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Excerpts leak from Patrick Swayze's memoir

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"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.

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.


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.


Angelina Jolie as Dr. Kay Scarpetta

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Angelina Jolie scored herself another franchise. The "Tomb Raider" star has been tapped to play Dr. Kay Scarpetta, the beautiful medical examiner heroine of Patricia Cornwell's popular crime novels.

Oscars Arrivals
Angelina Jolie and husband Brad Pitt. (AP)

"Scarpetta's a workaholic who dresses well, drives a Mercedes, attracts handsome guys, and handmakes Italian food, reports Elisabeth Rappe on "She's kind of perfect, just like Jolie."

Twentieth Century Fox apparently has acquired the rights to all 16 Scarpetta novels. Could keep Jolie working for a long time.

'Sunshine' and crime scenes

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I saw "Sunshine Cleaning" over the weekend, starring Amy Adams, Emily Blunt and Alan Arkin. For those not in the know, it's about a couple of sisters who start up a business cleaning up crime scenes and other bio-hazardous messes where death has occurred. I enjoyed the movie, and it still has me thinking... Not that I would want to do it myself, but in these tough economic times, if you're looking to start your own business, it's probably best to find some kind of niche in the market.

So, if you are interested in the crime scene cleanup biz, there's a book out there loaded with real-life stories. In Mop Men: Inside the World of Crime Scene Cleaners (St. Martin's, 306 pages, $24.95), author and journalist Alan Emmins writes about his time hanging out with a guy named Neal Smither and his crew as they cleaned up after murders, suicides, etc., in the San Francisco area.

mop men

Here's what Publisher's Weekly had to say about it:

"Emmins delves into the zany character of Smither, a loving family man who puts on a coarsely humorous persona as protective armor as he surrounds himself with the dark realm of death, monitoring his multimillion-dollar business in a highly competitive field. Hanging around with Smither means a grisly experience of suicide surrounded by transgender porn, bodies splattered by gunfire or the decayed corpses of those ruined by meth or contagious disease. ... a totally gonzo way of looking at the crime scene cleaning business."

D-Lister Griffin makes $2 million deal

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The New York Observer reports that comedian Kathy Griffin is being paid $2 million to write a memoir. That's right. Random House apparently put up the winning bid for the Oak Park native to tell all.

Kathy Griffin at the Grammy
Awards earlier this month.

(Getty Images)

Readers will be the judge as to whether her life is as funny as her stand-up comedy act or her TV Show, "My Life on the D-List," in which she regularly skewers A-List celebrities. But seriously, what will she care once the book is out? She'll have the last laugh either way, and $2 million in her pocket.

No 'Idol' hands for Sanjaya -- he's been busy!

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Sanjaya -- he of the "faux-hawk" hairdo -- is back and he's written a memoir. The "American Idol" season six sensation has been busy developing himself "as an artist."

In an ABC interview he talks about how much he's learned about the music business, among other things.

Roger Moore feted in France

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As French Culture Minister Christine Albanel named British actor Roger Moore a commander in France's National Order of Arts and Letters in Paris yesterday, Moore claimed the award was worth "more than an Oscar."

Moore, 81, has never won the Oscar, nor has he ever been nominated for one. Best known for playing James Bond on the big screen in the '70s and '80s -- he played the role longer than any other actor -- Moore can add author to his resume. His memoir, My Word is My Bond (Collins, 336 pages, $27.95), is due out next week. (Look for the Sun-Times review in this weekend's Sunday Show section).

Roger MooreMy Word is My Bond
Roger Moore and wife Christina
pose for the camera as Moore
is named Commander of Arts
and Letters by the French
culture ministry.
(AP photo)

Director Cronenberg writing a novel

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Film director David Cronenberg says he's wanted to write a book for 50 years -- and now he's finally doing it.

Cronenberg, attending the Rome Film Festival this week, says he's written 60 pages so far -- and it won't be horror or science fiction, like many of his films.

David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg poses in front of a
still image from his film "Scanners"
during an art exhibition at the Rome
film festival.
(Alessandra Tarantino~AP)

''Based on the pages I have written we found publishers all over the world, which is very terrifying to me,'' Cronenberg told reporters at the festival. ''It's at a very delicate phase right now, so I can't really talk about it. It's not like Stephen King. I don't know what it's like but you wouldn't call it a horror or science fiction novel at all. But what it is exactly, well, I don't know yet.''

Cronenberg's best known films are scattered across the '80s: "Scanners" (1981), ''Videodrome'' (1983), ''The Fly'' (1986) and "Dead Ringers" (1988). More recently he has garnered acclaim for two collaborations with actor Viggo Mortensen, "A History of Violence" (2005) and "Eastern Promises" (2007).

More Marcia

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In yesterday morning's entry I lamented not having received a copy of Maureen McCormick's memoir, Here's the Story. Like magic, as if some "Brady Bunch" fairy were looking down on me, my very own copy appeared in the Book Room by afternoon. I spent a good part of rest of the day paging through it and jotted down some of the highlights.

Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!

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Marcia Brady never would have dated Michael Jackson (remember, Davy Jones was her type), gone on cocaine binges or partied at the Playboy mansion (the pizza parlor was where it was at for her), but Maureen McCormick, who played the eldest daughter on the '70s sitcom "The Brady Bunch" did all of the the above -- and more.

You can learn all the salacious details in McCormick's memoir, Here's the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice (HarperCollins, 288 pages, $25.95), which goes on sale tomorrow.

Brady Bunch Here's the Story
That's McCormick, upper left, as Marcia on "The Brady Bunch."

Regrettably I did not receive an advance copy -- Do the publisher's not know what a "Brady Bunch" aficionado I am? -- but the Associated Press got their hands on one and culled this quote out of it.

''As a teenager, I had no idea that few people are everything they present to the outside world. Yet there I was, hiding the reality of my life behind the unreal perfection of Marcia Brady. No one suspected the fear that gnawed at me even as I lent my voice to the chorus of Bradys singing, 'It's a Sunshine Day.'''

Ain't no sunshine in interventions, rehab, depression and therapy, which is what followed her "Brady" years. But in 1985 McCormick married actor Michael Cummings, and her life started to turn around. She credits his love and support, plus that of her "Brady Bunch" family, with helping her get sober.

During her troubled times, McCormick got an occasional acting role but nothing substantial. Post-recovery she became the winner on VH1's own version of dysfunction, "Celebrity Fit Club." More recently she starred on two other reality series, "Gone Country" and the bizarre "Outsider's Inn."

Meet Marcia in person! McCormick will sign copies of Here's the Story, 7 p.m. Thursday at Borders, 830 N. Michigan.