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Fran - Funny Lady
Lots of estrogen was floating around Pearl Restaurant in West Hollywood when The Ladies Home Journal and their Editor in Chief, Diane Salvatore, hosted a reception to honor “Funny Ladies We Love”. These ladies are featured in their March issue, and among those in attendance were Fran Drescher, Kathy Griffin, Reba McEntire and author Nora Ephron (When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle). Ephron, who is currently remaking a film version of the 60’s sitcom Bewitched with Nicole Kidman, is also noted for her quotes. “In my sexual fantasy, nobody ever loves me for my mind” – “My Mother said that the tragedies of your life one day have the potential to be comic stories the next”. She sure followed her Mom’s advice, didn’t she?

Debra Messing, (Will & Grace) was selected as the funniest redhead since Lucille Ball, and, of course, the Desperate Housewives’ were chosen as “Five new reason to love the suburbs”). But I believe the lady who best personifies the title is the unsinkable Fran Drescher. After her recent bout with cancer, and the breakup of her long term marriage, she has bounced back with a new series – Living With Fran- in which she plays a divorced mom living with her much younger boyfriend. Fran indicates that in her case, art is imitating life. Mmmm---go girl go!

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Reba with Heart onstage
Academy Award winning director William Friedkin (The Exorcist) received the Arthritis Foundation’s Jane Wyman Humanitarian Award at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Friedkin was with his very newsworthy wife, Sherry Lansing, who was Hollywood’s first female studio chief. Lansing, the outgoing head of Paramount Pictures, recently won a coveted spot on the forecourt of the famed Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. We ran into her at Orso in West Hollywood, having a leisurely lunch for a change. The understated beauty stated she is dedicating the next chapter of her life to charities, and helping others less fortunate.

Legendary pianist Van Cliburn made a rare appearance at the Arthritis Gala, and among those applauding his performance were Gene Hackman (who starred in Friedkin’s film, The French Connection,and Jack Valenti, who resigned last year as Director of the Motion Picture Association of America, and also recently received a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Still waiting for mine!

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William Friedkin, Jack Valenti, Sherry Lansing & Van Cliburn