A Hundred Things About Julie

1. I am older than Jesus Christ and Marilyn Monroe when they died and Lucy Ricardo in the pilot episode.

2. I am younger than Sandra Bullock, Lisa Kudrow and Madonna.

3. When asked my exact age, I lie.

4. I do not have an imaginary boyfriend but an imaginary relationship with a real person. It is very serious.

5. In my Oscar speech, I will thank my sister before anyone else.

6. I once won seven thousand bucks on the old Lifetime game show Debt, but lost it wagering on the final bonus question:
Which O.J. Simpson juror was dismissed because she shared the defendant's arthritis doctor?
Answer: Katherine Murdoch.
7. I drive a red 1998 Honda Civic DX Hatchback recently given to me when my mother bought a hybrid.

8. I love dogs, particularly the wiener variety, of which I have two, Oscar and Vienna.

9. Oscar and Vienna once killed my scariest neighbors' pet rabbit, so I left its body on their back patio without a note.

10. I don't much care for cats, except for the few whose personality I would describe as "dog-like."

11. I once starred in a flea collar television commercial as a life-sized cat lying on a grand piano.

12. My student film was a love story set to the music of Sarah Brightman's "Stranger in Paradise," starring my wiener dogs Oscar and Vienna.

13. My first dog was a two hundred-pound Neopolitan Mastiff .

14. I have done stand-up comedy and once co-owned an improv club.

15. The only sport I follow is figure skating, which seems to me very much like flying.

16. I would lay down my life for people I love and feel very sorry indeed for those who would seek to cross me.

17. I grow roses.

18. I believe Princess Diana was murdered.

19. I met my Croatian ex-husband on a cruise ship, married him seventeen days later and will always love him.

20. My personal idols are Martha Stewart, Nancy Grace and Judge Judy.

21. If screenwriting doesn't work out, I would like either to become a wedding planner or work at Home Depot.

22. I have a friend who is a former child star and hates when I call her that, since she's still a Big Deal Actress.

23. I have met the late pope.

24. I'm not a big fan of people and I don't have a whole lot of friends.

25. I once temped at a local police department and briefly considered a career in law enforcement.

26. My greatest wish is to have my stomach stapled and not also die.

27. I have a real problem with crowds and avoid them wherever possible.

28. I speak fluent French, but only when I am drunk.

29. My favorite candy is See's Butterscotch Squares, which I always choose when they offer the free sample.

30. The only way I'll ever be considered young again is if I die right now.

31. I worry about dying young.

32. I have not exercised regularly since 1998.

33. I have a recurring nightmare where a wad of bubblegum growing inside my mouth begins to choke me to death unless I can keep blowing bubbles one after the next.

34. My mom and dad are my unsung heroes.

35. I have straddled the equator in Ecuador.

36. My favorite movie is Annie Hall.

37. Favorite song, “What A Wonderful World," by Louis Armstrong.

38. Favorite book, The World According To Garp, by John Irving.

39. Favorite authors, Dorothy Parker, Charles Dickens and Mark Twain.

40. Favorite actor, Robert Redford back in his Jeremiah Johnson years.

41. Favorite current TV show, Cops.

42. Favorite TV shows of all time, I Love Lucy, All in the Family, and Roseanne.

43. I like diet Coke from the bottle or can but not the fountain.

44. I knew Val Kilmer as a teenager.

45. When I was very young, I co-starred in two episodes of Miami Vice. I rarely discuss this.

46. I grew up in the San Fernando Valley, went to high school in Miami, college in New Orleans and film school in Los Angeles.

47. I've been following the ABC daytime soaps since I started babysitting after school.

48. The director Alexander Payne once tried to talk to me, but my mouth was full of Nutter Butters at the time.

49. I took the heart-damaging drug Phen-Fen and was awarded cash in the class action settlement.

50. Both of my late grandmothers have visited me in dreams. One of them told me death was fabulous but crossing over was something she couldn't discuss.

51. Just once in my life I'd like to be described as "willowy."

52. My brother lives in Micronesia and has a Micronesian wife and two babies I have never seen.

53. I am not close with my brother.

54. I spent childhood summers on Cayuga Lake in Upstate New York, which for some reason still feels like home to me although I never lived there.

55. I have traveled virtually the entire world but would probably only care to re-visit Italy and France.

56. I was only afraid twice during my travels, in Kingston, Jamaica; and Jerusalem during the first Intifada, when a Palestinian kid threw a pipe at me.

57. I was once stranded at a resort for a week in Taormina, Sicily at the foot of Mt. Etna.

58. The best cheese in the world is Pecorino Sale from Sardinia.

59. The best cheese you can get locally is Parmigiano Reggiano.

60. My favorite food is California Slab Apricots from Trader Joe's.

61. I have perfect teeth, big eyes and very good hair.

62. In my twenties, I was built like the St. Pauli Girl, but only bloomed from there.

63. My grandfather, father, uncle, sister and brother are lawyers.

64. I once played a lawyer on TV.

65. My star sign is Aquarius. I once had the full chart done and almost all of my moons and suns were there too, a statistical oddity.

66. I don't much care for chocolate cake or ice cream and tend to order deserts involving lemons, coconut, custard or buttercream.

67. I make the world's best Caesar Salad.

68. I drink dirty Absolut martinis, extra olives, extra cold.

69. I think Emeril Lagasse is hot.

70. Ditto Anderson Cooper.

71. I once hit on Brooke Shields' husband.

72. I dedicated myself to a life in writing beginning at the age of six, when I wrote the following poem:
Peace is forever,
peace is for now.
There should be no wars,
not one kapow.
73. My first real job was cashiering at Publix in Coral Gables, Florida.

74. I published my first travel magazine article at the age of nineteen and my first travel guidebook at twenty-nine.

75. I am currently on unemployment.

76. My first career job was for the travel section of a major daily newspaper in Palm Beach, Florida.

77. I wrote an episode of the ABC Disney animated series Recess, my single produced professional screenwriting credit to date.

78. I don't understand the big fuss about children.

79. At the age of six, I saw a UFO outside the bedroom window of my family's summer cottage.

80. I tend to think men are inferior to women.

81. I feel very sad for strippers, hookers and porn stars, especially the younger ones and the older ones.

82. I am for free speech but against free porn.

83. The first time I voted for President it was for Ross Perot.

84. I am by and large non-political and anti-religion.

85. I'm unusually patriotic.

86. I don't care for scatological humor because I don't think it's funny.

87. I don't curse in writing but curse quite a bit in my speech.

88. I love eggs.

89. I think Michael Jackson did it.

90. I know O.J. did it.

91. I like going to the movies alone in the afternoon and sometimes see two or more while eating Hot Tamales or Raisinets.

92. I love Easy Listening from the seventies, especially Karen Carpenter, John Denver and Barry Manilow.

93. I've been on about a hundred Internet dates, but only two with the same guy more than once.

94. Whenever I walk down a hotel corridor, I see the twins from The Shining.

95. I would like to own a small working farm, where I would grow stone fruit, nuts and lavender, raise chickens, host fabulous dinner parties and have revolving affairs with the help.

96. I wish I had the talent for oil painting, playing the piano and headlining a Broadway musical.

97. As a kid I was obsessed with Robby Benson and often sketched his likeness from pictures I clipped out of Tiger Beat.

98. My first crush was on Speed Racer, who is animated. My second was on Bobby Sherman, who sang "Julie Do You Love Me?"

99. I have lost and re-gained more than a hundred pounds three times since the age of fifteen.

100. My greatest compliment was from my sister, who once told me I'm the least judgmental person she's ever known.

Swimming Pools, Movie Stars

The problem with having a very rich fantasy life is that reality so often pales in comparison. Last night I had dinner with a movie star, which wasn’t nearly as fascinating as the many movie star dinners I’ve been having in my head all these years.

First off, the restaurant was nothing special. I go there all the time, as a matter of fact, with my sister and my friends, none of whom are the least bit famous. On this particular occasion I got there early so I wouldn’t be nervous about being late. I chose just the right table and whipped out a script to establish right off that I am every inch the Hollywood type, but nobody seemed to notice. Not the clueless waitress focusing on the minimum basic requirements of her own job, not the male schoolteacher tossing graded papers onto a growing stack with a successively longer sigh. A couple of writers wiling away the afternoon alone got up to leave, the last of the dwindling lunch crowd, minutes before my companion arrived for dinner. Why were we having dinner at a place that closes at seven, anyway? How would the paparazzi find us?

At that point it occurred to me that what interested me most was not merely having dinner with a star, nor even about our working together, but instead by the notion of being seen doing all that. What’s that about a tree falling in a forest and not making a sound? “You guys should order now if you want soup,” the oblivious waitress said once my companion arrived. “It tastes like glue once they turn off the burners and have to re-heat it.”

Have you never seen a movie?” I wanted to shout. “Ask this woman for an autograph, you dolt!” I mean, my God, J. has been in pretty much all of them over the last twenty years, with and without her equally famous brother all girls my age have a crush on. Then again, J. wasn’t even wearing dark sunglasses, just jeans and sneakers like another unassuming Midwest housewife—despite her being one of the most popular comedic actresses of our time, with two Oscar nominations to show for it.

She’s recently started her own production company in partnership with her former agent, whose first big project is a biopic of a famous chef and WWII spy. In hopes of attaching me to write it, my manager had sent my semi-autobiographical sample script about three disinherited siblings who pull off a heist. (No we did not pull off a heist together in real life). J. casually informed me that she’d be ordering the artichoke and goat cheese salad and that she was interested in making my movie, as if these two thoughts deserved equal weight in a single sentence. “I even told my brother about it,” she added, squeezing a lemon wedge over her iced tea. “Do you see any Splenda around?”

“I’m sorry, can we go back?” I said, not about to let artificial sweetener come between me and this juicy tidbit. “What did your brother say about my script?”

“He said he’d do it.”

Star-struck rube that I am, I’ve been around Hollywood long enough to know that about a hundred things would have to happen before the two J's star together in my movie. But the mere idea of it all was enough to release any lingering disappointments I may have had about being in the moment. There I sat, just me and the movie star tossing around a few additional casting ideas. Although real sugar doesn't work as well in iced tea as the substitute, the thing about Hollywood is that every once in awhile, real life does turn out better than the movie version.

Life Imitates HBO

After missing her at Sundance and during an earlier L.A. trip, I finally had lunch with the producing partner of the popular New York actress SJP. As is the general rule of thumb, she’s just as pretty as her celebrity collaborator, though maybe not as thin—but then, who is?

As she picked the chicken and cheese from a salad and left a crusty roll untouched, I resisted the urge to reach over and eat it myself while offhandedly informing her that bread is back. The generally accepted rule is New York gets to tell us which hemline is in this season and we get to say what diet trend must be followed after Labor Day. I sipped an ice blended mocha drink that both sides have agreed bears no relation whatsoever to the bi-coastally forbidden chocolate milkshake.

I did a lot of yammering about my current assignment writing a picture for EN, another Manhattan celebrity, forgetting how much smaller New York is than L.A., and that they all refuse to leave the island except for a few months in the summer when they re-group on the same beach just down the road. When she looked at me knowingly and asked if “the boys” were treating me right, I was pretty sure we'd stepped out of an episode of Sex and The City back on her home turf and entered an episode of Entourage here on mine. Part of me wanted to confess that sometimes I feel like the only girl in their Malibu Colony tree house whose hand-scribbled sign made it perfectly clear I wasn’t allowed to begin with. Unless of course I were Mandy Moore , Mrs. Ari Gold or a high-priced hooker, in which case all bets are off.

Though I realized that you haven't arrived in Hollywood until life begins to imitate HBO, mine would most closely approximate Curb Your Enthusiasm, what with its requisite level of personal humiliation I can't seem to sidestep despite my recent successes. Fortunately, it also occurred to me that nowhere in the real world show business manual is an allowance made for unbridled true confessions, even among women. “The guys are great,” I told her. “I’ve never felt so inspired.”

All I had to do now was avoid hitting her with my car, as Larry David surely would, once we backed out of our adjacent parking spaces. As we crossed Beverly Boulevard on foot, a breeze threatened to blow open my black linen wrap-around dress, and I shared my relief at having worn pretty panties. All her good stuff was dirty, she said, so she had thankfully opted for jeans.

On any other day, in any other town, on any other network, we might have become fast friends. We’d have gone back to her suite at the Four Seasons, raided the mini-bar and found something smutty on Lifetime starring Nancy McKeon and David Hasselhoff. We'd have charged up obscene amounts of late night room service and asked the delivery guy and his buddy from the boiler room to stay for a couple of hands of Texas Hold 'Em. Instead we shook hands, got into our cars and drove off in opposite directions.