News & Politics

Showbiz News: Liza Settles Harassment Suit; Wicked Beatdown; Jackie O-Peter Cook Affair?


M’hammed Soumayah, variously described as a chauffeur, bodyguard, and right-hand man to Liza Minnelli, has settled a sexual harassment suit against the Cabaret star. He alleged that she threatened to fire him from his $238,000-a-year job if he did not sleep with her, so he did, and claimed to have “physical evidence” of the event.

The multitasking factotum also claimed to have been beaten by Minnelli, which may explain why her former husband David Gest, who had made similar accusations against her, was supportive of Soumayah’s claims. (Gest has recently blamed the late Michael Jackson for advising him to have plastic surgery, saying it was “the stupidest thing I’ve ever done,” which is a tough call.)

Elsewhere in the world of former boldface names, Beyond the Fringe member Alan Bennett said of his former colleague Peter Cook in an interview, “I think Peter had an affair with Jackie Kennedy.” Bennett recalled Jackie O “standing next to Peter stroking his arm in the dressing room and he certainly went to parties with her.”

In the provinces, a Cleveland performance of the hit musical Wicked was interrupted by a fight in the audience — or, we should say, embellished but not interrupted, as AP reports the Ohio Elphaba sang “I’m Not That Girl” as the “drunken brawl” continued and “kept on singing even as police handcuffed and removed a screaming woman,” resulting in a standing ovation and charges of felonious assault against one of the combatants. And that’s what we love about show biz.



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