Jill Jackson’s Hollywood

by Jill Jackson

Tom Hanks has taken on another job. He will represent the actor’s branch on the Motion Picture Academy’s board of directors. This plus a full plate of film offers should keep him quite busy. Yet he manages to have fun on outings with Rita, the kids and also to walk the dogs. His latest film, Angels and Demons, has brought in big bucks at the box office since its May release. Patrick Dempsey has joined the cast of Valentine’s Day, a romantic comedy to be directed by Garry Marshall about five interconnecting stories that occur and play out on Valentine’s Day in Los Angeles. And get this for a cast: Julia Roberts, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Biel, Jennifer Garner, Shirley MacLaine, Emma Roberts, Ashton Kutcher, Hector Elizando and still more to be added. Aside to Kathleen H. of Pine Prairie, Texas: No, I did not know Bette Davis personally. However, I have friends who did. And indeed yes, they say she was very feisty, but lots of fun when she wanted to be. And there is no doubting her tremendous talent. Aside to Karl K. of Tempe, Ariz.: You asked if I knew Joan Blondell. Yes, I was lucky enough when I first came to Hollywood to move into an apartment right next door to hers. What a kind and loving friend she turned out to be, and what wondrous tales she told me about her big starring days in the business. She also had two pug dogs that she loved with “her life.” Their names were Bridey Murphy and Fresh As a Tulip, nicknamed Bridey and Freshie. Talk about spoiled. They would eat only certain foods cooked by Miss Blondell, and “go” only on spots to their liking. And yes, I also knew Hermione Baddeley. (Remember her as Mrs. Naugatuk in “Maude”?) She also had two dogs — these were English Bulls, and just as temperamental as Bridey and Freshie. And to add to the temperaments, they also were always groomed to the nines. Miss Baddeley herself painted their nails with pink polish, although many times her own nails went “as was.” … And still on the subject of “pups,” I also met one of Elizabeth Taylor’s small, white Maltese. She was called Sugar, and every where Elizabeth went, “Sugar was sure to go.” Her nails also were always painted (Sugar’s, not Eliza beth’s). BITS ‘N’ PIECES: Viola Davis has high hopes, and maybe by the time you read this they will be fulfilled. She hopes to land a role in Eat, Pray, Love opposite Julia Roberts. … And Russell Crowe will pos sibly be reprising his role of Captain Jack Aubrey in a follow-up to his Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. … AND, I didn’t know until I read it that both of Lon Chaney’s parents were deaf mutes, or that Montgomery Clift had a twin sister.

(c) 2009 King Features Synd., Inc.