Monday, June 17, 2024

Flashback: When Liz Smith Brought Ivana Trump to Lunch And Wound Up on the Front Page


Back in 2016, I reminisced with the late great mega columnist Liz Smith about Ivana, Donald, and Marla.

It was 1990. Donald was caught with Marla Maples. Ivana filed for divorce. Cindy Adams got custody of Donald. Liz took Ivana Trump to lunch and wound up on the front page of the Daily News.

Liz told me over lunch:

“Parker Ladd and Arnold Scaasi said, ‘You should go meet the Trumps.’ I said, ‘What are the Trumps?’ They said, ‘They’re very rich and aspiring to rise, and they will love you, and you will get a lot of money for charity.’ So he introduces me. Then I hang around with them for about a year. I liked her, but I couldn’t understand a word she ever said. I liked him because he reminded me of my brothers. I was amused by him. He would take me under the arm and introduce me to famous people. He’d say, ‘Isn’t she the greatest?’ He took me to prizefights and all this crap. I gave them their money’s worth, and I flew on their plane.

I realized he thought he owned me. He didn’t own me. But everything for journalists is access.”



She wrote in her memoir: “I liked the Trumps. They had three little kids, and I didn’t want to be the one to notify Ivana that her husband was playing around. It just wasn’t my style. I figured my warning shot would bring Donald to his senses. (Such fools we scriveners be.)”

Donald called Cindy Adams and planted the famous “Best Sex I Ever Had” headline in the Post. Ivana struck back. She let Liz take her to lunch at the famous Le Grenouille on East 52nd St. Pandemonium ensued. Liz and Ivana wound up on the front page of the Daily News.

Trump was furious. Liz recalled: “He’s one of the great public actors of all time…He said he would buy the New York Daily News in order to fire me.

The Trump divorce played on the front pages of the New York tabloids for weeks. And in the end, Ivana got the last laugh. She produced best selling books. went into business and sold many products. She didn’t let public humiliation destroy her. Now let’s see if her story is white washed in her death.


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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