Thursday, January 10, 2008


Johnny Grant died yesterday. He was 84. He appears to have died of natural causes in his penthouse suite of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, where he lived.

Grant never married, had no children, but had a very active social life. Angie Dickenson was a long time friend and it's assumed that the two of them had a relationship neither of them ever talked about publicly. Shoot, you can't get Angie to talk about alleged (but believed) relationships she had with Frank Sinatra and JFK, among others.

Same deal with Grant. Except for the Sinatra and JFK parts.

For those of you reading this who don't live in Los Angeles, Johnny Grant was the little guy with the wide smile on a round face that you'd see on your television screen every time someone was getting a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

And Johnny was the guy who had the final say on who got a Star, though he'd often deny that. I know it was true, because I once went to Johnny to personally lobby for a Star for a very good and deserving friend of mine. That person got his Star.

After a successful career working as a game show host, sometime actor, long time radio and television host for Gene Autry's radio and television stations here in Los Angeles, Grant took over as Hollywood Walk of Fame Chairman in 1980. In 1987, he began producing the Hollywood Christmas Parade. Grant became "Honorary Mayor" of Hollywood in 1980, but those who saw him in action know that there was nothing "honorary" about it. Grant was a tireless supporter of a city that had pretty much been abandoned by the big stars and big studios and Grant is the biggest reason that Hollywood has experienced the continuing revitalization that goes on while I'm writing this sentence.

I first met Grant when I was working on (what would be) a 7-hour special about Gene Autry that would be aired across the country. It was suggested to me that I talk to Grant because he was a long time friend of Autry's. Because I'm not from here (Los Angeles) and hadn't been here long, I had no idea who Grant was and it was obvious to Johnny while I was doing the interview. Needless to say, I "learned" and we became friends.

How tight was Grant to Gene Autry? Tight enough to have a lifetime contract that was being paid to Grant until yesterday. How much was Grant being paid by the Autry estate until yesterday? I don't know and I never asked, but it was enough to allow him to live a very good life because he wasn't being paid a dime for his Hollywood work.

What a gentleman, accent on gentle. What a trouper. What a promoter. What a hustler. And all of it was good. Shoot, all of it was sweet with a capital "S"!!!

No one, but no one will be able to replace Johnny Grant in Hollywood. To continue the revitalization tradition, I would recommend someone like Robert Wagner (if he'd be interested) and my good friend, com publisher Don Barrett, thinks that Ryan Seacrest would be the guy who should be asked to be the permanent M.C. of the Star ceremonies.

The future regarding Honorary Mayors and the Walk of Fame ceremonies is yet to be determined.

But here's something we can all hope for as far as right now goes; Johnny Grant, R.I.P.

And here's a p.s. from me; You done good, bud!


Pious Phil needs to give it up. I'm referring to the overrated and self serving television "shrink", "Dr. Phil".

What a gasbag! The Britney Spears' family asked him to talk to her while she was in the hospital because Dr. Phil is supposed to be a therapist of some kind. So what does television's biggest gasback do after he speaks with Britney in the hospital? He goes on as many television shows he can to tell people that he, the gasbag in chief was asked by the family to give aid and comfort to Britney Spears.

Question: Doesn't Britney Spears have enough problems? I mean, she has an unemployed ex-husband who's trying to take her kids away so he can get more money....A mother who redefines the word "clueless"....Britney's newest boyfriend is trying to make money by selling partially naked photos of Britney to tabloids....And now the gasbag Dr. Phil is trying to use her name for his own self serving reasons?

Of course "gasbag" has a different take on this. He put on a phony "I'm outraged" rant by saying (in essence) that he's apologizing for nothing and that someone needs to step up and guide her to the medical help she desperately needs.

Uh...excuse me, Dr. Gasbag...Might not a "step up" have been what people should have expected from you?!?


After Iowa and New Hamphshire, we now know, what?

Nothing, right? Will it be Obama, Clinton or someone else as the democratic nominee? Will it be Huckabee, McCain, or someone else as the republican nominee. And will either or both party's nominees end up being someone who hasn't become a candidate yet?!?



I'm still working on projects that are taking more time than I thought they would. But you will always know that when I do write the next one, at least one of the subjects will be about something that makes me say, "Whaaaat?!?"


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