The Golden Years

Chatting with Legally Blonde's Orfeh. Plus: Outtakes from the urban-myth closet.

Take your Tony and move over, LACHANZE; there's a whole other one-named talent storming Broadway. She's ORFEH, who plays Paulette the manicurist in Legally Blonde, the fluffy PARIS HILTON of a show that seems to be shaping up as both The Color Yellow (with lots of pink) and the anti Spring Awakening. Orfeh stole the Broadway version of Saturday Night Fever as a belting waif (and no, it wasn't petty larceny), she survived the flop revue The Gershwins' Fascinating Rhythm, and now she's the "bend and snap" lady played by JENNIFER COOLIDGE in the movie—though she wasn't exactly the first choice.

"I was one of the last four people they saw after two years and three different Paulettes," Orfeh admitted to me last week. "I wasn't physically, chronologically, or height-wise what they were looking for." And why is that, pray tell? "I don't think people think I can be subtle and heartwarming," she said, "somebody who can bring you in rather than someone who can blaze you out of the room. And I think people forget I'm funny. But comedy is where I live!" And it's even nicer than Murray Hill.

Wherever she lives, it's with her Legally Blonde co-star ANDY KARL, who plays the UPS guy Paulette gets hard nails for (though this situation still hasn't provided Orfeh with a last name.) The two met while doing Fever, but Orfeh swears that wasn't the only good thing to come from that movie-to-stage experiment. "I had a great time," Orfeh exclaimed. "It was my big Broadway thing and I had a blast. Then in walks Andy Karl. So whatever might have happened before that, I have amnesia!"

After that, she and Karl remember deciding they won't have scores of tap-dancing kids—or any kids. "It was like, 'We're together and this is where it begins and ends,' " Orfeh told me. "If I wake up at 50 and realize, 'Oh, no, I forgot to have kids I can always do like the celebrities do and buy a village." And then she can live there.

Her ethnicity, by the way, is French and Italian, "though someone recently thought I was Asian—and they were looking at me!" Even more exotically, Orfeh's the rare working actor who's never had a day job. She did voiceovers in her teens, got a record deal right out of high school, and since then, it's been a nonstop procession of high kicks and tonsil work. "There are a lot of people like me who never had to cater or wait tables," she explained, "not that there's anything wrong with that. We're all working and bubbling under and one day we may blow up or we might not. But you don't have to end up on the cover of Vanity Fair to be successful. It just means people aren't interested in who you're fucking." And I'd rather have a hot tryst in a corner than a silly old magazine cover any day (unless the cover can get me some hot trysts).

Now follow me to various bashes where people generally seek fame and fuck buddies at the same time. At the Motherboards party at Swoon (Wednesday at HK), the star attraction was DJ JOHNNY DYNELL telling me about the Large Penis Support Group (lpsg.org), a sizeable site about big tools and what to do with them. "They have everything," he informed me, "from what kind of underwear to wear to celebrity penis information. People post comments like, 'That one's beautiful. Nice veining!' And they'll ask advice like, 'Is it normal to have three testicles?' The answers are very supportive—like, 'No, it's not. You should really have that checked.' " Feigning a sudden fit of nausea, I frantically ran home—to log onto lpsg! (Which, by the way, is not to be confused with lhsg—Low Hanging Support Group. I'm not making this shit up.)

My veining was perfect at the one-year anniversary bash of PATRICIA FIELD's Bowery store, which is good because the crowd was ultra fashion conscious. I asked Field what it was like to be a nominee on Oscar night. Surreal? "No," she said. "I could handle it. I was happy I stood out. Everywhere you looked, there I was!" And in such a look! What was it? "Bulgari, DAVID DALRYMPLE, and Payless!" she exclaimed, triumphantly. "I have a deal with them."

Everything was veiny and bulging the night at Unisex Salon when promoters EARL DAX(who has since split the event) and JAMES COPPOLA got into a vicious old-style brawl, supposedly complete with body fluids. Says Coppola, "There were no bodily fluids, sorry to say. You may be mixing up this story with the week following at my other party, Area, when I peed on a Chelsea queen that does the door all over town." Honey, if he's a typical Chelsea queen, he probably loved it.

I'll be toasting photog-to-the-stars PATRICK MCMULLAN with a more expensive golden liquid now that I hear he's getting a reality show produced by BEN SILVERMAN(The Office). In fact, I look forward to the TV cameras shooting him shooting me shooting off my mouth.

Meanwhile, let's raise a burnt toast to urban legends—those scandalicious celebrity myths that spread like rabies, getting more outlandishly appealing with each retelling. These tales reassure us—albeit sometimes via untruths—that stars can be just as outrageous as we are, so we keep spreading them as if playing an uncensored game of Telephone. Besides, where there's smoke, there are generally flamers.

To recap some of history's best myths and misses: (1) Screen legend ROCK HUDSON married sitcom star JIM NABORS. I think that one started because of an old joke, "If Rock Hudson married Gomer Pyle, he'd be Rock Pyle." It helped that the two were indeed close and both happened to be sisters. But they never married! Each other! (2) JAMIE LEE CURTIS was born between two gender worlds. Well, people may have started this chestnut because she's tomboyish, she adopts, and her husband plays a really good gay. But that wasn't nearly enough sourcing for me, so I once asked her mother, the late, great Janet Leigh, for the rumor's real genesis. She flinched, then said maybe it was because she named her daughter Jamie Lee before she was born, seeing as a friend advised her to advance-name the kid something that would fit either way. The result has verged on a lifelong Pat sketch. (3) RICHARD GERE plays with gerbils. Gere supposedly feels this was started by Sly Stallone, who had a dispute with him early in their careers. The charge must have been rather monosyllabic: "Gere. Gerbil. Ass. Yo." (4) ROD STEWART had to have his stomach pumped because he sucked off 17 sailors in a row. Maybe Stallone started that one too, but it's patently untrue because you can suck off hundreds of sailors and not have to get your stomach pumped. So say my friends! (5) DAVID GEFFEN marriedKEANU REEVES. People probably confused them with Rock Hudson and Jim Nabors. (6) MERV GRIFFIN does wild things with chocolate bars. Well, his casino does have that amazing buffet! (7) RICHARD SIMMONS answers the door in a diaper and says, "I've been a bad boy. Please spank me." If only.

By the way, I've been getting some light spanking myself for Out magazine's "glass closet" cover story about stars like ANDERSON COOPER and JODIE FOSTER who perform the delicate trick of living semi-out lives while not committing to being gay on the record. In addition to praise, the story has incited the usual storms of outrage, and I honestly don't have the energy to fight the same old creatures who feel that saying a famous person is gay—even when he/she is hiding in plain sight—is a hateful, maligning abomination. So I'll just link you to my Voice piece from two years ago countering the whinings about my last Out article on Cooper. It's at www.villagevoice.com/nyclife/0512,webmusto,62236,15.html. Then we can all go back to pretending we aren't interested in who anyone's fucking.

Update: A friend swears he saw Cooper Sunday night at the Chelsea bar XES Lounge. Doesn't seem like he's exactly fighting the story, is he?

musto@villagevoice.com

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