Lately, George and Barbara Bush are everywhere. But they’re also in Doug McGrath‘s wonderful HBO documentary about Hollywood mogul, mover and shaker Jerry Weintraub. An A list crowd came to the Time Warner Center screening room last night to watch the film, called “His Way,” based on Weintraub’s memoir. And just like the Bushes are so friendly with Bill Clinton, they also have a connection to Weintraub through his wife, singer Jane Morgan.
Like the witnesses in “Reds,” the Bushes give a hilarious on camera testimonial to Weintraub that has to be seen the film airs this coming week. (Barbara Bush has impeccable coming timing.) They rattle off a list of celebrities to whom the gregarious Weintraub has introduced them over the years. Barbara pauses, then remembers, suddenly: “John Travolta!” Her eyes light up.
There’s a long history between the Bushes and the Weintraubs not mentioned in the film, but it’s in Weinraub’s book. McGrath recalled the story for me last night. Apparently, Weintraub was denied admission into the Bushes’ country club in Kennebunkport because he was Jewish. Bush was so upset he arranged for Weintraub to play in a foursome with him (this was many years ago). McGrath said, “Now Jerry is a member.”
“His Way” is the second documentary produced by Graydon Carter recently for HBO, following Martin Scorsese’s “Public Speaking,” about Fran Lebowitz. Carter, editor in cheif of Vanity Fair, presided over the dinner following the screening at The Porter House steak restaurant in the Time Warner Center. Who wasn’t there? Nobody. Candice Bergen, Barry and Diana Levinson, Joan Juliet Buck, Liz Smith (looking snazzy in a red leather jacket), HBO doc chief Sheila Nevins, Hearst magazines chief Ellen Levine, People mag editor Larry Hackett, and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
“His Way” is not to be missed, especially for Matt Damon’s and George Clooney’s imitations of Weintraub, rare footage of Frank Sinatra and Elvis performing together, early clips of John Denver, and Julia Roberts squirming on camera when asked to comment about Weintraub’s unusual domestic arrangements.