Marilyn Monroe--Vanity Fair's Favorite Cover Girl!

"HAS 'Mad Men" jumped the sharkskin suits?"

That's what some fans of AMC's retro-hit are wondering. After a 17 month hiatus, caused by producer's contract disputes and various money issues, the show returned with the decade of the '60s barreling ahead--civil rights, swingers, and even acid trips have been introduced.

Lots of people are embracing the change--but it can't be 1962 forever. Others are wary that the show will lose its edge as the characters move into the Flower Power era, the raging war in Vietnam and notions of female empowerment.

"Mad Men" still has two seasons left. If Don Draper ends up joining a hippie commune, I think that will be pretty funny!

  • OUR GIRL Liza Minnelli stole the show the other night at the Bay Street Theater's First Annual Honors event.

Board members Adrianne Cohen and John Downing, along with TV's Joy Behar were given awards. But it was Liza, with only a gentle piano accompaniment, from Mike Renzion, who had the crowd in the palm of her hand. She sang three songs from her current CD, "Confessions"
and concluded with her signature "Cabaret." Apparently, the latter song, which Liza has rarely, perhaps never, performed without at least a sextet behind her, sounded particularly fresh and poignant.

We must never forget the vital "Cabaret" lyric change Liza insisted on many years ago: "And I when I go...I ain't goin' like Elsie!" (Translation--Judy.) And she hasn't. She has fought the good fight and survived.

Liza next plays the Las Vegas Hotel and Casino on May 12.
  • CHANNEL-SURFING: Alec Baldwin with Conan O'Brien--wow! Alec looks sensational. Banishing sugar from his diet and taking up yoga has paid off. He looks ten years younger, and is supposedly at least 20 pounds lighter. He was, as usual, a doll. So funny and smart. I love this guy! Steve Martin with Leno. Steve's always looked younger than his years, even though he went gray so early. But maybe he's banned sugar and is practicing yoga, too. He looked amazingly youthful, playing his banjo...Ryan O'Neal with Matt Lauer, promoting his new book about his long relationship with Farrah Fawcett. O'Neal, who is now battling prostate cancer, looked healthy and ruddy. But he appeared as sad, lost and almost tearful as he did during the last year of Farrah's life, while she fought her own battle with cancer.

O'Neal seems to have accepted the fact that he simply was not a good parent, the belligerence he has displayed on this subject seemed muted. And Farrah, lovely as she was, was probably not an ideal parent or stepmother; her relationship with Ryan was too all-consuming.

O'Neal did say something to Matt Lauer that his three wounded children might take to heart--"You know, they're not children anymore. They are all full grown adults, in their 30s and 40s." He ended it there. But the implication was clear--you've made your own mistakes. It
can't be a lifetime of blaming.

Perhaps the O'Neals will come together soon. Tatum has tried particularly hard, and hopefully won't give up. Parents are only human and the product of their own upbringing. Forgiveness is a path to freedom.
  • OVER THE past four years, Marilyn Monroe--who is dead, you must understand--has been on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine three times! The latest cover shows a radiantly fresh-faced Marilyn, still a model, photographed by Andre de Dienes. It's amazing, the hold that this woman--gone almost 50 years--still has on the world.

The VF story inside deals with MM's famous nude pool scene, from her last, uncompleted movie, "Something's Got To Give," photographed by Lawrence Schiller. (Odd that one of Schiller's pics wasn't used for the cover.) As it always happens--especially with Marilyn--what Schiller said about the shoot, and Monroe, fifty years ago, has altered considerably. The passage of time has improved his memory.

Initially, in the wake of the photo-shoot, Marilyn cheerfully and casually remarked to Schiller, "Oh, I'll be so happy to see all those covers with me, instead of Liz!" A remark any actress in 1962 might have made, looking at the reams of publicity Taylor was generating from her Roman love affair with Richard Burton.

But now Schiller piles it on, saying Marilyn told Life magazine that there was to be no mention of Taylor anywhere in the magazine, in the issue in which, she, Monroe, appeared. Absurd. No actor had such power over Life magazine. They would have told her to take her naked tush to Look, and see if she fared better there. Eh, now this "consuming jealousy" will become a part of the legends of Marilyn and Elizabeth. (If Marilyn was going to be concerned about another actress, it would have been up-and-coming sex kitten Ann-Margret!)

Some other "Marilyn" quotes are dodgy as well. But who'll be reading anyway? The pictures are lovely. It's hard to believe this radiant creature would be dead in only a few months. By the way, Marilyn was never actually nude in the pool.

This was a carefully choreographed stunt. Many pics exist of MM sitting on the edge of the pool--in her sopping wet bikini--conferring with director George Cukor. She filmed for hours, but slipped out of the suit and into a robe, swiftly.