Thursday, August 18, 2005

Shelley aka Shirley Celebrates a Birthday!

My favorite columnist for the New York Observer, Simon Doonan, related this little anecdote about one our favorite film stars, the legendary Shelley Winters, in the August 29, 2005 issue:

"[O]n Aug. 18, Shelley Winters celebrated her 85th birthday with an Italian-themed blowout in honor of her two gorgeous ex-husbands, Tony Franciosa and Vittorio Gassman. No, I wasn’t invited, nor would I expect to be … not after what I once did to Shelley.

"Twenty years ago, when Shelley was 65 and I was young and stupid, I clocked Shelley Winters in a Hollywood store buying a size-12 pair of leather pants. Being the world’s No. 1 Shelley fan, I could not restrain myself from eavesdropping. I overheard Miss Winters tell the sales gal she was buying the pants to hang on her refrigerator as a dietary incentive.

"That evening at my aerobics class—I was a committed squat-battler, even back then—I blabbed the story of Shelley’s new dieting trick to a friend of mine who just happened to work for The National Enquirer. A week later, the tidbit appeared in her column. A week after that, I received a check from the Enquirer for $50, marked “for Shelley Winters item.” I was riddled with guilt. I felt as if I had betrayed the great two-time Oscar winner at a vulnerable point, i.e., in her battle against squatness.

"I toyed with giving the money to charity or framing it. As far as I can remember, I ended up spending it on a brand-new pair of legwarmers.

"Shelley, I hope you had a fab birthday and ate masses of prosciutto. Your longevity is a testament to the healthful properties of animal fat."