“The enemy of good conversation is the person who has ‘something to say!’ Conversation is not for making a point. … There is no winning in conversation,” wrote Henry Fairlie.

Oh my! I have so many friends and acquaintances who have a distinctly opposite point of view these days.

That “Living Landmark” of New York City, the actress Candice Bergen, is going into movie production. Last seen onstage by theatergoers, she was simply great as the neglected wife of a politician in the recent staging of Gore Vidal’s “The Best Man.”

Candy will now delve into a big-screen version of her own past as the child of famed ventriloquist Edgar Bergen. He invented the tuxedoed “dummy” Charlie McCarthy, a big radio and film rage of the ’50s. The “dummy” became one of the surprising and unlikely celebrities of his time, with his good-looking creator (Edgar) sitting beside him in a pose of elegant innocence.

In this manner of speaking, Edgar and his beautiful wife, Frances, became the parents of Candice and her brother Kris, but Charlie became a star, landing the two true Bergens in the shade. “This creation took over and eclipsed the creator,” says Candy. “It was the dummy that wouldn’t die. All the fan mail initially went to Charlie. And Edgar wasn’t really welcome at parties in the beginning unless Charlie was with him. It was totally surreal.” This will all be based on Candy’s 1984 memoir, “Knock Wood.”

Edgar Bergen died in 1978 at age 75. And Charlie went to the Smithsonian. Evidently Candy’s idea for this movie is not that she and Kris were so overshadowed by Charlie that they hardly mattered, but that their Swedish father never received his due. It’s an amazing story and will make a great movie. No release projection yet.

As you know, Candice Bergen went on to become as famous as anyone who has ever starred in a TV sitcom. She had to request that the Emmys stop naming her their winner year after year for “Murphy Brown” and she is often spoken of as one of the most beautiful film stars ever.

To my way of thinking, she is one of the most beautiful human beings down deep inside who I’ve ever known.


Speaking of movie stars! The Gloria Crest Estate in Englewood, N.J., was built in 1926 by the heir to the Polish throne. It was later owned by none other than Gloria Swanson and it actually resembled the old estate in the 1950 film “Sunset Boulevard.” (Do I have to tell you that the Billy Wilder movie of “Sunset Boulevard” starred the real Gloria?)

They are asking only $39 million for Gloria Crest with its full gym, spa, theater, garden, pool house, lake and a panoramic view of NYC. There is a seven-car garage with elevator to all levels. Does Mitt Romney know about this property?


Farewell to the singing star of the ’40s, Deanna Durbin, who died last week at 91. Durbin was a huge star for Universal Pictures, but she almost became a huge star for MGM. She was paired with young Judy Garland in a short where both girls sang and emoted.

Louis B. Mayer was leaning toward Durbin, but others at the studio convinced him Garland was “the one.” Deanna went immediately to Universal and became an instant star, with her sweet/sexy girl-next-door looks and soprano trills. In fact, she was a bigger star than Judy for a couple of years, much to Garland’s distress. As for Durbin, at the height of her career, she’d had enough. She retired at 26, married and never looked back.

Years later, she and Garland ran into each other in Paris, where Judy was performing. “My, God,” said Deanna, “Are you still in that awful business?!” There is no record of Judy’s response, though in final years she would often say, “This is a rotten business, except for the audiences.”

Tribune Media Services