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Remembering Susannah York

"Would you rather change in there? You don't want everybody to know you're a size 12."

That was the divine Susannah York, sticking it to Elizabeth Taylor in the randy 1972 marital drama, "X Y and Zee." Taylor replied, of course: "Why not? I'm proud of it!" (York was playing a dressmaker on the make for Taylor's hubby, Michael Caine. La Liz had stopped in to scope out the competition. Eventually, Taylor and York end up in bed together. Well, it was the '70s!)

I was shocked to learn of Miss York's death on Jan. 15 at the far too young age of 72. I don't think most people were even aware that this icon of 1960s film was ill.

Miss York -- along with Julie Christie -- became a symbol of the changing tide in cinema, the beautiful, blonde, British "It Girl." She is best remembered for her roles in "Tom Jones," "Kaleidoscope," "A Man for All Seasons." "Battle of Britain" "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" and perhaps most infamously, as the manipulative, childlike lover of Coral Browne in "The Killing of Sister George." (The love scene between Browne and York was considered one of the most shocking episodes put on film up to that time. Today it wouldn't turn a hair -- especially if you've seen something like "Black Swan." But in 1968 audiences were stunned.)

And, of course, to newer generations she was Superman's mother in several of those movies. But she worked continuously, in films, on TV and on the stage, and she never lost that particular quality of wry elegance mixed with vulnerability. Nor did she lose her beauty. (She gave an especially lovely performance in the splendid 1984 TV version of "A Christmas Carol.") Her final professional appearance was last August in Ronald Harwood's "Quartet" at the Oxford Playhouse.

Personally, Miss York was one of those rare creatures about whom one never, ever heard a disparaging word. Her friends and family have lost a lovely person. We have lost a fabulous actress.


It was such a relief that suddenly Jennifer Aniston's hairstyle came back on front pages with a vengeance. She now says she hated "The Rachel" look that predominated during the run of TV's "Friends." Hmmm, well, hairstyles of the rich and famous have always made news. The late Farrah Fawcett's hair was much bigger and made bigger news during the "Charlie's Angels" era.

Katie Couric used to respond to critics of whatever she was doing on TV, by saying, "Yes, it's always and forever about my hair!"


One hail and two farewells department. A duet of famous souls recently announced their retirements.

The one I will really hate to see depart is the ever-funny and adorably gracious Regis Philbin, my old friend for ages. Regis and I had the pleasure many years ago of being on a jaunt to France together and at that time we surveyed the Bayeux Tapestries together, courtesy of our host, the late Malcolm Forbes. It was actually an intellectual and cultural high, being in the company of Regis, and I will miss him when he leaves "Live with Regis and Kelly."

That's the "hail!" part. The "farewell" comes with the departure of faux Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman, the man who endorsed John McCain for president. What a jerk! Connecticut, one of my favorite states, will be much better off without Lieberman to confuse intentions in the Senate.

But we aren't done yet. He'll stick around for two more years bragging on himself and being a pain in the you-know-what to everybody with any sense.

Goodbye and good riddance.

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