Philbin fan David Letterman], because God knows he could have too much fun with it. I’m a little embarrassed by this whole thing. I resisted this,” said Mr. Philbin, who has been known to volunteer to host an evening in honor of someone else rather than submit to being honored himself. What swung this deal was that the person twisting his arm was a graduate of Mr. Philbin’s hallowed Notre Dame.
Aaron Brown’s burden
It’s going to be a long, long, long, long, long, time before anyone forgets that “NewsNight” anchor Aaron Brown chose to finish a celebrity golf game rather than hot-foot it back to CNN after the Columbia disaster. By last Tuesday, when Mr. Brown was just a little late getting into the anchor chair for the first of the memorials, the cry that went around CNN headquarters in Atlanta was automatic: “Check the golf course!”