Last night, gossip columnist Liz Smith was toasted at the Pierre Hotel by the New York Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children for her work with children’s causes. When the Daily Transom caught up with the octogenarian columnist, who was wearing a light yellow pantsuit, she was chatting with a deeply tanned Deborah Norville, who was emceeing the event. The Inside Edition host said she was going to urge Sarah Palin to donate her outfits to charity. “That’s a really good idea,” Ms. Smith drawled.
Ms. Norville, who met Ms. Smith during her first stint at CBS, said there was no record of the Vice Presidential candidate ever giving something to charity. “It’s just one of the many things we don’t know about her,” she said. “Actually, her tax papers revealed her and her husband gave a small amount to charity, and their income-” she looked around the room-“is probably different from anyone else’s in this room, so it would be much smaller. But it could be significant for her family.”
She added: “People ask about Sarah Palin’s clothes. Excuse my French, I don’t give a rat’s you-know-what about her clothes. I care about America. What are they going to do with my health care?” she said. “My kids make fun of me because I buy 48 rolls of toilet paper. I love the feeling of never being without. And I love to clean my closets.”
“Your children must be grown by now!” Ms. Smith interjected. “I remember seeing them way back.”
After Ms. Norville walked away, Ms. Smith gestured to the Daily Transom. “Slide over here so I can hear you.” Nearby a sax was being played nearby along a grand piano. Former ad man Peter Rogers, who appeared to have been born in a tux, came over and offered to get her a glass of wine. Liz pulled his head to hers and sang, “He Vas my Boyfriend.” Then they did an adorable duet.
The Daily Transom wanted to know the gentleman’s occupation. “Nothing,” he said and laughed.
“Oh, Peter’s independently wealthy and he paints wonderful portraits,” said Ms. Smith. “He used to be an ad man in the ’60s.” What did he think of Mad Men? “I don’t like it,” said Mr. Rogers. “I had enough of it back then, and anyway it was nothing like that. I only did luxury.”
“Don’t listen to him, what does he know?” said Ms. Smith. “I love the show.”
Then the Daily Transom moved on to our mutual stock in trade: gossip. “What gossip?” asked Ms. Smith. “There is none anymore. There hasn’t been a good gossip story in years. It’s all politics now.” She continued: “I don’t think that really paid off for me,” she said, referring to the New York Post, where her column runs. “They don’t appreciate me.” What of her colleague, Cindy Adams? “We’re too old to have rivals, and she’s terribly funny.” She repeated “terribly funny.” Then she said she was tired of using emails because of all the confusion over pronouns. “Now I just call people and say ‘what do you mean?'”