New York's epic article about Annie Leibovitz in this week's issue is well worth a read, particularly since it sheds a little light on how it is one of the world's highest-paid photographers now finds herself on the brink of financial ruin. (If the only person you'll allow to repair your air-conditioner has to travel to NYC from Vermont to do the work, that's probably not a good sign.) Leibovitz's financial fate will likely be sealed in September when the $24 million loan she secured from Art Capital Group last year is due. Interestingly, though, Leibovitz appears to be hinting that the terms of the loan— which required her to put up the rights to her photos and real estate holdings as collateral—only became apparent to her after the Times reported on Art Capital Group back in February. Friends of the photographer suggest that Leibovitz had no idea she was giving up so much when she took out the loan; they also seem to be shifting some of the blame to Ken Starr, the financial adviser who took the photographer on as a client in 2007 and who was also responsible for introducing Leibovitz to Art Capital Group. Pinning the blame on Starr, who boasts an insanely long list of celebrity clients, may be a hard argument to make.
Director Michel Gondry turns 46 today. Enrique Iglesias is turning 34. Knicks head coach Mike D'Antoni is 58. Author Thomas Pynchon is turning 72. Model Josie Maran is 31. Advertising exec Richard Kirshenbaum is 48. Alex Van Halen is 56. Earth, Wind & Fire's Philip Bailey turns 58. Ted Sorensen, best known as JFK's speechwriter, is 81. Actress Melissa Gilbert is turning 45. Socialite Nina Griscom is 55. And Don Rickles, or "Mr. Warmth," is 83 today. A few of the people celebrating their birthdays this weekend—including Rosario Dawson, Emma Bloomberg, and Billy Joel—after the jump.
Britney Spears getting out of an SUV at JFK ... Sarah Ferguson signing copies of her book at Borders ... Taylor Momsen on the Gossip Girl set ... Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise leaving their apartment with Suri ... LL Cool J reading to kids as part of a charity event in Rockefeller Plaza ... Candice Bergen walking by herself on the Upper West Side ... Calista Flockhart outside the Letterman show ... Leighton Meester posing for photos at a domestic violence awareness event in Union Square ... Elizabeth Hurley entering her hotel on the Upper East Side ... and Sean and Robin Wright Penn holding hands outside the premiere of What Just Happened.
1) The first New York benefit of the Young Patrons Circle of the Friends of the Louvre took place Tuesday night at Espace: Devoted socials like Olivia Chantecaille, Fabiola Beracasa, Alexandra Papanicalaou, Lisa Anastos, Annabel Vartanian, Melissa Berkelhammer, and Devorah Rose bid on photographer Candida Hofer's pictures of the Louvre's galleries. [Park Avenue Peerage/PMc]
OK, this is way worse than Candice Bergen not crying at her mom's funeral earlier tonight: "Gourmet editor in chief [Ruth Reichl] told attendees... that her mother 'was everything I didn't want to be, and to this day I wake up every morning grateful not to be her...' Penguin Press, inspired by Reichl's speech, has signed a contract with her to write a tome about the meaning of motherhood past and present." [WWD]
"After some rough, knockout years with my mom, we grew close and when she died, I loved her very much. I didn't, however, cry when she died (or for my father, for that matter) and don't understand why. Perhaps because of youthful choices not to be my mother. But my mom was bedridden for the last four years of her life. She was a great sport about it. But now, whenever I find myself sleeping until eight o'clock AM or stretching out on my couch to answer emails or read the paper … I panic. Am I turning to sedentary sludge? Am I steps away from being bedridden?" [wowOwow]
Five old media blondes are launching a website for women over 40 and enlisting their closest celebrity friends to contribute! The site is called WowOWow.com, which is supposed to refer to "Women On The Web," and should launch Saturday. It sounds a lot like that other celebrity website, the Huffington Post, except more like The View and less tech savvy — a good deal of the content is submitted via telephone calls, faxes and probably dictaphone cylinders that are then transcribed into digital bits by pitiable lackeys who "speak cyber," as one editor put it. The founders, who contributed $200,000 each, are Post columnist Liz Smith, 85; former advertising execute Mary Wells, 79; 60 Minutes reporter Leslie Stahl, 67; former Simon & Schuster President Joni Evans, 65; and Wall Street Journal Columnist Peggy Noonan, 57. They have wisely recruited contributors like Lily Tomlin, Candice Bergen and token-non-white-lady Whoopie Goldberg. But how can this thing take of with an address like "WowOWow.com?" After the jump, a number of more descriptive and accurate domain names, all still available at the time of posting:
A preppy pin-up in the '70s, Candice Bergen later became famous as TV's favorite uptight working woman, Murphy Brown. Raised in Hollywood, Bergen was the daughter of popular radio ventriloquist Edgar Bergen. After getting kicked out of Penn for poor grades, she turned to modeling before earning her first role in Sidney Lumet's 1966 film The Group. A string of starlet roles earned her celebrity status thereafter in the '70s, but her career cooled at the end of the decade. She returned to the spotlight in 1988 playing an acerbic TV newscaster on Murphy Brown, and stayed with the show until 1998, winning five Emmys along the way. In the early ‘90s, she had a highly-publicized spat with then-Vice President Dan Quayle after he blasted Murphy Brown for promoting single motherhood. Post-Murphy, she (unwisely) turned down a job on 60 Minutes to host her own Oxygen network talk show, which was cancelled after a year. She's since had roles in a few lackluster comedies, like Miss Congeniality, Sweet Home Alabama, and View from the Top. Her career took a turn upward in 2005 when she joined the cast of Boston Legal as Shirley Schmidt, receiving two Emmy nominations for the role. Bergen bas been married twice, first to French film director Louis Malle, who succumbed to cancer in 1995, and then to real estate developer Marshall Rose in 2000. She has one daughter, Chloé, from her first marriage.