Byline: Aileen Mehle

Racy Bits From All Over: “My mom thinks you should only show your body to your husband. My family doesn’t separate my acting career from me — the nudity was hard for them.”
Thus spake the beautiful Natasha Hentsridge, who took it all off as the incredible creature Sil in “Species.” (I love it when show folk speak from the heart, don’t you?) Now Natasha will be returning as the star of “Species II,” where maybe she’ll be Sil-ing it all over again. Will she keep her old school tie on in this one? We know how mom feels — so now why doesn’t someone ask Nat’s husband, actor Damien Chapa. Sil could be getting in a rut here.

“If someone catches you, it’s embarrassing,” says the dashing Pierce Brosnan for the benefit of his multitude of fans. Catches you doing what? Oh, not that. In Pierce’s case, it’s all rather touching and innocent. It seems he practices saying, “The name’s Bond, James Bond,” in front of the mirror in his car every chance he gets. Awwwwwww. When he’s not doing that, he’s running six miles a day to keep his suave, secret-agent self in shape and does half an hour of yoga before business meetings. In his newie, “Tomorrow Never Dies,” he saves the world from megalomaniac media mogul Jonathan Pryce. What a sweet guy.

British actor Tim Roth will be seen as a Charleston blueblood in MGM’s psychological thriller, “Liar,” due in the fall. It’s said to be his most searing screen role since his Oscar-nominated performance in “Rob Roy” and a 180-degree turn for an actor who specializes in playing low-life characters, such as low-life Dutch Schultz in the now-playing “Hoodlum.” Let me count the ways actors get religion when the fear overtakes them that they are being type-cast.

All those interested in bloodlines please rise. The picturesque English actress Helena Bonham Carter, who plays the aristocratic Kate in “The Wings of the Dove,” the upcoming film based on Henry James’s turn-of-the-century tale of passion and betrayal, would seem to be ideal for the role. Who doesn’t know that her great-grandfather was British Prime Minister Lord Asquith and that her grandmummy was Liberal personage Lady Violet Bonham Carter? You, that’s who. And who doesn’t know that Kenneth Branagh is cuckoo about Helena? She didn’t leave her parents’ home — literally — until he stepped into her parlor. (Parlour?) And that was when she was a big, grown-up girl already.

Please note that Princess Firyal of Jordan, one of the most scintillating staples of the international set, has arrived in New York, where she plans to stay while she studies art history at Columbia. So, dear ones, London’s loss is our gain. Her house in Mayfair is one of the most elaborate in the city, with a garden the size of a park. This is where she entertains le tout Mayfair — and even parts of Kensington — whilst wearing the Paris frocks that have led to her being described as one of the best-dressed women in the world. In New York, expect to see the fab Fir on the arm of Lionel Pincus, the investment banker.

Ca commence, as the French say. Did you see the ad in the Wall Street Journal informing us all that the Princess of Wales’s scarlet silk and lace cocktail dress, bought at the Christie’s auction of Diana’s clothes, is for sale all over again? It is being offered privately, and only serious offers will be considered. This is the same dress that the princess wore on a cover of People magazine, where she was their greatest star attraction. The dress is described as Lot 35 in the limited edition of Christie’s catalog and bears a hand-written inscription by Diana. If you are a true Diana lover and not some silly crank, the phone number to call in Virginia is (703) 683-8002.

Ready for your historical quiz? Which American president grew grapes in his backyard, which he lovingly pressed to make his very own wine? The Father of Our Country, of course, who was certainly not averse to tossing back a bit of the grape. And that backyard — some backyard — was right next to his house, which he called Mount Vernon. Now, invitations have gone out from this famous landmark plantation for the dedication of George Washington’s Fruit Garden and Nursery at his Virginia estate. The border of the beautiful invitation is illuminated with paintings of the fruits and vegetables our first president grew in the 18th century, and the garden is ablaze today with the same flowers, trees, shrubs and flora he himself planted. Although the late Mrs. William Randolph Hearst Jr. may no longer be with us, she is in spirit, because the ongoing operation of this very special place is the result of her endowment — a class act. Some people build great noisy buildings and monuments to themselves with their names carved in stone. Bootsie Hearst picked a gentler, more human way to be remembered. If you’re invited to the dedication, remember the way to enter is through the Hearst Gate and to stay for the reception following on the Mansion Piazza. George and Martha would have liked it that way.

Speaking of flora, Carolyne Roehm’s new book, “A Passion for Flowers,” due from HarperCollins next month, is a thing of beauty, style, flair and elegance. It is divided into the four seasons of the year, with ravishing photographs of each season’s bounty and how to arrange the flowers to light up your rooms and tables. Thank heavens she stopped to smell the roses.

You can enter through the front door of the Monkey Bar this evening when adorable, very pregnant Deborah Norville of the TV Norvilles is the guest of honor at a cocktail party given by Princess Yasmin Aga Khan and Judith Resnick. The whole thing’s a kickoff for the Rita Hayworth Gala at the Waldorf on Oct. 15, where darling Deborah will again be honored, along with Dr. Richard Mayeux, for all her good deeds for the Alzheimer’s Foundation. Will Deborah have her baby before the gala? Will Deborah have her baby at the gala? It’s all so very, very exciting.

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