Sunday, May 26, 2024

Arnold Schwarzenegger Brings “Total Recall” to the Four Seasons


Scene: the Grill Room at the fabled Four Seasons on East 52nd St. A few celebrities like Dr. Ruth Westheiomer, Fox News’s Roger Ailes, HBO’s Richard Plepler, and “Soprano’s” actor Frank Vincent have shown up for the book party celebrating Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Total Recall” memoir. The party is given by American Media’s popular Men’s Fitness and Shape magazines.

Peter Petre, who wrote the book for Arnold, is there with writer wife Ann Banks, who helped with the editing and research. Peter’s agent, Kathy Robbins, comes with her book editor husband Richard Cohen. David Pecker, head of AMI, is beaming. He introduces Arnold to the crowd as an old friend. Years ago Pecker met Arnold when took over Weider Publishing from Arnold’s mentor Joe Weider and made the magazines into glossy, readable, popular successes. The guests include an impressive group of many heavy hitters advertisers including Keith Frankel, Director & CEO, Vitaquest Naomi Whittel, Founder, CEO, Reserveage Mike Indursky, CEO, Bliss Spa Stone Roberts, CEO, Roberts Langer and Shape Advisory Board Member Jorge Cosano, Manager, L’Oreal Richard Weber, Chairman & CEO, HBO Bill Boraczek, SVP, Sally Hansen Global Marketing Robert Kindler, Vice Chairman, Morgan Stanley Dan Flores, Senior Vice President, Avenue Capital Group Rob Givone, Investment Manager, Davidson Kempner Capital Management Andy Russel, Founder & Partner, Trigger Media. They love Arnold.

Also mingling: Tara Kraft, VP, Editor In Chief of Shape; Mike De Medeiros, Editor In Chief of Men’s Fitness; David Jackson, EVP, Group Publisher of  American Mediaand  Pam Madden, Associate Publisher Marketing, American Media.

Schwarzenegger takes to the podium high above the crowd on the mezzanine, and looks down at the crowd.  But then he speaks. I have never heard Arnold speak before, except at the dreadful 2008 Republican Convention. This is different. He is totally charming. He’s also very funny. The speech is rehearsed, but so well that it seems spontaneous. You think, if he’d been born on U.S. soil, he would have been elected president.

After the speech, Arnold is very approachable and extremely friendly. He keeps an eye on my attractive brunette companion, however. He’s not stupid. He said that while he was governor he did not miss the movies or acting. “When I’m doing one thing, I’m doing it,” he said, “I’m not thinking about anything else.” He said he’s very proud of his kids. I mention son Patrick is acting. Arnold says, “He’s going to UCLA, he’s studying business, but he’s acting, and he’s –” Arnold mimics lifting weights– “getting in shape.” Then he says: “And Katherine was just on with Anderson Cooper!”

“Total Recall” is a hit tonight. It’s the third or fourth bestselling non fiction hardcover book on Arnold shook my hand. It is one big paw. He flashed a smile. And he was gone.

AMI and S&S give everyone a copy of the book and magazines. The book, by the way, is very heavy–700 pages. Maybe as part of Arnold’s fitness program, you can use it for exercise during reading breaks. But you’d need two, one for each arm! “Total Recall” curls!

Meanwhile over at Fresco by Scotto for a quick dinner, I saw “Melrose Place” actor Andrew Shue and (His wife, girlfriend?) having dinner with Susan Rice, US Ambassador to the United Nations. How weird is that? I don’t know if she knows how much Billy used to cheat on Allison.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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