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0000033491-Clint Estwood J Edgar(crop)

Clint Eastwood opens up at Newseum; Joey “Pants” is in a happy place; notable quotables from around town
By Janet Donovan

Director Clint Eastwood walks the red carpet.

Sometimes losing a bet is a good thing. That was the case amongst the throngs of journalists who bet that Clint Eastwood, director of “J. Edgar” that opened to a select audience at The Newseum, would do a quick two-step on the red carpet and be gone. Wrong!

The sometimes press-reticent actor engaged journos who questioned him on the performance of the former director of the FBI and his quirky personality.

“I think he [Hoover] did a great job developing the organization, but I think he ran it in a very small group of people around him. He’s both hero — people are a lot of things, I don’t think you can categorize him — but he definitely was an idiosyncratic type fellow,” he said. No kidding. “I don’t know, he’s still a mystery to me. I liked him. I liked dealing with him, you know, making him into a live character.”

Screenwriter Dustin Lance Black who also walked the red carpet, doesn’t think that J. Edgar was a cross dresser, a long rumored piece of gossip. “That was one of the things that got shot down early in the research. But, I do think there was a lot of research on his mother. She really wanted to be invited to events just like this, but her husband was mentally ill. At that time, you couldn’t just come as a woman to an event like this, you had to be on someones’ arm and at that point she decided to make her new man her youngest son,” he said. He also pointed out that she lived right across the street from the Newseum. “Really, she lived right over there,” he pointed out. “Not far from here at all.”

During his lifetime, J. Edgar Hoover rose to be the most powerful man in America as head of the FBI: 50 years, eight presidents, three wars. He was both ruthless and heroic according to the filmmakers and historians.

Q&A QUICKIE

We’re happy to report that Joey “Pants” Pantoliano is in a happy place.  In town for the National Italian American Foundation’s Annual Gala, he reports that his depression, or mental illness as he prefers to call it, is under control. Last year he produced a documentary “No Kidding, Me Too” on the disease. “This year,” he said, “has been a great year. My wife and I are welcoming in a new grandson, first time. My daughter Melody and her husband are living with us in Connecticut, so life is good. I’m acting and producing a new play called ‘Living Hell’ and sold a book to the Weinsteins.” Yup, life is good.

HEARD: QUOTABLE QUOTES

Fabio at the National Italian American Foundation Gala: "I just love to have a lot of fun in life."

Mark Russell at Chris Matthew's book party: "I've been writing spiritual hymns for Herman Cain's next appearance at The National Press Club. Let there be pizza on Earth."

Debra Lee, CEO of BET Networks, on woman power and her career: "I've never found my gender to be a handicap."

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