Jacqueline Bissett, the thinking man’s sex symbol, has a new French lover. Some people, Jackie included, think they’re the best kind. He’s Georges Marc Benamou, the editor-in-chief of Globe Magazine, the intellectual weekly owned by fashion almighty Pierre Berge of the Yves Saint Laurent Berges. And he is said to be very good where it counts. You figure it out.
That was Tom Hanks and his actress wife Rita Wilson sitting in a California hot tub with another couple at the Two Bunch Palms Spa in Desert Hot Springs last weekend. It was just like that scene from “The Player,” when the movie biggie (Tim Robbins) finally gets Greta Scacchi in a Two Bunch Palms hot tub, with him only to jump out in a hurry when his Hollywood studio calls. So much for priorities. Not Tom Hanks. He just hung in there enjoying the view with — and of — Rita.
They’re expected to be out of hot water by Jan. 22 when they’ll both attend the Golden Globe awards in Los Angeles. Rita will be wearing a black sleeveless chiffon and velvet gown trimmed in jet beads and designed by Valentino. Tom will be dressed by Valentino, too, in a single-breasted shawl collar dinner jacket.
As you must know, because the last thing they want to do is keep it a secret, Rita has been set for a role in Nora Ephron’s upcoming movie, “The Night Before Christmas.” This is the picture, though not the same role, that Emma Thompson turned down to co-star instead with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito in “Junior.” This set people wondering why the brilliant Emma would turn down what obviously will be a plum part in Nora’s flick to work with The Big Man and The Little Man. The answer? Big bucks? Emma should look like big bucks herself in the white Valentino pantsuit she’ll wear to the Golden Globes.
Whatever, “Junior,” directed by Ivan (“Ghostbusters”) Reitman, is all about a modern day “odd couple,” two doctors researching a miracle drug. One of them is injected with it and becomes pregnant. Emma plays the love interest of one of the doctors. I hope it’s Danny. OK, so it’s not Shakespeare, but it could fly.
“Blue” star Juliette Binoche’s next movie has her riding a horse practically through the entire thing — and the cute part is she’s never been on a horse before. So she’ll take riding lessons for three months to prep for her part. In between she’ll breast-feed her new baby. She can also walk and chew gum at the same time.
While Paul Anka is starring at Bally’s in Las Vegas — he started warbling last night and won’t quit until Feb. 2 — he and his wife Anne are checking out the area for a new house. The one they used to own is now the site of the huge driveway leading to the new MGM hotel. Kirk Kerkorian bought the house from the Ankas, otherwise the front and the rear of the place would have been a parking lot. What a prince that Kirk is!
He wasn’t the only one who wanted the key location. The Ankas were offered a lot of dinero from the people at Taco Bell, who were keen to sell their enchiladas and burritos right next to a busy hotel. And then there was Burger King, which was palpitating to buy the house, set up shop and build a gigantic billboard to attract the throngs. Anka did it “his way” — after all, he wrote the song — and besides, Kirk was the highest bidder.
Loyal supporters of The Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering are in for a special treat on March 9 when the first preview of Disney’s Broadway musical “Beauty and the Beast” opens at the Palace Theatre. Six new songs have been added to the original 1992 movie, the tremendous hit that spawned the idea of a Broadway musical. Jean Remmel Little is the honorary chairman of the evening, and the co-chairs are Norma Dana, Jane Gammill and Kari McDowell. The Society’s president, Allison Howard Blumenfeld, and its vice presidents — Adair Beutel, Susan Burke and Nancy Conroy — are working hard to make the sumptuous pre-performance buffet at the Hotel Macklowe and the performance itself a huge success. So far, they’re not doing too shabbily. Among the notables who’ve said they wouldn’t dream of missing the big show are Mary and Laurance Rockefeller, Betty and Virgil Sherrill, Catie and Donald Marron, Pat and Bill Buckley, Lisa and John Schiff, Tom Guinzburg, Noreen and Johnny Drexel, Blaine and Robert Trump, Anne and Deane Johnson, Carroll Petrie, Nan and Tommy Kempner, Coco and Arie Kopelman, Toni and Chuck Peebler, Hethea and Richard Nye, Nicole and Derek Limbocher, Evelyn and Leonard Lauder, Karen and Richard LeFrak and maybe hundreds of others just like them.
Crown Prince Frederik, the 25-year-old future King of Denmark, will be back in this country on Feb. 10 — he spent last year at Harvard — to open the Metropolitan Museum’s extraordinary new exhibit, “The Golden Age of Danish Painting.” Another Harvard man, our former ambassador to Denmark, John Loeb Jr., has been asked by the Danish Government to give a small and very private luncheon for Crown Prince Frederick in his beautiful Manhattan townhouse, the one with the biggest collection of Danish art in the U.S. hanging on each and every wall. Speaking of that sort of thing, John has just loaned 28 of his superb paintings to Harvard’s Busch/Reisinger/Fogg Museum. What a good boy.
The Tribeca Ball on Feb. 15 will celebrate the New York Academy of Art’s new home at 111 Franklin St. Guests have been asked to wear festive dress, and they had better. The honorary committee is terribly, terribly — that is if you consider chairman Tom Wolfe and his committee of Leo Castelli, Christopher Forbes, Michael Graves and Mary McFadden terribly, terribly. You don’t have to decide right this minute, you know.
It will be a big spring wedding when Christina Ittleson marries Sean Patrick Smith in New York in May. Christina is the daughter of Marianne and Tony Ittleson of New York and Southampton and the granddaughter of the late Nancy and the late Henry Ittleson, who were so much a part of the New York, Palm Beach, Palm Springs and Monte Carlo scene. Nancy and Henry had a house in Monte Carlo that looked like an enormous yacht. He was an avid gambler — and a multimillionaire who could afford it — so every night in the season you would see him at the roulette wheel or the baccarat table. The senior Ittlesons’ apartment at the Hotel Pierre was filled with one of the finest collections of Impressionists in the country. But that’s only a part of it. More about the bride and groom anon.