Audrey Hepburn’s granddaughter explains how late Hollywood star is still inspiring her

Emma Hepburn Ferrer is determined to keep the legacy of her grandmother, Audrey Hepburn, alive. Closer Weekly recently reported the 24-year-old, who was born in Switzerland a year after the Hollywood icon passed away in 1993, is following in her footsteps with philanthropy work. “I’ve started to realize how meaningful it is to me,” Ferrer … Continue reading “Audrey Hepburn’s granddaughter explains how late Hollywood star is still inspiring her”

Emma Hepburn Ferrer is determined to keep the legacy of her grandmother, Audrey Hepburn, alive.

Closer Weekly recently reported the 24-year-old, who was born in Switzerland a year after the Hollywood icon passed away in 1993, is following in her footsteps with philanthropy work.

“I’ve started to realize how meaningful it is to me,” Ferrer said in the magazine’s latest issue. “I really do want to be of the people.”

Before her death at age 63, Hepburn served as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) and traveled extensively to Africa and Latin America. She visited Ethiopia during its historic drought to raise awareness on the plight of starving children and it was shortly after her trip to Somalia that she was diagnosed with cancer.

During her final years, Hepburn focused more on raising money for UNICEF and less on acting. Her last screen role was in 1989’s “Always,” a Steven Spielberg film where she made a cameo as an angel.

Ferrer said her father, Sean Ferrer, always told her stories about the grandmother she never met.

“He taught me from early on that she was not just this celebrity — she was super self-less and generous and went out of her way to make a kind gesture,” she said. “That’s something in her life I try to keep alive.”

And Ferrer has learned plenty of secrets about the glamorous screen siren who captivated audiences on the big screen during the ‘50s and ‘60s.

“She was really funny — everyone who knew her says she had a wicked sense of humor,” said Ferrer. “That’s not something I necessarily would’ve expected.”

And Ferrer always has Hepburn in mind. In fact, Closer Weekly shared she cherishes the mementos she inherited from Hepburn, including a gold heart necklace, her signature turtlenecks and a teddy bear.

Emma Ferrer at Tiffany’s. (Getty)

“If she’s looking down, she’d be most proud of [my work with UNICEF],” said Ferrer. “We all have these celebrities associated with causes now, but that wasn’t the case before her.”

Despite having Hepburn for a grandmother, Ferrer lived her life away from Hollywood. The New York Post previously reported she grew up in relative anonymity in Los Angeles and Italy, where she studied art and learned to speak Italian, French and Spanish.

In 2014, she was discovered by Harper’s Bazaar editor Glenda Bailey through a colleague and was put on the cover of her magazine’s prestigious September issue. She soon was signed by Storm Agency,

Hepburn’s willingness to help others in need may have stemmed from her childhood. In 2017, her son Luca Dotti told People magazine Hepburn survived starvation during World War II, which her family believed may have contributed to her thinness.

The movie star, who was the daughter of a Dutch baroness and a British father who left the family when she was just 6 years old, struggled to survive in Holland when Germany occupied the country, which began when she was 11.

“By the end of the war, she was very close to death,” explained Dotti. “She survived by eating nettles and tulip bulbs and drinking water to fill her stomach. She was almost 5’6” and weighed 88 pounds. She had jaundice and edema. She suffered from anemia for the rest of her life, possibly as a consequence… She was the same age as Anne Frank and [later] said, ‘That was the girl who didn’t make it and I did.’ Her voice would crack, and her eyes would fill with tears.”

Throughout her life, Hepburn, who was 5’7”, weighed 110 pounds. Christie's, which prepared the family’s first-ever auction of her personal collection of dresses, had to order mannequins with a 22-inch waist.

‘Superman’ producer Ilya Salkind reveals secrets from the set: Christopher Reeve had to gain 40 lbs. of muscle

Executive producer Ilya Salkind would never have guessed that his childhood comic book hero would ultimately define his career.

He was 31 years old when he was given the chance to bring "Superman" to the big screen for the first time — and that was the 1978 hit that would transform Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder into box office sensations.

A true superhero fan, 71-year-old Salkind recently attended the Hollywood Museum in support of its current exhibition “Superhero Legends,” which honors the Man of Steel and other iconic figures from cinema and comic book history.

He also recently spoke with Fox News about all things “Superman” and didn't hesitate to share his secrets from the set.

'Zorro' inspired Salkind to produce ‘Superman’

“I was walking in Paris and there was a movie about Zorro,” he explained. “And that gave me the idea to do a comic-book movie. I had read Superman as a kid, but somehow that idea just came out.”

Actress Margot Kidder shown in a scene from the 1978 movie "Superman" with Christopher Reeve. (Warner Bros.)

Ilya Salkind pushed for a ‘Superman’ movie

Salkind had wrapped up working behind-the-scenes in 1974’s “The Four Musketeers” when he was brainstorming for ideas on a new film to work on alongside his father, film producer Alexander Salkind, over dinner. “I said out of the blue, ‘Why don’t we do Superman?’" Salkind recalled. “My father didn’t know at all what Superman was. I said, ‘He flies, he has powers.’ And he said, ‘Oh, that sounds interesting. Let me talk to my backers about the idea.'" The following day, Salkind’s father gave him the green light to make the film happen.

Sylvester Stallone wanted to become Clark Kent

While Salkind was impressed by Stallone’s performance in 1976’s “Rocky” during a screening before the film was premiered to the public, he just didn’t think the actor would work as the Man of Steel. “He wanted to do it,” said Salkind. “He absolutely wanted to do it. But he just wasn’t right for the part. ‘Hey yo, Louis!’ It wasn’t Superman.”

Sylvester Stallone and Brigitte Nielsen attend the 15th Annual American Film Institute (AFI) Lifetime Achievement Award Salute to Barbara Stanwyck on April 9, 1987 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. (Getty)

Many stars were considered for Superman

Salkind revealed that DC Comics, which owns the rights to Superman and approved a film adaptation, also had a wish list of actors they approved for the leading role. “They had people like Al Pacino and Dustin Hoffman who were approved, but they were totally wrong for the role,” said Salkind. “Stallone was approved too by the way. Robert Redford, Clint Eastwood — they both turned it down. We also tested Bruce Jenner, but he was just not a good actor. He didn’t have any acting experience. So we didn’t take him."

Christopher Reeve was an unknown

While Reeve is hailed today as a Hollywood legend, he was a relatively unknown actor looking for his first big break when he auditioned for the role. At this point, Salkind was looking for a newcomer and had even considered the dentist of his first wife, “Fantasy Island” star Skye Aubrey, who ultimately wasn’t a right fit. Reeve, who was a towering 6’4”, seemed promising for the superhero role, except he still had plenty of work to do. “He read the part of Superman and Clark Kent and it was fantastic,” said Salkind. “But he was very, very skinny. Too skinny. So we went on to test many others.”

Christopher Reeve posing for shot; circa 1970. (Getty)

Reeve made a major transformation

After numerous actors tried out for the role of Superman, Salkind still didn’t have his leading man. However, Reeve’s performance left a lasting impression on him, one he couldn’t deny. “We couldn’t find anybody,” said Salkind. “So I said, ‘Look, let’s have Reeve work out.’ So we flew him back to London and he did the test in costume. He was fantastic again. So we said, ‘Alright, but can you bulk up?’ He said yes and started to work out incredibly. English bodybuilder David Prowse, who physically portrayed Darth Vader in 1977’s “Star Wars,” was chosen to train Reeve, who began eating up to six meals a day. “He gained about 40 pounds of muscle,” said Salkind. “He totally changed.”

‘Superman’ had a completely different director

“We originally had Guy Hamilton, who did ‘Goldfinger,’” said Salkind. “He was in Rome, where we were filming at first, but he couldn’t stay because he had a tax problem. So he had to leave every week to Paris. After a few weeks, he was just too tired and couldn’t take it anymore. So then we took [director] Richard Donner.”

American actor Marlon Brando with British actress Susannah York. — Getty

Marlon Brando was difficult — at first

Salkind was overjoyed when Brando, who was at the height of his career with 1972’s “The Godfather” and “Last Tango in Paris,” agreed to take on the role of Jor-El, Superman’s biological father. However, he didn’t make things easy for the film’s producers at first. “When we met him in Los Angeles to discuss his costume, he went on completely different topics about [Native Americans] and all kinds of things,” explained Salkind. “Then at that point, Brando said he should play Jor-El as a green suitcase. I almost had a heart attack.

"I thought that was it, this is the end, it’s over. This man is crazy and he’s going to destroy the movie. He went on and on about this green suitcase. Then it became the green bagel. And finally, he said, ‘What do you think?’ He was really testing Donner to see if he would go along with it. But of course, Donner said no. Donner said, ‘Everyone knows Marlon Brando and that’s the person everyone wants to see.’ Brandon said, ‘You may be right.’ And from there he was absolutely perfect.”

Leslie Ann Warren and Stockard Channing tried out for Lois Lane

When it came to finding an actress who could embody brunette beauty and scrappy reporter Lois Lane, Salkind said Leslie Ann Warren was originally considered for the part, and that she was tested at the same time as Stockard Channing. While Warren seemed like a possibility, Channing was not. “We thought Channing looked too much like the mother of Superman,” said Salkind. However, a clumsy actress named Margot Kidder auditioned for the role and Salkind was quickly moved. “She was absolutely fantastic,” said Salkind. “She created her own Lois Lane. There’s no question that it would have been very hard to get a better Lois Lane.”

Margot Kidder (Getty)

Making Superman fly was a whole new challenge

Salkind and his crew were determined to make Reeve’s flying scenes, which were crucial to the film’s success, as lifelike as possible. Reeve and Kidder were supported by a harness, but it delivered a whole new set of problems. “Reeve was very disciplined,” said Salkind. “He was on it for hours and hours. Kidder hated it. She didn’t like to be in the harness at all. She thought it was uncomfortable and just wasn’t into the height situation.” Salkind added that back then, computer-generated imagery (CGI) wasn’t available, so they also relied on wires and trampolines. The cast even had to leave Rome and film in London, where Salkind found “the best technicians” to help him make Superman fly. “Funny enough, the movie got an Oscar for special effects,” he said.

Reeve remained grateful

Salkind said Reeve was not only completely dedicated to the role of Superman, but he was willing to do whatever it took to make the film a success. “He was always on time,” he said. “He would do retakes as many times as he had to. When the film was announced, there was a lot of press. But he remained very confident about his performance. He did whatever it took to promote the film. He was very nice to the press and never refused an interview."

Christopher Reeve in "Superman." (Getty)

The cast stayed in touch

Salkind said he stayed in touch with the cast even after “Superman” premiered in 1978. “I last saw Margot Kidder in a few conventions a couple of years ago,” he said. “She was very sweet. Brando and I actually did another film together, [1992’s] "Christopher Columbus: The Discovery." Reeve and I were very, very close. Usually, producers and actors have a working relationship, but it’s pretty rare for it to stay friendly. But he and I were very good friends. I was devastated when he [later] had his accident.”

Salkind isn’t impressed by today’s Superman

British actor Henry Cavill stirred headlines for recently becoming the new Superman, but Salkind just isn’t impressed by his rendition. “‘Superman Returns’ — that was pretty average,” he said. “I thought it was wrong because it was trying to be too much like Batman. He killed and did things Superman does not do. Superman never kills.”

‘Home Improvement’ star Patricia Richardson explains why she left hit series

Patricia Richardson, who once starred as beloved matriarch Jill Taylor on “Home Improvement,” said she has no regrets leaving the hit series behind.

“The reason I turned down the ninth year of ‘Home Improvement’ was that I was a single parent and away from my kids too much,” the 67-year-old recently told Closer Weekly.

“I left the show, and I have to put my children first since then,” added Richardson, who is a real-life mom to 33-year-old son Henry Baker, as well as 27-year-old twins Roxanne and Joseph Baker. “That’s why I’ve kept quitting the business: to be with them.”

The magazine added Richardson also turned down the $30 million offer to care for her ailing parents.

Patricia Richardson today. — Getty

“I also passed up on another show that won, like, 30 Emmys,” she said. “But I don’t mean to sound like, ‘Oh, I sacrificed this huge thing for my children,’ because it’s what I wanted. Granted, it’s what they needed, but it was also what I needed because I missed them terribly. ‘Home Improvement’ had much longer days than most sitcoms. Because I was involved in all the writing, I was away from them more than I wanted and felt I missed so many things.”

“Home Improvement” told the tale of Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor, a television host raising three sons with the help of his loyal co-host, his loving wife and their eccentric neighbor. It starred Tim Allen, Earl Hindman and Richard Karn, among others. The sitcom aired from 1991 until 1999.

Richardson told the publication she has fond memories of the show.

“Tim and I were always cracking each other up,” she explained. “We came up with so much of what you saw on the set every day. There was the time that Tim was throwing potatoes around at the male crew members and hit a female camerawoman in the face, so that became kind of a joke.

"Home Improvement" circa 1991. — Getty

“I got hit in the head with a football more than once because it took so long for Disney to give the kids an outdoor space to play that was safe — and they weren’t that good at it! It was just a fun set, and we really were a family.”

However, Richardson admitted she wasn’t comfortable with being a celebrity during the height of the show’s popularity.

“I really hated fame,” she said. [Co-star] Jonathan Taylor Thomas and I had similar reactions — he backed off, too, and went to school. I didn’t do charity events because I was desperate for time with my kids and husband, who was always mad I was never home. Hence the divorce.

“[And] when I had to [co-host] the [1994] Emmys, it was the worst day of my life. I was terrified. I was so stupid! In theater school, nobody ever talked to us about having to sell yourself. So I really backed off to a great extent, and I essentially killed my career.”

It wasn’t just Richardson’s fame that came to a sudden halt. She and then-husband, Ray Baker, called it quits in 1995 after 13 years together.

Despite leaving behind “Home Improvement,” Richardson still found ways to act in front of cameras but became selective with her roles. It wouldn’t be until 2002 when she appeared as a recurring character on “Strong Medicine.”

“They gave me a four-day-week, three-year contract, so I knew I wouldn’t have to commit for a long time,” said Richardson. “At that point, I had my kids four days a week, [Ray] had them three days, so there was only one day when I was working and had them. I did that show for three years, but then we changed the custody agreement and it got rough, so I left.”

In 2005, Richardson was offered the role of Sheila Brooks on another TV show, “The West Wing.” What should have been a short gig of only filming a couple of episodes turned into a two-year job.

Patricia Richardson (right) alongside Nancy Travis and Tim Allen on "Last Man Standing." — Getty

“I was leaving a six in the morning and never had live-in help, so that got really hard,” she said. “After ‘West Wing,’ I decided to leave the business for four years until my kids got out of high school to be with them. Then when my last one went to college, I had been out of the business for so many years. It was very hard to get back in.”

Richardson enjoyed a brief reunion with Allen, now 65, when she guest-starred on his current sitcom, “Last Man Standing,” in 2015 and 2016. The series, which first premiered in 2011, is based on a married father of three [Allen] who tries to maintain his manliness in a world increasingly dominated by women.

It’s uncertain whether Richardson will return for future episodes.

“When I went to do the show, he would think it was so weird,” she explained. “He’d do a bedroom scene with Nancy [Travis], then I was on the set and his real wife would be out in the audience. He was so confused.”

And while the former TV couple still has love for each other, their separate lives have made it difficult for them to stay in touch.

“I travel a lot and he does, too,” she said. “He is very dedicated to Nancy Travis, who is the nicest person in the world, and he has his own real wife, so what’s he going to do hanging around with me?”


But these days, Richardson is keeping busy. She is currently appearing in the new Lifetime film “A Christmas in Tennessee” where she gets to return to her musical roots. The film explores how a baker (Rachel Boston) unites the people of her small mountain town to stop a real estate developer. Richardson plays the 36-year-old’s mother.

“My first job in New York was [on Broadway in 1974’s] ‘Gypsy,’ and then I didn’t work for a year,” said Richardson. “If you did musicals, they sort of didn’t take you seriously as an actor. I’m not that great of a singer, but I can belt! Growing up we moved a lot, and we were always in the church choir. I was also in school choruses, so I grew up singing with people and that’s still my favorite thing to do.”

Despite the many twists and turns of her acting career, Richardson said she wouldn’t have had it any other way.

“Every once in a while I’ll laugh, but when I’m laying on my deathbed, will I be sorry that I wasn’t on that show that won 30 Emmys, but I have a good relationship with my three children and see them all the time? No,” she said. “Granted, I’ve been far from the perfect parent, but I didn’t have perfect modeling and kind of had to relearn parenting to a great extent.”

John Wayne’s son recalls growing up with ‘The Duke’: ‘He knew he wasn’t going to be around when I was older’

Ethan Wayne said a day at his friend’s house made him realized his father was different.

The now-56-year-old is the youngest son of late Hollywood legend John Wayne and Peruvian actress Pilar Pallete, his third and last wife. He’s currently the president of John Wayne Enterprises and director of the John Wayne Cancer Foundation. This year, he helped release a bourbon based on the patriarch’s own recipe.

“I can remember going to a friend’s house and his mom said, ‘Hey Brian, go get the mail,’” recalled Wayne. “I went out and there were three envelopes. I remember going, ‘That’s all the mail you got? That’s weird.’ The US postal service would drag those canvas bags with lots of mail to my house. It was strange.”

(John Wayne Enterprises)

Despite Wayne having an iconic movie star for a father, he described his childhood as normal — one that involved living in then-small town Newport Beach, Calif. with other families in the same neighborhood, surrounded by oranges and strawberry farms.

There were no security or bodyguards. John answered his own door and telephone. He was an early riser who exercised alongside his son and studied his scripts before heading to work. He often spent his free time on his boat, admiring the great sea he loved. He would catch his own fish and cook it on the beach, as well as interact with locals.

John was 56 when Ethan was born — and he made sure his son never forgot to do chores around the house.

(John Wayne Enterprises)

“I can’t pick up a broom to this day without thinking about him coming out and saying, ‘That’s not how you sweep, this is how you sweep!’” chuckled Wayne. “And it was with this big push broom. And he wasn’t very mechanical. He was great with his gun, he was great on a horse and he handled boats really well. But if a car got a flat tire, he’d just leave it. And I was very mechanical as a young boy for some reason. I really enjoyed taking stuff apart and putting it back together. He really didn’t get it. He didn’t like motorcycles, and I did.”

Wayne said that despite his father’s high-profile career, John, who was aware he might be gone by the time his son was a young man, was determined to be a hands-on parent. Wayne described growing up on film sets and learning about the hard work it took to bring Hollywood to life.

“He took with me on location,” Wayne explained. “I’d be homeschooled down on location in Mexico because he knew he wasn’t going to be around for me when I was older, and that he would probably lose me while I was young, teenage man. So he took me with him when I was little. And one of my jobs was to load the car with all the personal items that he wanted with him when he would make a film somewhere remote. Or if he went on his boat, the Wild Goose.

(John R. Hamilton / John Wayne Enterprises)

"He would take his own bourbon, and that bourbon was the heaviest thing that I would carry. Everyone wanted to have a drink with John Wayne. I would also carry his packs of candy, special food items, shoes, gloves, jackets. Definitely bags of hats.”

In his lifetime, John or “The Duke,” as he was called by fans, made more than 200 films in over 50 years. According to The New York Times, by the early 1960s, 161 of his films had grossed $350 million, and when he died in 1979 he had been paid as much as $666,000 to make a movie.

As an avid outdoorsman, both in front and behind the camera, he is still celebrated as one of the greatest figures of the Western genre.

“I was 10 when he was 66 years old,” said Wayne. “[And] he’s on a horse, he’s running at full speed across open country, with a herd of horses running with him… he was a bold, outgoing individual who was full of life, constantly moving forward… And nobody sits on a horse like John Wayne does.”

(John Wayne Enterprises)

Wayne wasn’t around when the Iowa native, a former football star in high school who worked as a truck driver, fruit picker, soda jerk and ice hauler, first embarked on his career as an actor. However, Wayne said the rugged persona he embodied on screen was very much the real deal.

“I read stories [of] when he was first starting out and how he was very uncomfortable and felt awkward,” said Wayne. “He didn’t like the way he moved, so he talked to John Ford and met Wyatt Earp… He started taking pieces of these guys and putting them together into a character that became John Wayne, who was definitely part of my father. There was also fantasy. He was a heck of a gunman and a horseman, but he also certainly knew the craft of film and storytelling. We were never in a gunfight.”

(John Wayne Enterprises)

John passed away at age 72 from cancer. Wayne, who was 17 at the time of his father’s death, said he drove John to UCLA Medical Center when he wasn’t feeling well. John never came out alive.

Before his death, John stressed to his family that the doctors attempting to find a cure for cancer should never be forgotten. He left behind seven children from his marriages and more than 15 grandchildren.

(John R. Hamilton / John Wayne Enterprises)

Wayne credited stuntman Gary McLarty, a friend of his father’s, for taking him under his wing and helping him cope with his grief.

“He would take me on a motorcycle ride or racing sometimes,” said Wayne. “He was [later] the stunt coordinator for ‘The Blues Brothers.’ And for some reason, he hired me. And it was in a time when I’d missed the last part of my junior year with my dad. When my father was involved in my life, I was good at school and things went well. But afterward, I wasn’t very focused on school… [Gary] gave me a little direction that I didn’t have. I’m eternally grateful to him. It probably kept me from making some mistakes.”

(John R. Hamilton / John Wayne Enterprises)

John recently lassoed in headlines for a completely different reason. In 2016, The Guardian reported California lawmakers rejected a proposal to create John Wayne Day to mark his birthday after several legislators described statements he made about racial minorities.

Wayne said he was also aware of negative statements made against his father due to him being politically conservative. He insisted John’s beliefs have been misunderstood over the years.

(John Wayne Enterprises)

“He wanted to work with people who earned their place,” Wayne explained. “He didn’t think anybody should get a job because he was a man, because she was a woman, because they were gay, because they were straight, because they were Chinese, African-American or Mexican. He thought you should get a job because you were the right person to do that job. Because you had skill and talent and you would show up and get the job done. He didn’t care what you were.

“Somebody, a Latina representative up in Sacramento, shot down a bill for John Wayne Day because he was racist. [But] he was married to three Latin women. It’s just crazy how things get blown out of proportion because he was really an open, caring, loyal, supportive man.”

Wayne hopes his father will be remembered for what he was — an artist.

(John Wayne Enterprises)

“People look at him and they think one thing or another, but he was out there representing real people,” said Wayne. “Whether they were guys who came out here and lived in the West or went to war. He played those characters. He represented them. And they liked him. They still do.”

Joely Fisher says dad Eddie Fisher wrote apology letter for exposing her to drug abuse: ‘He wanted to be loved’

To the world, Eddie Fisher was the matinee idol with smooth-as-silk vocals who captivated screen sirens. But to Joely Fisher, he was just dad.

The actress who was born into one of Hollywood’s most famous families recently chronicled her life story in a memoir titled “Growing Up Fisher." The book is currently available in paperback.

The 51-year-old is the daughter of Fisher and actress Connie Stevens. Her half-sister is late “Star Wars” icon Carrie Fisher, whose mother was America’s sweetheart Debbie Reynolds. Fisher married Stevens in 1967, a few years after he and Elizabeth Taylor called it quits in 1964. The union ended in 1969.

Joely told Fox News she truly got to know the man, not the crooner, in her teenage years.

Eddie Fisher in 1953. (Getty)

“I got to know an Eddie that was charming, charismatic and really wanted love like the rest of us,” said Joely. “He was enamored with his grandchildren by the time he got to meet all of our children. I sort of say I got the best of him. Maybe each of us would say the same thing about our dad, but I really feel like Joely had the best relationship with Eddie.”

Life with the singer wasn’t always so blissful. In her book, Joely chronicled how she witnessed her father’s addictions as a toddler.

“I had a baby’s-eye view of my own father tying off, prepping a needle and injecting drugs into his veins,” she wrote, as reported by People magazine late last year. “I was propped up in an inappropriate proximity to my papa.”

Joely admitted that as a child, she didn’t realize what she was witnessing and Fisher didn’t purposely expose his personal struggles in front of his daughter. However, Fisher himself would express regret for what Joely saw growing up.

Joely Fisher with her father.  (Courtesy of Joely Fisher)

People magazine noted Fisher struggled with drug addiction for almost four decades before finally getting clean with the support of his fifth wife Betty Lin. He passed away in 2010 at age 82.

“I think it’s wrong on so many levels to be exposed to all of that as a child,” said Joely. “But everybody has their flaws and I think that his were just giant ones… I found this letter where he was asking in a fatherly way as much as he could for my forgiveness for what I was witnessing, so I know that I did see it.”

Joely said she wanted Fisher to be remembered for more than the public scandals and high-profile romances.

“He was bleak, he was charming and had to have been all of those things or he wouldn’t have gotten the most gorgeous creatures to marry him on this planet,” she explained. “He grew up singing for his supper, quite literally. He started singing on the radio at 12, 13 years old. Supported his family and realized when he opened his mouth to sing, people loved him… Maybe he needed love, and he got it from being a performer and people adored him.

Joely Fisher with her parents at Emerson College.  (Courtesy of Joely Fisher)

“I think there’s a little something that’s dangerous in that. And then you don’t think that anything else that you have to give is enough… He was like anybody else. He wanted to be loved, and I think that there was something vulnerable about that, that I got to know. Maybe that’s what people thought, that he was a womanizer and a gambler and all those things. Maybe he very well was all those things. But he was also just a man.”

Joely revealed that her parents’ marriage was tumultuous. In her book, she wrote, “Connie came home one day and found Eddie in bed with two Swedish girls. As she tells it, she left — in her sequined gown — with a baby on each hip and a diaper bag slung over her shoulder. She left Eddie Fisher behind and started to create what would be our own family.”

Joely went on to have an unconventional upbringing with the blonde bombshell who originally captivated Elvis Presley. She recounted rolling joints for her mother when she was growing up.

“I think I made a joke, ‘Who didn’t roll joints with their mom?’ Obviously many, many people,” chuckled Joely. “… People in the entertainment industry were recreationally using marijuana. So it wasn’t like, ‘Here kids, come in here and let me teach you how to roll a joint.’ … It was out in the open. It wasn’t looked as taboo… She would be doing her thing and the curiosity is what brought me in. I was like, ‘Let me watch what she’s doing.’ And she was like, ‘Do you want to try it?’ … But by the way, I didn’t smoke it, I just put it in the paper and rolled it up.”

Connie Stevens in 1967.  (Getty)

The family’s next-door neighbors turned out to be Reynolds and her two children, Carrie and Todd. Joely insisted her father’s two ex-wives got along just fine.

“I think they just bonded over overcoming their experiences, and being great broads, and being tremendous mothers,” she explained. “They loved the idea that we children had found a relationship that transcended any kind of s— that you hear about in the tabloids… We walked out onto the deck in Malibu and my mom says, ‘Where’s the a—— who has the swimming pool on the beach?’ And the real estate lady laughs and said, ‘Debbie Reynolds.’ And then we bought the house… [These women] came from nothing and built great families, great careers and great friendships. I don’t think they ever sat down and had a gabfest about Eddie… They didn’t need to.”

Joely added Stevens, now 80, has never said a negative word about her father.

“She actually described him as ‘delicious,’” said Joely.

(Courtesy of Joely Fisher)

Joely said she quickly bonded with Carrie, whom she still misses “desperately.” The fellow actress passed away in 2016 at age 60. According to People Magazine, the star, who candidly discussed her own struggles with drug abuse and mental illness over the years, had cocaine and heroin in her system when she died. Reynolds passed away a day later at age 84 from a stroke.

“I still mourn,” admitted Joely. “Like almost every day. I loved that Carrie thought that I was smart. And she thought that I was talented and that I got the good stuff from the Fisher DNA. I miss that. I miss being included in that. I miss parties at her house, where we would all hold court, lay on the bed and super, duper famous friends would come in and out. But really, what I loved was that we had this amazing, complex, sweet relationship.

“We all miss her… She’s missing on the planet and I think that’s a difficult thing to grieve when the whole world is grieving as well. It’s been almost two years and not a day goes by that I don’t want to pick up the phone or text her… It’s really, really tough. It’s really a hard pill to swallow.”

These days, Joely is focusing on the future. She’s been married to cinematographer Christopher Duddy since 1996 and is also hands-on mom to three daughters.

Carrie Fisher prepping her daughter Billie for Joely Fisher’s wedding. (Courtesy of Joely Fisher)

But looking back, Joely said she couldn’t imagine a life without her celebrity parents.

“I did feel like we were in a fishbowl,” she said. “I did feel like we were constantly under scrutiny. I did feel the loss of my father, part of my childhood. I did reconcile that. I did know this famous guy, for being so talented, and for his infamy. For his scandals. And Connie, she was radiant and incandescent. She would light up a room… But I also saw she was a single mom. And she had a tumultuous marriage that didn’t work out but produced two children and that was her focus.

“Now that doesn’t mean she didn’t go on the road, work her ass off and had her own love affairs. She really included us in possibly too much for some people’s pace. Maybe it was a little too much, but we were really like a trio… We were allowed to express ourselves and she encouraged creativity. She also loved us so much…. I was an observer. But a keen observer.”

Ronnie Spector says ex-husband Phil Spector once adopted twins without asking her

Ronnie Spector will never forget the moment her then-husband, celeb music producer Phil Spector, gave her the news he had adopted a set of twins without asking her.

“We were in the car and all of a sudden we pull up to the mansion and there’s a fountain and there are these twins running around — these blond-haired, blue-eyed twins,” the singer told People magazine Wednesday. “I’m saying, ‘What’s this?’ He said, ‘Merry Christmas!’”

Spector, 75, was suddenly the mother of Gary and Louis, who are now 52. The boys ended up being raised by their adoptive father after the couple's divorce in 1974.

“He never said, ‘Ronnie, what do you think we should do? Should we adopt twins?’ Nothing!” said the pop star. “Everything was a surprise, and no woman wants live children as a surprise. That’s when my mother came along.”

Spector, born Veronica Bennett, first met the music hit-maker, now 78, when he took her girl group the Ronettes (Spector, sister Estelle Bennett and cousin Nedra Talley) under his wing at the beginning of their career. Spector was 17 and Phil was 24 when they first met. The band quickly became a sensation with the release of 1963’s “Be My Baby.”

Ronnie and Phil tied the knot in 1968 — and everything went downhill from there. According to the magazine, the Ronettes disbanded and Phil kept Spector as a prisoner in their own Beverly Hills mansion, which he surrounded with barbed wire and guard dogs.

Ronnie was able to escape from Phil in 1972 with the help of her mom, Beatrice.

“She said, ‘I’m your mother and I’m telling you, we gotta get out of here. Or you, my little girl, are going to be gone,’” Ronnie said.

Phil Spector is currently serving a sentence of 19 years to life after being convicted in 2009 killing actress Lana Clarkson.

Meanwhile, Ronnie Spector moved back to her native New York soon after the divorce and kept her stage name.

She enjoyed a musical comeback in the ‘70s and sang on the 1983 Eddie Money track “Take Me Home Tonight.” In 1982, she married producer Jonathan Greenfield, who originally attended one of her comeback concerts as “a smitten teen.” The couple shares two sons — 36-year-old Austin and 35-year-old Jason.”

Ronnie Spector’s past hasn’t stopped her from pursuing her love of music. She is currently headlining a holiday tour across the country and will be hitting the road with the Ronettes in 2019. She also doesn’t think twice about giving no-nonsense advice to other women in need.

“I would tell any woman, if you are in a bad relationship, you have to find someone – like my mother,” she explained. “If it’s not your mother, your best friend. One person has to help you.

“It was so dark back in those days. Now I feel free to be able to tell other women. Maybe not every woman will listen to me, but some will and I [hope] I can get one or two to save their [own] lives or save them from getting abused.”

This isn’t the first time Spector has spoken candidly about her tumultuous marriage to Phil.

Back in 2014, Spector told The Telegraph that after their marriage, Phil pulled her from the limelight and imprisoned her. She was only allowed to leave once a month “to go get my feminine stuff if you catch my drift” and if she was gone for 20 minutes he’d send a bodyguard. He also reportedly screamed at her so violently, she became mute.


“The last year of my marriage I didn’t talk at all,” she told the UK-based publication. “Because if I said anything he’d yell at me, so why say anything? I was a scared little girl from Spanish Harlem living in this mansion with five servants, not knowing what to do with any of it. I cried every night I was married.”

Spector added that once her worried mother paid a visit, the two stayed up “for three days and nights” planning her escape.

At the time, she vividly described what it was about Phil that made her fall in love with him.

“First, I fell in love with his coolness,” she explained. “He was very cool. Always had one hand in his pocket. And he had a cute butt. I loved his tush, he had the cutest tush. The way he handled the band — he’s a guy, 24 years old, yet he’s telling married men with children what to do? That turned me on so much. I fell in love with that power.”

And there was also that magnetic connection through song.

“When he would write those songs and I’d be sitting on the piano next to him… oh, my heart… it was magic,” she said.

Still, Spector stressed, “The more he tried to destroy me, the stronger I got. It made me think, ‘How dare you, you don’t own me.’”

Associated Press contributed to this report.

Michael J. Fox recalls the moment he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease: ‘It freaked me out’

At age 29, Michael J. Fox received devastating news when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

“Honestly, my first reaction was, ‘You’ve made a mistake — you’re not aware of who I am,'” the actor admitted to Closer Weekly. “I just thought, ‘This is preposterous that this is happening to me.’ I got this diagnosis, and it freaked me out, and I ran from it.”

The Parkinson’s Foundation describes the disease as a neurodegenerative disorder that slowly develops symptoms over the years. Those with PD may experience tremors, balance problems and limb rigidity, among other side effects. The cause of PD is relatively unknown and there is no cure. However, treatment options vary and can include medications and surgery.

The “Back to the Future Star” shared he coped with the news by turning to alcohol.

“I responded by drinking too much,” he said. “I drank to obliterate it, to make it go away. [But the abuse] caused tension in my marriage, which had always been good and has been amazing since.”

Fox has been married to actress Tracy Pollan since 1988 and the couple shares four children. The 58-year-old was determined to stay by Fox’s side.

“My wife is just an amazing person,” said Fox. “I credit her with a lot of my ability to deal with this — and also shutting down my early attempts to deal with it in a non-productive way by drinking or getting angry.”

The magazine added Fox’s children have also been supportive as well.

“If I were to use one word to describe my kids, it’s ‘kind,’” said Fox. “They take it in — it’s just natural. I don’t know how we got so lucky that they turned out this way, but they apply that to everything they do. They didn’t get anxiety from [my disease]. They got peace from it, and it’s kept them honest. They pour orange juice for me. It’s great. You understand there’s bigger stuff going on than just yourself.”

Fox was initially frightened by the revelation, but at age 57, he refuses to let the illness prevent him from enjoying his life. These days, he prefers to live in the moment.

Tracy Pollan and Michael J. Fox at the 2017 Vanity Fair Oscar party. (Reuters)

“It’s OK to understand where I am today, but I don’t have to spend a lot of time thinking about where I’ll be tomorrow,” said the “Back to The Future” movie star. “I do the things I need to do — exercise or manage my meds correctly or get the correct amount of rest — but I don’t do them so tomorrow’s better. I do them so today is good.”

These days, Fox hopes to inspire others with Parkinson’s and show them they too can live life to the fullest.

“Somebody said, ‘Someday, there’s going to be a cure for Parkinson’s, and it’s gonna be because of you,’” he said. “It was the first time that really struck me. If that happens, it’s much more special than any movie or TV show.”

This isn’t the first time, Fox has opened up about how his diagnosis impacted him behind closed doors. Fox told People magazine earlier this year he first realized something was wrong in 1990 when he woke up one morning and noticed his left pinkie was twitching uncontrollably. It wouldn’t be until 1991 when a neurologist told Fox he had young onset Parkinson’s.

Fox said that after he broke the news to Pollan, they held each other and cried. He then resorted to alcohol as an attempt to numb the pain and hid the empty bottles from his wife at home.


Then in 1992, Pollan and their then 3-year-old son Sam found Fox passed out on the living room sofa with a can of beer spilling on the rug next to him. That drink would be the last for Fox.

The publication added Fox got sober and began seeing a therapist to help him accept a new life with Parkinson’s.

Life then became sweeter for Fox, who welcomed twin daughters Aquinnah and Schuyler in 1995, and then Esme in 2001.

“It’s very easy to be optimistic,” said Fox. “This is my life. What is there to complain about?”

Eric Clapton was determined to stay sober after his son’s tragic death, book claims

An unspeakable tragedy tore Eric Clapton's life in pieces when his 4-year-old son Conor fell off a 53rd-floor apartment in New York City in March 1991.

The boy, who was dressed in his red pajamas and slippers, landed on the roof of a four-story neighboring building. According to police, the 6-feet-wide window, which wasn’t protected by a railing guard, was left open by a cleaner. Conor reportedly darted past the housekeeper toward the window.

British biographer Philip Norman recently penned the book “Slowhand: The Life and Music of Eric Clapton,” which includes a section with horrific details of the death that would haunt the English rocker for the rest of his life.

Norman had previously traveled with the now-73-year-old musician on tour and interviewed numerous sources close to Clapton, including former manager Roger Forrester and ex-wife Pattie Boyd, among others. A rep for Clapton didn’t immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment about the book’s publication.

Eric Clapton onstage in 2015. (Linda Wnek)

At the time of Conor’s death, the guitar virtuoso was preparing to leave his hotel, located about half a dozen blocks away, to take his son on a trip to the zoo.

“He was enchanted by Conor,” Norman told Fox News. “He had become a companion. Not quite a baby, but more of a boy. Eric was waiting to take him out that day… Conor would normally run into the room and press his nose against the glass of the window. But it wasn’t there that day. He just went out. It was the most dreadful, horrible, unimaginable tragedy.”

Conor’s mother and Clapton's former lover, Italian actress Lory Del Santo, told The New York Daily News that days later Clapton received a gut-wrenching letter written by Conor just before he died.

“[Conor had] said to me a few days before, ‘Mommy, I want to write to daddy. What should I write?’” Del Santo recalled in 2006. “’I said, ‘Write, ‘I love you, dad.’ He wrote that. The letter was then sent to Clapton’s address in London, where he got it just after the funeral.”

Italian actress Lori del Santo and former partner, musician Eric Clapton attend the funeral of their son, four-and-a-half-year-old Conor. (Getty)

When the tragedy occurred, Clapton was reportedly just three years sober after battling drug and alcohol abuse for over a decade. And while his son’s death could have easily made Clapton resort to his old vices to numb his grief, Norman said he was determined to stay sober.

“He was trying to beat the alcoholism when his son was just a baby,” said Norman. “He was fighting against it. But it was really the death of Conor that made him determined that he would never drink again.”

Instead, Clapton poured his anguish into song. And from there, “Tears in Heaven” was born.

“Eric first coped, strangely enough, by playing a song he had written when he was married to Pattie called ‘Wonderful Tonight,’” claimed Norman. “Which is very soft, almost like a lullaby… That was the initial thing that comforted him. Then he wrote a song about [his grief]. By a really cruel twist of fate, it became the most successful record he has ever released, ‘Tears in Heaven.’ That’s really how he got through it.

“How did he managed to get through it and sing? I do not know. It showed an emotion in him that he had never really shown before. By playing the blues, he was always singing the expressions of other people, the great blues artists of the past. With ‘Tears in Heaven,’ his heart was suddenly on his sleeve for the first time. And it became hugely successful.”

In 1992, Clapton was honored at the Grammy Awards with “Record of the Year,” “Song of the Year” and “Best Pop Vocal Performance” for the painfully emotional track. Clapton would go on to admit that he wasn’t at ease with the song’s popularity, which meant to serve as a tribute to Conor.

“Here he was, standing there with all of these Grammys in his hand,” said Norman. “He said he didn’t feel comfortable… He felt guilty.”

In 2004, the guitar legend told the Associated Press he could no longer perform “Tears in Heaven” and “My Father’s Eyes,” another Grammy winner that deals with the loss of Conor. And while the songs helped transform Clapton’s great pain into art, Norman said it was his daughter Ruth who truly saved him.

Bassist Jack Bruce, drummer Ginger Baker and Eric Clapton. (PA Images)

“He had this baby during a casual affair with a studio manager,” claimed Norman. “Her mother never made any demands to him… But after the death of Conor, she wrote to him and said, ‘If you want to be involved in the life of your daughter, that’s fine.’ And he did become involved.”

Clapton himself credited Ruth, 33, for giving him life again.

“Looking back on those years, I realize what a profound effect she had on my well-being,” he wrote in his 2007 memoir, as reported by Vanity Fair. “Her presence in my life was absolutely vital to my recovery. In her, I had again found something real to be concerned about, and that was very instrumental in my becoming an active human being again.”

Norman said the relationship with Ruth was a significant one to Clapton, who was allegedly plagued with insecurities due to the previous women in his life.

A young Eric Clapton. (Courtesy of the author.)

“It all goes back to the fact that his mother abandoned him when he was two years old,” claimed Norman. “And his grandmother pretended to be his mother. And he had to pretend his real mother was his older sister. This was very unsettling for a child. His father… was a Canadian serviceman in England during the Second World War. His mother then married another Canadian serviceman and had three more children. They were all allowed to call her mummy. But Eric was never allowed to.

“He was very insecure with women… there was also a total emotional disregard, dyslexia almost, in regards to how he treated women for a very long time… It somehow seems to be a common factor, which makes [these rock stars] need the love of an audience from the public.”

Since then, Clapton has found happiness with another female in his life. In 2002, he married then-25-year-old Melia McEnery. The Guardian reported the couple now live quietly in England’s Surrey Hills with their three young daughters.

“It’s redemption, that’s all I can say,” said Norman. “The story does end with redemption… This is someone who came from a very ordinary background in an English village, which seems remote even though it’s only about 20 miles from London. And yet it seems so far away due to the ancient traditions this village has. He discovered the blues, which rescued him from the insecurity of his childhood. And the distance he has gone with that music, a music that came so far away from his culture.

Eric Clapton And wife Melia McEnnery. (Getty)

“And the talent he developed from his obsessive love of early blues singers, which has taken him to these extraordinary heights. It’s a story of fantastic achievement. But also, a very human story."

‘Petticoat Junction’ cast mates say show’s popularity was due to no violence: ‘You could watch with your children’

When “Petticoat Junction” premiered in 1963, it quickly became a beloved classic — and according to its cast it’s easy to see why.

The show, a spinoff of “The Beverly Hillbillies,” explored the misadventures of the family staff of The Shady Rest Hotel and their neighbors of Hooverville. “Petticoat Junction,” which ran for seven seasons, came to an end in 1970, but it’s still revered by the sitcom’s stars today.

“There wasn’t any violence, swearing and nothing risqué,” explained Lori Saunders, who starred as Bobbi Jo, to Closer Weekly in the magazine’s latest issue. “It was a healthy show you could watch with your children.”

Linda Kaye Henning, who played Betty Jo, shared the show’s cast and crew quickly bonded and became a family over the years.

“We were one of the friendliest sets around,” she said. “We all got along.”

Lori Saunders, Linda Henning and Gunilla Hutton at The Hollywood Show held at The Westin Hotel LAX in a 2015 reunion. (Getty)

Saunders recalled how there was plenty of laughter among the women.

“We were shooting a church scene,” explained the 77-year-old. “One of us would make another giggle and then we’d all break out laughing. We just couldn’t stop — I think we had to do five takes that day!”

Saunders also described how the cast didn’t hesitate to poke fun at each other even when cameras weren't rolling.

“We did a matinee and two evening shows with singing and a little dancing — basically a big blitz for ‘Petticoat,’” said Saunders about a past promotional stop in Atlantic City. “We were wearing these white, thigh-high boots and we were so tired of them. After the show, we took them off and dumped them in the ocean!”

Despite all the laughter, “Petticoat Junction” was faced with tragedy. Bea Benaderet, who played matriarch Kate Bradley, passed away in 1968 at age 62 from lung cancer. At the time of her death, the Indianapolis Star reported Benaderet had completed filming for the 1968-69 season of the series and then was hospitalized. The newspaper added Benaderet didn’t let her illness dampen her enthusiasm for her career as an actress.

Photograph from "The Beverly Hillbillies" with Bea Benaderet (left) in an 1890’s bathing suit costume, as cousin Pearl Bodine. She stands next to Donna Douglas, as Elly May Clampett, in a one-piece bathing suit. (Getty)

“She had a tough time of it, but she was always a professional,” said Saunders about Benaderet’s fatal illness. “Toward the end, we were shooting a scene and her hand was shaking. I put my hand over hers and we finished the scene that way.”

Closer Weekly shared “Petticoat Junction” lasted for two more seasons after Benaderet’s death. The writers sent her character off to live with relatives. However, a note would occasionally arrive from Kate to Betty Jo, resulting in many emotional moments while filming.

“The toughest day was when they had a letter written from Kate to Betty Jo,” said Henning, 74. “They had recorded Bea reading it, and I just tried not to burst out into tears during the scene.”

Henning added that despite the great loss everyone involved in “Petticoat Junction” endured, the adoration among the cast still lives on.

“After our show was off the air, every now and then I’d see somebody from our crew on another set, and it would be like old times,” she said. “We were all a family.”

This wasn’t the first time cast mates have spoken fondly about their time on “Petticoat Junction.” Back 2008, Henning told the Los Angeles Times the show became a sensation during the ‘60s because Americans could easily identify with the characters.

“I tell you the people who watched it really identified with it because they lived those lives,” she explained at the time. “That was that they wanted to see. It meant a lot to them. So many people would talk to me about it telling me, ‘That is so much like my town, but I wish your family was like my family.’ It was really nice.”

And while Henning’s father, Paul Henning, happened to be the creator of the show, she insisted no easy breaks were given to her for the role of Betty Jo. Henning explained to the Times that, like any other actress, she had to go through screen tests and approvals from the rest of the cast and crew before she was hired.

“He wrote the series for Bea Benaderet,” said Henning about her father. “He had worked with her for many years and Bea went with him to see me in a play I was doing at a neighborhood playhouse. She said, ‘Paul, why in the world won’t you let your daughter try out for Betty Jo?’”

After Benaderet’s death, June Lockhart of “Lost in Space” and “Lassie” fame, was brought on to Hooverville as Dr. Janet Craig.

“She was absolutely perfect for replacing Bea,” said Henning. “She wasn’t trying to be our mother — she was a doctor. We were all just very lucky.”

Alan Ladd never ‘got caught up in fame’ says son: ‘He was a good father’

Alan Ladd Jr. first learned his father was a movie star when he was just about 6 years old and saw a preview for one of his upcoming films.

Patriarch Alan Ladd, who appeared in about 150 movies, including 1942’s “This Gun for Hire” and was often paired opposite screen siren Veronica Lake, passed away in 1964 at age 50 from an accidental drug overdose.

His son, a celebrated film industry executive and producer who famously gave “Star Wars” and “Alien” the green light in the ’70s, said he still has fond memories of the late actor.

“I never saw him get caught up in fame,” the 81-year-old told Closer Weekly in the magazine’s latest issue. “My stepmother was more involved with the business than he was. She was an extraordinary woman, and he was a good husband. He was a good father.”

Ladd explained his father just wanted to tell compelling stories for audiences.

“I don’t care how small the parts are, as long as they’re good,” Alan once said, a message that still resonated with his son.

“I learned it’s not necessary to scream and yell at people,” said Ladd about his own career. “I was very quiet and laid-back, just like he was.”

Still, Ladd insisted his father never intended to be an actor. He was originally working as a crew member on a film at Warner Bros. in the early 1930s when he was inspired by another movie star.

“He saw Errol Flynn doing all these wonderful things and said, ‘I can do that!’” said Ladd. “And from there it just snowballed.”

Alan’s first credited movie role was that of seasick voyager Colin Farrell in 1939’s “Rulers of the Sea.” He kept busy in Hollywood until his death. His last film was 1964’s “The Carpetbaggers.”

The Hollywood Reporter noted his son later became an agent in the 1960s to clients including Judy Garland and Warren Beatty before going into producing. He won a “Best Picture” Oscar in 1995 for producing Mel Gibson’s “Braveheart.”

Back in 2012, the actor’s other son, actor/producer David Ladd discussed his father’s legacy with film historian Alan K. Rode.

“He was a big star,” David explained at the time. “And in being such a big star… you didn’t need anyone but that big star in a film. And a lot of his films didn’t survive for just that reason. Spencer Tracy was a great actor and a great star. But you always had to put Spencer Tracy in a movie with Katharine Hepburn or with Clark Gable — you didn’t have to do that with the big star.”

David also revealed Alan was selective when it came to his roles. Director Billy Wilder previously told the now 71-year-old his father turned down 1944’s “Double Indemnity.” Actor Fred MacMurray would go on to star in the movie opposite Barbara Stanwyck.

David also claimed his father turned down 1950’s “Sunset Boulevard” alongside Gloria Swanson, as well as 1951’s “Ace in the Hole” and 1954’s “Sabrina” with Audrey Hepburn.

“There was a logic to it,” said David. “Billy Wilder was making movies at Paramount. They were smaller movies and dad was the biggest star on the lot… But could you imagine had he done those movies? That legacy would have been something.”