Tag Archives: The Lady…The Music…The Legend

Diahann Carroll Diamond Birthday Arrives, PBS Special Soon to Air

Diahann Carroll

What a month for Diahann Carroll, with USA’s “White Collar” starting its second season amid strong ratings and critical kudos — even as she launches her “The Lady…The Music…The Legend.” PBS special with its debut airing set for July 31 on Los Angeles’ station KCET.  And the ever-glamorous Diahann turns 75 on Saturday (7/17).

Her diamond birthday celebration “will be small, but special,” she says.

Diahann tells us she’ll be traveling to support of some of the PBS pledge drives to which her “The Lady…” one-woman show is being attached this summer (check local listings), but doesn’t know her itinerary as of yet.

“The hardest part was just surviving it, putting it on its feet,” she says, referring to the special, filmed live this past Spring as a benefit for the Annenberg Theater at The Palm Springs Art Museum.  “We misjudged and didn’t feel that it was going to be as large a project as it became.  I’ve never taken so many trips back and forth to Palm Springs in so short a time.”

Diahann has just returned from a trip to New York, where she filmed two episodes of “White Collar” as June — a.k.a. she who has the handsome ex-con Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) staying at her swanky Manhattan pad in the USA hit.

“I’ll go back in New York in August to shoot maybe two more,” says the Tony-winning Broadway veteran, who loves to take in shows whenever she visits her old  stamping grounds.  She does not, however, see herself returning to the Great White Way.

“It would be great fun.  I admire Angela Lansbury, but I don’t look forward to eight performances a week.  I guess it’s all those years of performing in Vegas, Tahoe and Reno doing two shows a night – some hotels have three shows a night.  That really takes a toll on the body, and you feel it later.  My last dangerous hurrah was doing ‘Sunset Boulevard’ in Canada, when I broke my fibula.  I’m absolutely fine now, but it took a long time to heal and I’m in no mood to face anything like that again.”

This year, “While I was recuperating from the rigors of doing the show in Palm Springs, I was reading ‘White Collar’ scripts.  I think my horizon at the moment is perfect.”  Happy Birthday, Diahann.

THE BIG SCREEN SCENE:  Sean Astin reports he’s now looking at a November production start for his and wife Christine Harrell’s labor of love movie project, “Number the Stars.”  They wrote the screenplay based on Lois Lowry’s beloved Newbery-winning young readers’ book about two 10-year-old girls who are best friends – one Jewish and one Lutheran – in 1943 Denmark, when Danes launched a massive flotilla to evacuate Jews ahead of the Nazis.

Sean, who continues to act while pressing forward with the movie, admits, “We wanted to be shooting in August, but that’s not going to be possible.  We’re doing it — like Frank Sinatra said — we’re doing it ‘My Way.’  We may never get it done, but we’re not getting it done my way,” adds Sean with a laugh.

He’s been speaking to potential investors at every opportunity, including his recent trek to Las Vegas to participate in a charity poker tourney.  When it comes to financing, he’s found, “Building a movie is like building a company.”

MEDICATION CAN WORK WONDERS:  It looks like about the only way for Mel Gibson to get back in the public’s and industry’s good graces at this point – not to mention surmounting law enforcement issues — would be for him to turn up in treatment.  Serious treatment.  His out-of-control, racist, anti-Semitic-misogynistic rants could certainly pass for those of someone afflicted with a mental disorder.  In fact, he sounds like someone who needs help.

CASTING CORNER:  While “Grey Gardens” director Michael Sucsy fine tunes the script for his “The Vow” feature that rolls in August, casting is underway for the family members of Rachel McAdams’ character in the drawn-from-real-life drama.  McAdams and Channing Tatum play the madly-in-love newlyweds whose world is torn apart when they get into a horrific car crash that leaves her with amnesia.  She can remember her mother, father, brother, sister, etc., but not her husband – and finds it more comfortable to be back with her conservative, conformist clan than this stranger with whom she seems to have nothing in common.  Why did she leave home in the first place?  Will her soulmate manage to reconnect with her?  We’ll have to wait until next year to find out.

Diahann Carroll Gets Her Diva On for PBS

Matt Bomer, Diahann Carroll "White Collar" USA Network photo

Diahann Carroll is diving into preparations this week to bring her “The Lady … The Music … The Legend” one-woman show to Palm Springs to be filmed as a PBS special. It’s the latest high-profile turn for Diahann, who also has her ongoing commitment to USA Network’s “White Collar” as well as two upcoming Lifetime movies. The still-glamorous septuagenarian is surprised herself to be in such demand.

“I’m very proud, pleased, happy and thrilled to be working like this as I approach…” she pauses, laughs, then sings, “the time of my life.”

She’s certainly been having the time of her life, adding a best-selling autobiography and a “Grey’s Anatomy” Emmy to her long list of stage, screen and TV achievements over the past couple of years.

Right now, she’s putting together an orchestra to rehearse with in L.A. for “The Lady…The Music…The Legend.” There’ll also be wardrobe to work out with Bob Mackie.

“For stage, Bob was always kind enough to be there for me,” she notes. “He’s a genius. Anyone who could take Cher’s body and turn her into what he’s turned her into — so gorgeous and appealing. And now he’s working with Pink, which I think is a wonderful combination. My gowns are not so extreme as that.”

Her live performance next month is a benefit for the Annenberg Theater at The Palm Springs Art Museum, with the TV special planned for summer debut.

Meanwhile, Diahann plays mama to “Rescue Me’s” Daniel Sanjata as he brings to life crime novelist Patricia Cornwell’s detective Wil Garano character in back-to-back movies. “Patricia Cornwell’s At Risk” and “The Front,” air April 10 and 17, respectively.

And then there’s “White Collar” and her part as the savvy and soigné widow who shares her home with con man-turned-crime fighter Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) “I’m having an absolute ball on that show. She’s a great character and I love the company,” says Diahann. “It’s so great to be around, people who are a bit – just a bit — younger than you and me.”

FROM THE INSIDE LOOKING OUT: Benjamin Bratt turned a lot of heads at last year’s Sundance Festival, playing a Latino father who finds out about his son’s hidden homosexuality in “La Mission.” Audiences will get a chance to see the flick, when it premieres in theaters April 9. Jeremy Ray Valdez, who plays Ben’s gay son in the film, wants us to know, “We had five screenings at Sundance and got standing ovations at every one. It just strikes a chord with people – not just with gays and Latinos, but all cultures are responding to it.”

He adds, “It was a project that I was really passionate about. As actors, we want to act in roles that are meaningful to us and the character is saying important things
and that’s what this script has. It’s just a beautiful story. I hope people take away from this film the possibility of change and unconditional love.”

The experience was certainly a life-changing one for Valdez. He tells us he’s lucky to have found a new role model in Bratt. “I can’t say enough good things about this guy. He’s super genuine, a family man, very down to earth, and cares about
everyone around him. He gives you everything he’s got as an actor,” says Valdez. “I actually got engaged while we were filming and you hear so much negativity in the Hollywood community about being married and cheating so to see him be so loving with his wife and kids, it made me hopeful with my marriage.”

Adam Hicks

CHANGE OF PACE:   It’s been a busman’s holiday for 17-year-old Adam Hicks while he’s been on hiatus for his Disney XD series, “Zeke & Luther.” The affable red-haired actor has been busy doing five episodes of “Jonas” for the brothers’ upcoming new season.

“My character on ‘Jonas’ is completely different from Luther. He’s the cool guy who has all the input on all the parties in California, the guy who shows them around,” Adam reports.

The new season of the skateboard-centric “Zeke & Luther” comedy premieres Monday (3/15), with an episode in which Zeke (Hutch Dano) jumps a shark, literally. Soon their hiatus will be over, and Hicks says he feels ready to get back to work on his own show.

“It’s funny, when you’re working, you get home and the first thing you do is go to sleep because you’re exhausted. You can’t wait for a break. Then when you get a break, you can’t wait to get back to work.”

ON THE GOOD FOOT: Hollywood’s legendary 92-year-old marathon-running publicity man Julian Myers is staging a Four Myers Generations run Saturday (3/13) — with 12 of his family members from near and far in the Lakewood, CA Sheriff’s Family Fun Run

Julian Myers

It’s all about promoting AmigoDay, the monthly day of conscious friendliness launched by Julian and wife Patsy years ago. Those longing for kindness and civility should consider joining in AmigoDay the first Sunday of every month. Requirements are simple. “Just greet anyone anywhere, your way, any month’s first Sunday,” explains Myers, a gentleman of the old school, who has worked with innumerable stars, all the studios, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the TV academy through the years.

He’s hoping all three of his great-granddaughters will run, but considering that the youngest one is a mere 1 ½, that may be asking a bit much. Even for a Myers.

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster