Jewish World Review Feb. 13, 2004 / 21 Shevat, 5764

Lloyd Grove

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John & Carolyn, redux; Zell Miller shows the flag; kill Quentin?; more | NEW YORK — Last summer's titillating beach read, "The Kennedy Curse" — Edward Klein's hatchet job on the late John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy — enraged family members and friends with its lurid portrayal of a cocaine-addicted, hysterical Carolyn and an irresponsible, philandering John.

They were allegedly headed for divorce when their private plane crashed off the coast of Martha's Vineyard in July 1999.

But a still-unreleased book about the third-generation Kennedy males — obtained exclusively by this column three months before publication — offers an authoritative and nuanced view of the late couple's marriage.

Yes, Carolyn occasionally used coke, as did many of her colleagues in the fashion world — and she wasn't addicted, writes Laurence Leamer in "Sons of Camelot: The Fate of an American Dynasty."

And John wasn't sleeping with other women when he moved out of their Tribeca loft and into the Stanhope Hotel three days before his death. Instead, he was trying to delay an exhausting emotional scene with his wife so that he could focus on saving his financially imperiled George magazine.

Leamer, who enjoyed unprecedented access to family members and Kennedy intimates for his 619-page book, writes that John "had both a troubled marriage and a blessed marriage. . . . The gossips whispered that the couple weren't even having sex any longer; that was the most unknowing cut of all, since no matter how their fights began, they ended in only one way."

According to Leamer, at the start of the marriage in 1996, Carolyn was so spooked by the paparazzi she once spent two weeks as a prisoner in their apartment. She "faced a formidable, threatening presence in Caroline, her new sister-in-law," Leamer writes, "hardly one to be overly sympathetic to a pouting, self-pitying Carolyn."

Joe and his siblings "had bitter feelings toward John" after the latter wrote in his magazine that Joe and Michael Kennedy — in the midst of an ugly divorce and a sex scandal, respectively — were "poster boys for bad behavior."

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As for John, "he liked Joe the least, considering him vulgar and overwrought."

John also blamed his fatherless upbringing on his inability to stand up to David Pecker, then CEO of Hachette, which bankrolled George. Pecker had exploited John's celebrity for the benefit of other Hachette mags, not George.

"As he looked back on it, he realized how badly he had been used," Leamer writes, noting that John had complained to his friend David Kuhn.

"How'd you let that happen?" Kuhn asked.

"Pecker is smart and cunning," John replied. "But you know what I've come to realize? I have a problem with male authority figures."


Just when you thought it was safe to live without thinking any further about the Super Bowl halftime show, Sen. Zell Miller, D-Ga., put it back on the front burner Wednesday.

While the Senate Commerce Committee summoned Viacom's Mel Karmazin so that members could harangue him about CBS's seamy show, the cantankerous Miller taped his own review in the Senate recording studio.

"I don't know how many of you have ever run over a skunk with your car," he said. "I have many times, and I can tell you, the stink stays around for a long time. You can take the car through the wash and it's still there. So the scent of this Super Bowl halftime show will long linger in the nostrils of America.

"The thing that yanked my chain the hardest was seeing this ignoramus with his pointed head stuck up through the hole he had cut in the flag of the United States of America, yelling about having 'a bottle of scotch and watching lots of crotch.' That did it for me.

"This is the same flag we pledge allegiance to, the same flag that is draped over the coffins of dead young uniformed warriors killed while protecting Kid Crock's bony butt. He should be tarred and feathered and ridden out of this country on a rail. Now there's you a good reality show."

Neither Kid Rock nor his representatives — not even Pamela Anderson — had any comment Wednesday.


KILL QUENTIN?: I'm told that "Kill Bill" director Quentin Tarantino will put on his acting shoes this Sunday to appear on ABC's "Alias" opposite "Kill Bill" star Vivica A. Fox. Tarantino will play villainous former agent McKenas Cole while Fox will portray a rogue security system designer. "Kill Bill Vol. 2," meanwhile, opens April 16.

HAIRY RIDDLE SOLVED!: What do Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and Paris Hilton have in common? Hint: It's not that they've all danced on tabletops while wearing no underwear. For the definitive answer, I phoned Belgian-born stylist Cristophe Schatteman at his Beverly Hills salon Wednesday. "Hmmm. I know all these people, but that's about it," Cristophe ventured tentatively, sounding a tad baffled. Exactly right. The two Clintons and Kerry get their coiffures styled at Cristophe's Washington salon — and Hilton, in her just-released book proposal, reveals that when on the Left Coast, she goes to Cristophe in Beverly Hills.

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01/30/04: The political forehead front; Alies meets Franken; the art of the hype; arrested career development?
01/28/04: Eyebrow-raising politics; call him indescribable; Woods vs. Williams; more
01/23/04: Eyebrow-raising mystery; who's punk'd anyway?; don't curb your enthusiasm; more
01/21/04: Ridiculous lives of the self-important stars; long arm of the law; all's fair in love and literature
01/16/04: Global warming at a glacial pace; targeting pop culture; Is 'the price of loyalty' too high?
01/14/04: Busting on the "cult buster"; Sarsgaard thinks globally; one angry woman; more
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01/07/04: Bono hits a brick wall; Britney, before the nuttiness; the Arianna primary; more
01/02/04: Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio!?; "Bachelor" bruises; Returning to the scene of the crime?
12/31/03: Disaster for the defense; no-war Omar; the shoe must go on; more
12/19/03: Bob Shapiro's free commercial?; Are sophisticated and hip New Yawkers easily duped?; Positive Saddam fallout?; Ratty insult?
12/17/03: Magic Mystery Tour?; Russell Simmons battles ink by the barrel; Would it have killed her to say 'get well soon'?; no Gest room
12/12/03: Karenna defends her dad; now she tells us!; say it ain't so, Mo!; more
12/10/03: Man & wife, interruptus; pepperoni has feelings, too; more
12/05/03: The knives are out; Who's sorry now?; JWR in the news
12/04/03: The war of the gest-minnellis; something borrowed, something cashmere; fashion trendsetter, nailed!
12/03/03: Colombian grace under pressure; Lord of the Screwups; more
12/02/03: Curb your anti-Semitism?; fame fatigue?; bowing to pressure?; more
12/01/03: Dennis the Menace strikes again; first literary feud of the holiday season; Norma Jean & Hef in heaven?; the fog of McNamara; more
11/26/03: Catherine Crier raps Jacko's TV defender, refuses on-air hint of racism; At 50, Tina's in full cry; STAY OUT OF HER WAY!; more
11/25/03: The mogul strikes back?; go ahead, make Harvey's day; more
11/24/03: Georgette's pilfered baubles; prosecutor of pop?; absent but not missed?; Norman Mailer's prescription for education reform; more
11/20/03: Is a movie career in store for Maria Bartiromo?; People for the Unethical Treatment of Humans?; more
11/19/03: Scientologists on Razor's edge?; picking a winner?; source on a hot tin roof?; more
11/18/03: Clay Aiken neuters PETA?; THEM'S FIGHTIN' WORDS!; a mural for Joe
11/17/03: When networks attack!; leaky Fawcett; forget the Paris Hilton video!; more
11/13/03: Publicity hounds; Prophetic priest; Dumb and Dumber
11/12/03: Not so Rosie; do you believe in miracles?; catalogue of sins; My Heart Belongs to Koppel
11/10/03: Gen. clark on the Subway diet; life of the party; MTV's Dumb and Dumber?; the hug issue; but does the $6,000 shower curtain convey?; red faces at Buckingham palace?
11/06/03: Let them eat pita?; verbal jousting; pretenders to the throne?
11/05/03: Will Harvey Weinstein and Gregg Easterbrook now be pals?; crazed Quentin; more
11/04/03: Herding off the hipsters; more
11/03/03: Dean's tell-all on himself?; Lisaraye vs. Mya?; the odd couple; no need to panic; just don't call him "Scooter"!; Rosie scenarios
10/30/03: Autumn of the editor?; Cynthia Nixon's split may be costly; 'Burning' questions
10/29/03: Ah-nold, unauthorized!; a dilemma for Melissa Gilbert? not even Frank Gifford can help him now!; nobody wanted Elizabeth Hurley
10/28/03: It's Cher calling!; Brown Alert
10/27/03: Paparazzi uncensored!; where's Aaron Brown?; postcards from the middle; invasion of the party snatchers?; House flooded when not afire?; suspenders of disbelief?
10/23/03: Ace up Howard Dean's sleeve; Woody's ordeal; Paul Simon's kid makes good; the non-beginning of a beautiful friendship?
10/22/03: Showing the flag; Joe Frazier, smokin'!; see Carville bruised-up — sort of
10/21/03: Morris & Jaci's charm offensive; Hell hath no fury; Wintertime for Hitler
10/20/03: Isn't it rich?; men (and the occasional woman) behaving badly; peacenik John Lennon supporting the U.S. military?; courageous Connie
10/16/03: George Clooney and intolerable Drudgery; Cameron goes native; and you thought the war in Iraq was nasty?; now it can be revealed; star wars?
10/15/03: Kerik into the breach?; holiday pander?; "the Dink" corrects the record; more
10/14/03: Madge gets mad, lips are sealed; the candidates who listen; he who hesitates is Beatty
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10/09/03: Gray Davis goes to the movies; Ali Wentworth, working blue; Law & Order?; pot of gold at the end of the rainbow room?
10/08/03: Art-time for Hitler; the actress who hates movies; lying "Liam"
10/07/03: Pond scum of the rich and famous
07/24/03: Ali and George, living it up; Mel Gibson's Washington power play
07/21/03: White House smear?
07/17/03: Yet another intern scandal; it's her party and she can pay if she wants to
07/14/03: On the auction block: JFK'S boxer shorts; love bytes the maestro
07/10/03: A hairy situation at Homeland Security; Van Susteren v. Orth
06/30/03: Rep. Patrick Kennedy: I've never worked a (bleeping) day in my life; Drudge's dressing down; Ken Lay's Kerry connection
06/26/03: Rapping the beat
06/23/03: Another Watergate scandal?; AL GORE TV!
06/19/03: Tony Snow, rocker?; that won't be crow on Mr. Carlson's plate
06/16/03: Missing dog, ransom demand, Hollywood ending
06/12/03: Giving both parties the needle
06/05/03: Incoming from Barbara Bush?
06/02/03: Bob Dole's plan for fighting unemployment
05/29/03: Newt's new novel
05/27/03: Hitchens & Blumenthal, together again; He still believes in a man called Hope
05/09/03: Close, but no cigar; Romeo & Juliet with a happy ending?; Geraldo to help Heebs?
05/05/03: So Bill Gates and Tom Brokaw walk into a coffee bar . . .; hotel hell; more

© 2003, Creators Syndicate