Once a writer reaches age 84 and has sold 300 million books, there's not much left to scribble about. Except, perhaps, every writer's favorite subject: himself. And so, we eagerly await Sidney Sheldon's memoir, "The Other Side of Me."
"I'm really going to cover everything I've done," Sheldon said during a phone call from his Palm Springs home. The autobiography will tell the story of his Chicago childhood, his years as a young screenwriter during Hollywood's golden era and his jet-setter lifestyle as a bestselling novelist.
Sheldon was first published at age 10--a poem he sent in to a magazine--then worked a series of menial jobs, even selling ladies' shoes. So began a prolific career that earned him Oscar, Tony and Edgar Allan Poe awards.
As a movie director, Sheldon worked with Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr and Cecil B. DeMille. He won the best original screenplay Oscar in 1947 for "The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer." In 1959, he helped write the Broadway musical "Redhead," which garnered four Tonys. In the 1960s, he was known for writing sitcoms such as "I Dream of Jeannie" and "The Patty Duke Show." Then, at 50, he tried his hand at novels.
"I like to write about women because I'm tired of the cliche of the dumb blond," he said. "I usually like to put them in danger that they get themselves out of."
Sheldon dictates to an assistant and then rewrites for months. "When I start, I have no plot in mind. I have only a character. As I start to talk and dictate, the story starts to form. When I finish that first 1,200 or 1,400 pages, I'll throw away 100 pages and start rewriting."
He already has spent a year on his life story. In the meantime, Sheldon's novel, "The Sky Is Falling," comes out in paperback July 1.
Ein X@!*&% Eminem
Grammy-winning rapper Eminem blames Tourette's syndrome for his outbursts of rage and blue lyrics. In an interview published this week in the German magazine Der Spiegel, the conversation went something like this, as translated by our international gossip correspondent, Louise Roug:
Q: Your lyrics are obscene and aggressive, you yourself are seen as raw and mean. Is that necessary for your image as a white rapper?
A: No, first of all, I'm a really nice guy and secondly, my rage attacks are obviously symptoms of the so-called Tourette's syndrome.
Q: Which comes with uncontrolled, verbal glitches. Do you seriously want to claim that you're ... not responsible for your lyrics?
A: Yes, Tourette's syndrome has to be the explanation for my strange behavior. Look, when I work in the recording studio, it just overwhelms me. I want to say "birds" and "bees." Instead I hear "[Bleep, bleep] I strangle your mother" coming out of my mouth.
Does he really suffer from the neurological disorder? Only his doctor knows for sure. And last we heard, Vicodin isn't the cure.
Do They Take Requests?
That Paul McCartney, he'll share a song with anybody these days. During a visit last week, he sang a duet with Paul Simon at a Beverly Hills charity event. Later, McCartney was spotted harmonizing with a panhandler on the Sunset Strip. The impromptu performance occurred as Sir Paul and girlfriend Heather Mills noshed at a sidewalk cafe near Sunset Plaza. A street musician started singing, "I once had a girl, or should I say she once had me . . . " McCartney got up from his table and joined in the rendition of the Beatles' tune "Norwegian Wood," delighting other diners.
D'oh! It's Official
A few weeks ago, as we were typing up an item on actor Dan Castellaneta, best known as the voice of Homer Simpson, a spirited debate erupted in the office over the proper spelling of that uniquely Homerian utterance, "D'oh!"
Now we can look it up online. Last week "d'oh!" became part of the official lexicon. The Oxford English Dictionary included the phrase among 250 new entries, defining it thusly: "Expressing frustration at the realization that things have turned out badly or not as planned, or that one has just said or done something foolish."
Other newly approved words that could pop up in this space from time to time include "boy band," "retail therapy," "road rage" and "stalkerazzi." And, according to Newsweek's Web site, words like "jiggy" and "pregnant chad" are under consideration, along with "wife-beater," the popular term for a sleeveless men's undershirt.
Another Bride, Another Groom
Keenan Ivory Wayans and Daphne Polk exchanged vows Saturday in Ojai before a small group of friends including Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, Eddie Murphy, and Marlon, Damon and Sean Wayans. The location was top secret, but we understand the guests stayed at the Ojai Valley Inn.
Times staff writers Gina Piccalo and Louise Roug contributed to this column. City of Angles runs Tuesday-Friday. E-mail: email@example.com.