At a spry 92, legendary gossip hound Liz Smith has seen everything in Hollywood and Manhattan. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Smith looked back at her long career. She recalled how The View creator Barbara Walters lost interest in her after Smith lost her column, among other tidbits.
You grew close to many other well-known people over the years. Do you keep in touch with Barbara Walters?
Well, it turns out Barbara Walters can do without me, though I still consider her a friend. She has done so much for me through the years. But when I lost my column and my power, she kind of lost interest in me. When we run into each other now, she loves me; she's always saying, "Let's get together," blah, blah, blah. But I rarely hear from her now. That's OK.
Smith also reflected on how her blind item about Rosie O'Donnell being a lesbian ultimately led to Oprah Winfrey having to issue a public statement about her own sexuality.
I thought Rosie was going to come out.
She was! But she's crazy, that girl. She loses her temper at everything. The item didn't mention Rosie's name, and she was about to make this grand announcement, but instead she started yelling and screaming. That item was so careful, it didn't even say talk show host. It was such a blind item, it was groping around in the dark. (Laughs.)
But Oprah still felt compelled to put out a statement denying she was gay.
I was amazed by the blowback from that story! It was harmless. The gist of it was, "Better pay attention, readers, because gay people are popping up everywhere!" Despite all that hoopla, Oprah went right on being friends with Gayle King, and I always admired her for that, because she easily could have just rejected Gayle when rumors about them started spiraling.
Check out the must-read interview at The Hollywood Reporter.