Exclusive: It was an innocent question. At a lunch today for pop legend Darlene Love and super singer Lisa Fischer, stars of “Twenty Feet from Stardom,” I asked Darlene if she ever talks to her “Lethal Weapon” co-star Danny Glover. They played husband and wife in the four Richard Donner films.
Darlene, ringed in Shirley Temple curls, said: “I don’t speak to him. Keep that man away from me.” That was a surprise because I thought she reserved such sentiments for Phil Spector only. What’s the issue?
“He wanted to sleep with me, it was a big problem. Once he called me at home and said, I’m looking at a picture of you right now. You don’t know what I’d like to do with you.” Love laughed, but she was dead serious.
“Was that in your book?” someone asked. “No!” Darlene responded.
Otherwise our lunch at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel was scandal-free and lots of fun. Peggy Siegal put it together. Bette Midler, who’s in the Morgan Neville documentary, hosted. Al Maysles, Susan Sarandon, Julie Taymor, Judith Ivey and Dana Ivey (the last two are not related) came, along with Bette’s old movie husband, Dan Hedaya.
“We were in a movie together,” Bette said, seeing Hedaya for the first time in a long time.
“Romeo and Juliet,” Hedaya said, joking.
“You played my husband. It wasn’t This Magic Moment. It was The First Wives Club. Am I right?”
She was. They embraced, and Bette rolled her eyes. There’s a lot of water gone under the bridge, as they say. “How are you, Dan?”
Fischer–who just came off the road after 18 US shows with the Rolling Stones, plus the Glastonbury Festival and Hyde Park– got up and sang a hymn like melody, a Capella, that brought the 50 or guests eating lunch overlooking Central Park to their feet. She was magnificent. Then Darlene cued a music track and knocked the group out with “Lean on Me.” Just like that, all in a days’ work.
I asked Lisa what it was like with the Stones. “Boring. Everyone’s in bed by 10.” No partying? “Nothing, un huh,” she said. “They’re very health conscious.”
“Twenty Feet from Stardom” is the biggest documentary so far of 2013. I loved it because it seemed like the natural successor to the film I made in 2002 with DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus called “Only the Strong Survive.”
Darlene said over lunch: “I can’t think of a time I sang back up for a black singer, except maybe for Dionne Warwick. Otherwise, it’s always been white guys, rockers.” At the 25th anniversary of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Darlene and Sam Moore sang with Bruce Springsteen and stole the show.
On stage, Darlene told the crowd that when she had a heart attack last year, Midler–who is her real life pal and who appears in the film– called her right up. She imitated Bette. “What do you mean you had a heart attack?” Midler shouted.
I asked Bette, who was at her most congenial and cutest the whole afternoon, was it true? “Did I? No, well yes,” she admitted with a grin. “I just wasn’t so shrill.”