Nestled inside The Hollywood Reporter’s New York Media blah blah blah issue is a real gem: a lengthy interview with gossip queen Liz Smith.
Smith is 92 years old and yet continues to report and write about all the shady dealings society’s elite get up to (or is it down with?). In the piece, she says what she thinks about basically everyone, from Roger Ailes to Ann Richards to the Bush family to Barbara Walters to Hillary Clinton...the namedropping goes on.
For instance, on her relationship with Cosmopolitan editor Helen Gurley Brown:
She thought I was Jesus jumping off the cross because I brought her all these interviews. I found Helen fascinating, but I thought she was an idiot sometimes. She would constantly talk to me about getting married and how I should look for a rich man. This is a woman who dedicated her life to telling women how to feather their nest by throwing a scarf over a lamp.
Or her take on Jackie Onassis’s sister Lee Radziwill, who, if you read her T magazine profile, you probably already thought acted like the Princess she is:
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.
Or on today’s celebrities in general:
What do you think of the current crop of celebrities?
Oh, I don’t even know who they are! Suddenly you have to remember a dozen Kardashians, and really, who has the time? The only reason I can do that is because I’ve written out their names on a piece of paper stuck on the wall. And still, I’m always having to check, is that Khloe or Kourtney or Kendall or Kim?
Celebrities seem more interchangeable than they used to be.
They arrive full-blown from the head of Zeus with not a shred of talent. There are some I admire, like Taylor Swift. When you see her perform, it’s kind of old-fashioned, like if Lana Turner could dance and sing for one number. But I have no interest in hearing her whole catalog.
“They arrive full-blown from the head of Zeus with not a shred of talent.” Dear lord that’s something.
In the interview (which I very much suggest you read in full), Smith expresses the kind of calm that only seems to come from certain older people. “...if I’ve learned anything, it’s that you can’t depend on anything. The world can change in a minute,” she says. Yet she manages to stay awesome no matter what.
Image via Dave Kotinsky/Getty