September 2009 Archives

Excerpts leak from Patrick Swayze's memoir

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PEOPLE SWAYZE.jpg

"Dirty Dancing" made Patrick Swayze a superstar, but when he first read the script, he found it a little ... clean.

The actor, who died Sept. 14 of cancer, writes in his memoir, "It seemed fluffy -- nothing more than a summer-camp movie."

The memoir The Time of My Life comes out next Tuesday.

Obit Swayze.jpgSwayze's reaction was completely different about another future smash, "Ghost." He immediately wanted to be in it and persuaded producer Jeff Zucker to cast him despite Zucker's skepticism that Swayze could play a sensitive leading man.

Details from the highly anticipated memoir are slipping out all over the Web. Here's a round-up of the juiciest tidbits:

• Swayze did, of course, wind up taking the part in "Dirty Dancing," but some days his work with co-star Jennifer Grey made him wish he hadn't: "We did have a few moments of friction when we were tired or after a long day of shooting. [Grey] seemed particularly emotional, sometimes bursting into tears if someone criticized her. Other times, she slipped into silly moods, forcing us to do scenes over and over again when she'd start laughing. ... I was on overdrive for the whole shoot -- staying up all night to do rewrites, squeezing in dance rehearsals, shooting various scenes -- and was exhausted a lot of the time. I didn't have a whole lot of patience for doing multiple retakes."

• Swayze also remembered working with a then-little known Tom Cruise in Francis Coppola's adaptation of the young adult classic "The Outsiders." Cruise, Swayze writes, was so "self-conscious about his teeth" that he resisted magazine photo shoots.

• The memoir is co-written with his wife Lisa Niemi. When the couple married, they wrote their own vows. Here's what Swayze said to her: "Together, we've created journeys that were beyond anything we could imagine. We have ridden into the sunset on a white stallion, countless times. We've tasted the dust in the birthplaces of religions. Yet you still take my breath away. I'm still not complete until I look in your eyes. You are my woman, my lover, my mate and my lady. I've loved you forever, I love you now and I will love you forevermore."

• Swayze speaks of a life well lived, but he says his one regret was not becoming a father. He and Niemi tried, but after she miscarried the devastated couple didn't conceive again. "I couldn't wait to become a dad, to have a child with this woman I loved so dearly. And I wanted to be the best father I could be -- the kind of father my dad had been to me. I felt completely crushed with grief. We wanted to try again, but the loss had been so devastating that we just couldn't do it right away. We figured we had plenty more years ahead of us. Eventually, we did start trying again hoping Lisa would get pregnant. But she never did."

• The couple's bond, however, remained strong. He reflects: "The one thing I realized as Lisa and I retraced the arc of our lives is that no matter what happened, we never, ever gave up -- on each other, or on our dreams. I'm far from perfect, and I've made a lot of mistakes in my life. But that's one thing we both got right, and it's the one thing that's keeping me going today."

• Swayze writes about how he first got the news about his cancer late in 2007: "I had been having some digestive trouble, mostly acid reflux and a kind of bloated feeling, for a few weeks. I've had a sensitive stomach my whole life, so I hadn't thought much of it, but lately I just couldn't shake the constant discomfort." He knew right away what he was facing. "My doctor told me my chances of surviving for more than a few months weren't high, and I had no reason to doubt him."

hi_res35675090_3.jpg• Swayze filmed his last TV series, "The Beast," in Chicago -- while he was undergoing treatment. "I continued with chemotherapy all the way through the shoot," he writes. "But I never took any painkillers since they dull not only your pain but also your sharpness."

• In the end, he sums up his life this way: "I began thinking to myself, I've had more lifetimes than any 10 people put together, and it's been an amazing ride. So this is okay."

A rep for the actor confirms that, before he died last week, Swayze recorded a reading of his autobiography. That audio-book CD will be available on Tuesday, as well.


Another scandal victim gets book deal

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Lifestyles Advice On Affairs
Jenny Sanford (right) in happier times
with her husband, South Carolina
Gov. Mark Sanford.
(AP)


Ballantine, a Random House imprint, has announced it will publish Jenny Sanford's "inspirational memoir" next spring. Frankly it took me a minute to remember who she was -- and it wasn't until I saw her name connected to South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford that I remembered. (The governor admitted a few months ago that he had a yearlong affair with an Argentine woman.)

The publisher says Sanford -- who has since moved out of the governor's mansion but says she and her husband are working to repair their marriage -- "will grapple with the universal issue of maintaining integrity and a sense of self during life's difficult times."

My two cents: Does anyone begrudge a beleaguered spouse the opportunity to tell his or her story? No. But it is questionable as to how many books written by wives of cheating politicians we really need? After Elizabeth Edwards' Resilience and the steeped-in-denial interviews she gave while promoting it, politicians' wives are simply beginning to look gullible, weak and as concerned with appearances as their husbands' campaign managers.


The National Book Awards would like your vote.

Organizers of the prestigious literary prize are asking the public to choose the best fiction winner in the awards' 60-year history.

The six finalists, announced by the National Book Foundation, are:

* The Stories of John Cheever
* Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
* Collected Stories of William Faulkner
* The Complete Stories of Flannery O'Connor
* Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
* The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty

Votes can be cast through the Web site www.nbafictionpoll.org through Oct. 21. The winner will be announced Nov. 18.

AP

Tim Gunn: Fashion crimefighter

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Tim Gunn
Tim Gunn is mentor to fashion designer
wannabes on "Project Runway."


Fashion  Tim Gunn Superhero
Tim Gunn (in gray hair and glasses) as superhero.


By SAMANTHA CRITCHELL

Tim Gunn is taking his fight against fashion crimes from the workrooms of "Project Runway" to the pages of a comic book. And, wow, does he get to wear a power suit.

The "Loaded Gunn" story line -- to save an exhibit of extraordinary superhero clothes from a cadre of villains -- is part of a book that reintroduces a group of Marvel's high-fashion "Models Inc." comic characters from the 1960s.

"It's a little 'America's Next Top Model' -- without Tyra (Banks) -- and a little 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,"' says Marvel editor Charlie Beckerman.

The Gunn project evolved on a whim, but it turned out Gunn was a childhood comic fan and a good sport, Beckerman says.

Gunn says the experience has been "the most bizarre thing."

"It's exciting and exhilarating, but bizarre. When they came to me, I said, 'I'm about to turn 56 years old. Are they crazy?' But it kept revealing itself in layers and next thing, I'm wearing the 'Iron Man' suit. I was dumbstruck."

Personally, Gunn says he always fancied himself more of a Batman type, but he's pleased with the result.

"Most superheroes are fighting the same thing -- good vs. evil -- but who's taking on crimes against fashion? Me!"

The biggest offense, hands down: clothes that don't fit properly, Gunn says. And, if he had the truly incredible power to remove one item from closets all around the world, no question it would be Crocs.

"It's the No. 1 fashion crime item -- and I see it a lot," Gunn says.

AP