Liz Smith is still dishing on every one from Liz and Dick to Madonna



There was a time when Liz Smith’s legendary gossip column was syndicated around the world in over 75 newspapers. No wonder, too, considering this is the woman who counted Marlon Brando as a pal—who Liz and Dick invited to document their lives while they hid themselves away in Europe. And Smith, now 92, is still dishing, most recently in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter. It's "a beautiful read," according to our very own Lainey Lui. "One minute she’s pissing on Jackie Kennedy’s sister Lee Radziwill, calling her a homophobe. The next she’s dumping on the Trumps.” 

 

Smith also chimes in on today’s state of celebrity culture with her signature panache: “Suddenly you have to remember a dozen Kardashians,” she says, “and really, who has the time?”

 

The interview, which also chronicles the Texas-born “goofy starstruck kid’s” move to New York in her twenties with $50 in her pocket to her eventual accent that lead to her column—for which she earned, at its height, more than $1 million a year, is worth a read. But in case you’re pressed for time, here are the five best bold-faced bits:

 

On Gore Vidal, Truman Capote and Jackie O’s sister, Princess Lee Radziwill:


Well, she did something terrible. She was always a close friend of Truman Capote's. But then Capote got embroiled in that ridiculous libel suit with Gore Vidal over his claim that Vidal had been drunkenly kicked out of the White House. Lee is the one who told Capote the story, but when it ended up in court, she threw him to the wolves. All she had to do was tell the truth. But she refused, and Truman lost the lawsuit, which devastated him. During the trial, as a last-ditch effort, he asked me to call her and beg her to testify. And you know, Truman had done everything for her. He even tried to help her start an acting career. But when I called her and said, "Lee, you really must testify for Truman," she said, "Oh, Liz, what do we care; they're just a couple of fags! They're disgusting." I was so stunned, I just hung up. I've never spoken to her since.

 

On Barbara Walters:

 

Well, it turns out Barbara Walters can do without me, though I still consider her a friend. She has done so much for me through the years. But when I lost my column and my power, she kind of lost interest in me. When we run into each other now, she loves me; she's always saying, "Let's get together," blah, blah, blah. But I rarely hear from her now. That's OK.

 

On Liz and Dick:

 

I loved her. She was just snarky and funny and crazy. Selfish and tremendously generous at the same time. But Burton liked me better than she did. She was threatened by any woman, but he knew better. He liked that I could talk to him about Dylan Thomas and not sound like a total idiot. It got boring for them, hiding in Europe. When I was working at Cosmo, I did five or six stories on the Burtons. I practically lived with them in Rome and Paris. My ticket would always be paid for by Liz, or by 20th Century Fox. That was in the studio era, when sticky ethics still prevailed.

 

On Bette Midler:
 

Bette Midler was pretty tough on me early on. I ran something about her dating some actor. And she called me up, furious, saying, "I don't want to be in your f—ing column!" Which was an odd thing to hear from someone just starting a career in show business. The funny thing is, I love Bette now. She's amazing, but she's a volatile person. 

 

On Madonna:

 

She's an extremely talented, deeply complicated woman. We were close for a while, or as close as anyone can get to her. The first time we met, she glowered at me and said, "Aren't you scared of me?" I just laughed. We got along real well after that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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