Hollywood Inside and Out

“If everybody likes you – you’re pretty dull.” – Bette Davis’ quote might as well have been directed at Joan Rivers…or me.  Neither one of us has ever been called dull.

hollywood_montage_09182014This week, I celebrated a milestone.  I have been writing this column for 19 years.  Yes, I know I barely look a day over 90, but that’s not the point.  The point is, if someone told me that I’d be writing this very column week in and week out for close to two decades, I’d have not believed it.  But then again, nothing in my life has gone as planned.  In fact, one of my earliest aspirations has yet to be fulfilled.  I’ve never told you this, but when I was 14 years old, I ran away from home.  I boarded a plane and flew to Orlando, Florida to pursue a career at Disney World as one of the Seven Dwarfs.  I wasn’t picky as to which dwarf – at 14, it’s unlikely anyone would have given me a job.  Had I not gone home, I probably would have ended up penniless, on the street, a prostitute, a junkie, or worse.  And yet, none of those unsavory possibilities could have prepared me for my current vocation.  Ah, the road less traveled…

I first saw Joan Rivers on “The Tonight Show” and immediately fell under her spell.  I followed her every move religiously, sent her fan letters, and even jokes.  She always graciously responded and sometimes even called from the road.  Later, we got much closer.  She opened doors for me, gave me endless opportunities, and inspired me more than almost anybody in my life.  Over the years, I’ve known many celebrities, but only a small handful have a way of making their fans feel special.  Joan was that kind of person.  She used to say, “I always have time for my fans – they’re the ones who made me a star.”  This was a great year for Auntie Joan.  She had another book on the New York Times Bestsellers List, returned to “The Tonight Show” after 30 years, had two hit television shows, and at least two others in development.  To top it off, during her last hours on this Earth, she was onstage making people laugh.  To me, Joan Rivers was like Mount Rushmore – something iconic and majestic that would withstand the test of time…and whose face would never move.  She was an original, she lived by her own rules, and she was vital to the end.  We should all be so lucky.  We may have sorrow for her family and for ourselves.  But Joan lives on forever in our hearts and souls.  There’s nothing to mourn here – only something to celebrate.

Just as Bryan Singer’s legal woes ended on one front, they began on another.  It’s been a rocky few months since Michael Egan filed his sexual abuse suit against the filmmaker.  Although Singer never wavered in assertions of his innocence, Egan’s story grew more and more nebulous with implausibilities rising.  He was dropped by his lawyer around the time that Singer filed his own malicious prosecution lawsuit (Egan had to be served while hiding in the bathroom stall of a small Las Vegas casino).  Egan’s case was ultimately dismissed when he couldn’t find another lawyer to represent him, and Singer was able to sigh in relief.  But that respite was short-lived.  Singer is allegedly being investigated by the NYPD.  According to a police spokesperson, a male in his 20s who was visiting NYC from Virginia allegedly met Bryan at XL nightclub, was plied with alcohol, and taken back to the auteur’s hotel room where he was “forcibly sexually assaulted”.  The case is being investigated by the Special Victims Unit.

Death doesn’t protect you from legal woes.  In Los Angeles, a 36-year-old man is suing the estate of Michael Jackson for sexual abuse.  The accuser appeared with Jackson in his famous Pepsi commercial.  James Safechuck claims that he was abused by Jackson over 100 times during a four-year period.  Call me crazy, but after the first dozen or so times, wouldn’t you just stay away?  No, because the boy claims Jackson brainwashed him into thinking these were “acts of love”.  Oh, and did I mention that Safechuck was only 10 years old when the alleged abuse started?  Reportedly, the sexual part of their relationship ended when Safechuck reached puberty, proving that even Michael Jackson had standards.

It’s just been announced that Reed Kelly and Josh Canfield will be appearing on the upcoming season of “Survivor”.  You may remember Reed’s name – he’s one of the most gorgeous performers on Broadway and has previously been linked with Clay Aiken.  He also has the distinction of being one of the top (so to speak) fundraisers for “Broadway Bares” – and you’ll see why on  Canfield is his current boyfriend and is also a performer (and ain’t so bad on the eyes).  Much is being made of the fact that they are also both Christians – but I’m not sure why that’s relevant.  Perhaps those of you who watch the show will be able to fill me in.

Let’s slip in a quick “Ask Billy” question.  Henry in Tulsa writes: “What is going on with the ‘Magic Mike’ sequel?  Is it really going to happen?”

Not only is it happening, it’s actually started shooting.  Star of the original flick Joe Manganiello shared a photo from the first day on the set of “Magic Mike XXL” which we’ll post on  Why he’s being shot by the second unit is a mystery to me.

When I’m looking forward to “Survivor: The Musical”, it’s definitely time to end yet another column.  By the time you read this, I’ll be off on another adventure in an undisclosed country – hopefully not one that looks askance at journalists (as if I consider myself one).  No matter where I am, you can get the best dish at – the site that’s very internationale.  If you have a question for me, send it along to and I promise to get back to you before Bryan Singer turns up on a special episode of “Law & Order: SVU”.  Until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.