Martin Short Returns to Broadway in January

"I CAN'T believe Mother did this eight times!"

So said Cheryl Crane, daughter of the late movie queen Lana Turner, on the day of Cheryl's own (first) wedding.

After forty years together, Cheryl and her partner "Josh" LeRoy tied the knot last week.

Cheryl -- whose father was actor/restaurateur Stephen Crane -- has made a wonderful life for herself as a real-estate broker. She survived Lana's sincere, if rather careless parenting, and remained devoted to her mother, in life and since the star's death. (She published a lush coffee-table tribute, Lana: The Memories, The Myths, The Movies.)

Her autobiography, Detour is one of the most gripping Hollywood tales ever told. People still say Cheryl hasn't "told all," about the killing of Lana's lover, Johnny Stompanato. But I think she has. Detour was honest enough to make Lana rather uncomfortable.

All the best, Cheryl and Josh!

•THE Landmarks Conservancy had a triumph last week in the Plaza Hotel Ballroom where I did the emcee chores, just barely, as the plastic podium was designed for men 6 feet tall. Never mind!

This is a charity that tries to save New York's priceless buildings from its burgeoning self! We raised over $1,300,000, more even than the "good old days" when we made the likes of Brooke Astor and David Rockefeller "Living Landmarks."

Even though weather and traffic were horrible that night, we had our greatest SRO sold-out party this time. Every one of the acceptors was a star and acquitted themselves with charm, wit and (mostly) brevity.

Our Landmark team onstage was causing talk, especially Peter Duchin who has lost weight and is as handsome and vital as ever, playing the piano and conducting.

I want to salute his brilliant vocalist, Roberta Fabiano, as well as Tommy Tune, who tapped and sang in his red cowboy boots. And our star-introducer was actor and comic David Hyde Pierce. He is just great!

Our new Living Landmarks -- Leonard Lauder, Mort Zuckerman, Dr. Mitch Rosenthal, Gael Greene, Jujamcyn Theater's Jordon Roth and his producer-mother Daryl, all make us especially proud this year!

•WHEN the smash hit It's Only A Play loses its undeniable star -- Nathan Lane -- the Terrence McNally comedy will continue its run with Martin Short taking over the role on January 4th. (This "inside" look at Broadway theater has already made tons of money, shattering records at the Schoenfeld Theater.)

A word about Martin Short. He is a success in his life and work. My late friend, Nora Ephron never stopped singing his praises to me; she thought he was almost too good for show business. I think Mr. Short is the most under-rated star I've ever seen in legit theater!

I'm going back to see It's Only A Play for a third time when Martin Short begins, in the Lane role. (And, Nathan, you will still be loved even when you go all serious on us in The Iceman Cometh.)

Without Broadway theater, as they say, New York is Newark!

•MAREA restaurant mavens on Central Park South off Columbus Circle thought there was a talent exodus from Broadway last week.

Slurping up pasta and rare expensive shavings of Italian truffles were four women from the theatre's biggest pool of talent -- Christine Baranski, Glenn Close, Cynthia Nixon and Whoopi Goldberg.

They were all celebrating the birthday of their favorite director, the great Mike Nichols. He thought he had died and gone to heaven. I'm told he was surprised, as people should be on their birthdays!

Can you believe yours truly was invited to this gathering of The Mike Talent Club? But traffic and the "Living Landmarks" gala made it impossible for me to go.

I'm very proud to have been asked.

Happy Belated Birthday, Mike!

•The Week, my favorite comprehensive magazine look at what's what, recently listed the best "Great Places to Retire."

They named San Antonio, Texas (where I spent my first honeymoon)...St. Petersburg, Fla...Salt Lake City...New Orleans, La. (where my best friend Peter Rogers lives)...Pittsburgh, Pa...Fort Collins, Colo...Madison, Wisc....Oxford, Miss, where my mother was born.

•Tucker Tooley has produced the exciting new film Beyond the Lights, to bow Nov 13th at Regal Union Square Stadium on Broadway. Tucker is the lucky husband of actress Tessa Benson Tooley. She is the daughter of famed photographer, Harry Benson and his faithful Gigi. Harry and Gigi are on top of the world with his two recent big books -- one on the Beatles; one on Palm Beach life. He also photographed Queen Elizabeth (again) this year.

Why, it all reminds me of Harry's immortalizing yours truly, dancing in Shubert Alley -- when I could still dance!