Sunday, March 29, 2020

They doubted us..

Several loyal readers doubted Whisper's tale that they encountered a very young James Murdoch asleep at a party at the home of the late Lady Mary Fairfax, Fairwater in Sydney's Double Bay.
But it's true and we now show a pic we snapped at the event.
From left to right is billionaire James, son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, Primrose Dunlop and well known News Ltd photographer Frank Viola.

Young James was just 15 a the time and doing "work experience" on his father's newspaper The Sunday Telegraph and accompanied the other two to Lady Mary's. At the time Primrose was writing a social column for the newspaper.
We told how Primrose met the Qantas Trolley Dolly and Egyptian royal Prince Lorenzo Giustinian at the shindig.
Often known as Prince Montesini, Lorenzo says his title is a very old one from the Ottoman Empire.
Sometime later the pair decided to get married and organised their nuptials to be held in Venice as half of Sydney and Melbourne's high society travelled to the canal city for the wedding.
Alas, Prince Lorenzo got cold feet and decamped the night before they were to be married and ran off with his best man Richard Straub while assorted media searched Europe looking for the errant bridegroom.
Meanwhile Primrose, heiress to a considerable stockbroking fortune in Melbourne nabbed a European noble and is now known as Countess Zofia Krasicki v Siecin.

Making a Killing

As New York City goes into lock-down, Whispers' pal America's top social photographer Patrick McMullan has sensibly gone into seclusion in his house in Long Island.
NYC's famous night life has gone into meltdown- it's non existent at present so McMullan isn't missing much (he often attends up to 5 parties in one night).
Never fear. As a chronicler of America's and importantly the scene in his home city Patrick knows everybody and has photographed them for posterity. As the great artist Andy Warhol  once said "if you don't know Patrick you need to go out more".
As a contributing editor to Vanity Fair and with regular columns in a number of society magazines like Ocean Drive along with numerous TV appearances and his own NBC TV show under his belt there isn't anyone with a flicker of fame that hasn't been captured by his camera lens.
                                         So it's no surprise to see that every since the scandal broke about the late Jeffrey Epstein and his pal Ghislaine Maxwell, McMullan's snaps of the late billionaire have been published hundreds of times around the world and keep getting re-published with every new mention.
Such as today in the UK's Daily Mail and no doubt dozens of European and American publications.
It definitely pays the bills while society has gone into a government mandated shut-down.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

From The Vault: The Day Hollywood Came Calling

so many Marilyns

Dear reader, cast your mind back some decades. 1980 to be exact.
Whispers was living in a small but cute Mews flat just off London's famous Portobello Road. To be exact, where the real antique shops began and before the bits & pieces stalls started. Saturday was always a joyful day as the Portobello Market began in full swing early in the morning.

In our quaint street we were always awakened by the sound of a Tuba on a Saturday around 10am. A neighbor taught the instrument and it really was the most pleasant and reassuring way to be awakened and one always knew it was market day,
Whispers had a pal staying. His name was Ben and he worked in films organizing transport. As a bonus he would take a side job of driving around whatever star was in town at the time and filming at Pinewood Studios. While he lived in the country, Notting Hill was far more convenient for obvious reasons.
I had also moved in the legendary rock manager Kit Lambert who had fallen on rather tough times and who I was working with attempting to revive various music projects. Kit had discovered and nurtured one of the most famous and enduring bands on the planet, The Who along with legends like Jimi Hendrix.
This was the era of The Blitz. A Tuesday night club in London's West End, operated in a small restaurant by a budding entrepreneur named Steve Strange (pictured). The Blitz Kids had grown out of the Punk era and the kids wwo flocked to the club called themselves the New Romantics with their colourful and inventive outfits. It was really just kids from the suburbs dressing up. Innocent but a lot of fun
I had convinced Lambert that there were bound to be future stars and musicians to come out of the very creative Blitz scene. And they surely did. Boy George with Culture Club was one. Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet began there as did Strange himself who had a huge hit with his band Visage. Another was Phil Collen, my personal discovery who I hired for a band and who later went on to join one of the biggest groups on the planet Def Lepard. I took Kit to The Blitz once and he was hooked. Together we decided there was a gold mine of talent there.

Living in Notting Hill had distinct advantages because of it's close location to central London. Most of the teenagers who went to the Blitz on a Tuesday night, after planning their exotic outfits, lived in the outer London Suburbs. George O'Dowd ( Boy George) was one. Peter Robinson who called himself Marilyn and styled himself after the Hollywood legend Marilyn Monroe was another, Inevitably half a dozen or so would choose to flop on my Mews flat floor having missed the last tube home.

And so it was on one such night when we had been partying at The Blitz that around 8 souls descended upon my tiny flat, along with flatmate Ben who had accompanied us to The Blitz for his first visit. Ben was now working on a film called Saturn 3 staring two Hollywood greats - the late star Kirk Douglas and the former Charlies Angels star Farrah Fawcett Majors. Ben had also nabbed me a job as Kirk Douglas' "gofer". Such an easy job although one had to be available at all hours. Douglas was popular with film crews. He had a reputation as being easy going, very professional often only needing one shoot of a scene, treating the crew respectfully and a great tipper when a project had been completed.

Kirk Douglas and Farrah Fawcett Majors in the Sci Fi flick Saturn 3


Sunday, March 22, 2020

Tales From The Vault

Our invite never arrived..
A new series: as the deadly  coronavirus COVID-19 sends the world's capitals and countries into lock down, we've decided life must go on although of course, we well be Social Distancing (literally now that the town's high life has dried up) with tales from the past decades.
Whisper's invitation to the launch of Noah's Ark was lost in the mail, as is our wont to claim. We have been around that long.
So a new series begins of memorable moments from the past in Sydney, New York, London Paris and Rome and elsewhere.
Tidbits never told before and it includes a cast of famous characters like Andy Warhol, Kirk Douglas, Boy George, Richard Branson , Peggy Guggenheim, Mick Jagger, Malcolm Forbes..the list is endless.
Starting from tomorrow (Monday in Oz) - get the Ipad warmed up while you social distance..snuggle up with your pet (stay away from your other half until tested !) and please check back for some juicy tales.

Life Has Been Cancelled

Whispers was looking forward to the annual Silver Dinner, a charity that aids the Children's Hospital
Justin Hemmes
but we figured it may be cancelled and thus, it was. This year it was to be held at the home of billionaire nightclub mogul Justin Hemmes, his amazing family pile The Hermitage (pictured) in Vauclause with it's commanding views of Sydney Harbour. It was not meant to be. The city's elites which includes a considerable number of top medicos could hardly be seen quaffing fine champagne and canapes while the deadly virus raged all around us.
So we'll leave you with some memories from twelve months ago when the dinner was held at that other historic and impressive Eastern Suburb's mansion- Swifts.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Important Message

As Whispers woke up this morning free of the deadly virus sweeping the world we can only put it down to having watched this. That bloody Devil- trying to give us the Flu ! We sent him packing.

Jaysus Hale Me from Sam Best on Vimeo.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Exclusive: Dame Edna Everage Revelation !

Theater greats who worked with Zoe Caldwell: Christopher Plummer * Vanessa Redgrave * Charles Laughton * Laurence Olivier
Last month the Queensland born Actress Zoe Caldwell OBE (pictured) passed away at the grand age of 87 in Pound Ridge New York where she had lived for the past 30 years. Caldwell was born in Melbourne in 1933 to a working class family. She longed to be an actress and was offered a permanent part in1954 in the Union Theater Repertory Company in Melbourne. As Zoe quickly became an accomplished thespian her reputation spread and in the late 1950s she was invited to join the Royal Shakespeare Company in the UK. At times she would return to Australia to appear in a variety of plays.
Caldwell had a sort of "quiet" career but became one of the most sought after actresses particular on Broadway after she moved to the USA. When the name 'Zoe Caldwell' appeared in lights at the front of any New York theater the production was basically assured of success.

The list of theater greats who Zoe worked with are legendary: Charles Laughton, Vanessa Redgrave, Dame Edith Evans, Christoper Plummer and Sir Laurence Olivier among them. While Caldwell appeared in a few movies. the stage was her first love and over her career she won four Tony Awards in the USA, the ultimate accolade in live performance.

One budding actor who appeared with Zoe Caldwell in repertoire was a young Melbourne comedian Barry Humphries. Whisper's impeccable source relates to us a tale of a conversation between the two greats.
Humphries turned up at a Melbourne theater early one evening and regaled Zoe of a new project he had embarked on. He outlined the brief script he had written and the character he had invented: a  Melbourne housewife who in her ordinariness would encompass every terrifying aspect of Australian suburban life. Barry, in fact, wanted Zoe Caldwell to consider taking the role of Edna Everage which he explained to her, would be a cabaret ongoing performance that Humphries hoped to flesh out as the character developed. He correctly believed that the general public, including those he basically mocked with his suburban housewife would grow to love Mrs Everage of Moonee Ponds.

Alas, although Caldwell thought the project was absolutely brilliant  and that she could also see it could easily become popular, the role was not for her. She just didn't want to commit to a project that may be years in development.
As a disappointed Humphries retreated from her dressing room Caldwell had one last word for him : " Barry, the character is a  brilliant invention and you are a superb actor- why don't you play Edna yourself?".
So there you are: the inside story of the creation of the world wide, nay Galaxy-wide megastar Dame Edna Everage.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Exclusive: Win your very own Picasso for just a few $$$

 A few years ago Whispers attended an exhibition of paintings by the legendary Pablo Picasso at the Art Gallery of NSW. What struck us at the time was so many of the more famous ones were actually quite small.

Who owns a Picasso in Sydney.? Well the late famed Sydney architect Harry Seidler (right)  had one on the wall  just outside his bathroom at his amazing apartment at Kirribilli overlooking Luna Park as Whispers discovered at a party there many moons ago. (That was a small one as well.)

Now you too can own a Picasso by buying a ticket for 100 Euros or approx $A163 in this ambitious lottery. 
And it's all for charity by   who will use funds raised to build and rehabilitate wells, washing facilities and toilets in villages and schools in Cameroon, Madagascar and Morocco. 
# Or you could just donate to the charity but remember- 
You Have To Be In It To Win It !!
Below: some snaps from the Picasso exhibition at the NSW Art Gallery including Ros Packer with MP Simon Crean.

### Pablo Picasso's  Nude, Green Leaves and Bust  (right) sold for a mere  $106.5Million in 2010.
To buy a ticket to win your own Picasso go here:

# Whispers has been unwell but has crawled back from death and defeated The Devil (or was it God?) and thus has sadly disappointed so many of our 1000s of readers especially in Russia and the USA with our intermittent reports on Sydney Society (intermittent itself at the best of times)  
But we are back with a vengeance !

Sunday, January 12, 2020

exclusive: Bette Midler supports the fire relief

So many celebrities and 1000s of ordinary members of the public have contributed huge sums to aid the victims of the terrible fires. One donation however has gone unreported. While entertainers like Pink, Elton John who are regular visitors to Australia and homegrown actors like Nicole Kidman and  Chris Hemsworth have come up with the cash, singer Bette Midler who hasn't visited these shores for over 15 years has just donated $500,000. All Heil Bette !.
And she's had a go at Rupert Murdoch at the same time. The entire Murdoch family, worth mega-billions have remained oddly silent. Rupert however has been sunning himself in the Caribbean with with wife Jerry 'Murdoch' nee Hall.
Whispers first saw Bette Midler in a showcase in downtown New York in 1973. We've loved her every since. Such a voice. Here's an example:

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Drinks with Rupert

Media baron Rupert Murdoch's Christmas drinks party in London is a much sought after invite by the powerful and not so great especially for politicians after his various news outlets in the UK publish totally partisan by-partisan tales about elections. Boris Johnson was there will bells on although rumored new Labour front-runner for the leadership Sir Keith Starmer possibly either didn't get a guernsey or if he did, tossed it away after.....
The Sun just ran a scathing article claiming he was a millionaire pretending to be working class and was no pal to workers. He might be a millionaire but his back ground is most definitely working class unlike the Boris the Toff at No Ten whose background is most definitely Upper Class and who went to Eton unlike Starmer who went to a humble northern Grammar School.

However one unexpected guest who lingered in the shadows was actress Cate Blanchett and husband Andrew Upton. Blanchett and Upton have just sold their holiday home at Pittwater and after selling the family home at Hunter's Hill for a grand price, they have relocated to England and purchased a large Manor house (they also have a flat in London and a house in Los Angeles). Cate still owns half a dozen apartments in Sydney bought as an investment for her children.
Blanchett is a Greenie at heart and although Rupert claims he believes in Climate Change most of his editors are unbelievers. Perhaps Aussies who have made it big in the big wide world can't really afford to turn down an invitation from Rupert who is known to make offers folk can't refuse.
# Whispers has been to several parties hosted by Rupert Murdoch. He's a friendly, chatty type of bloke although at the opening of his Sydney Fox Studios when Whispers asked him an innocuous question and he read our name tag stating we were from a rival newspaper he responded: "oh just fuck off"

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Uber's car crash

If people have been wondering why we Aussies have been on the receiving end of a flood of TV commercials for the car ride app and service Uber the mystery has been revealed. Below is the latest featuring Kim Kardashian and Magda Szubanski (as her character Sharon Strzelecki from 'Kath & Kim") Other s have featured a host of local TV and music stars from Ray Martin to Jimmy Barnes.
# The rumored fee for the Kardashian appearance is $1Million while Szubanski was paid $100,000 the fee that mostof the Australian celebs who appear in the adverts receive.
Also while the Uber car share service appears to be doing well in Australia, authorities in the UK have just refused to re-new Uber's license there after  a series of incidents in London:Transport for London says Uber has not been granted a new license to operate in London after ‘several breaches that placed passengers and their safety at risk’ were identified. Uber has confirmed it will appeal against TFL's decision to strip it of its license describing the action as ‘extraordinary and wrong’.
 Uber's use of secret software, called Greyball, which can be used to block regulators from monitoring the app, was another factor, according to TfL”. Uber has claimed “We have fundamentally changed our business over the last two years and are setting the standard on safety".

Monday, November 4, 2019

exclusive: Marie's revelation about the Princess Diana momento

Princess Diana & the late Marie Sutton in Sydney
Marie Sutton was the ex-nurse who conceived of a plan in 1995 to bring the late Princess Diana to Sydney to launch a new charity and medical research facility, the Victor Chang Institute. Victor Chang was a world renowned heart surgeon who was gunned down in a Sydney street by two thugs in a failed kidnap and ransom plot.

Much to Sutton's surprise, and the establishment figures behind her plan, Princess Diana phoned Sutton and said she would be happy to launch the institute and it would be her very last charity appearance before retiring to private life.
And the rest is history.

The Shuttle has written extensively about Marie Sutton over the years- she was fairly good pal having met her at various events in Sydney during Diana's visit.
You can read those tales here : 'Princess Diana broke up my marriage' 

and :  'Marie turns down a $1.6M for the "Diana Diaries'.
But there is one piece of information Marie Sutton told Whispers which we have never revealed before and promised not to while Sutton was alive. Marie passed away at age 73 in September from lung disease.
Only half a dozen people have ever been onto the island at Althorp, the family seat, which is where Diana's grave is. On a visit to Althorp Marie was escorted to the island by Diana's brother Earl Charles Spencer in 1997. And there she found a small memento placed on Diana's grave by her two sons.
It was a small silver box inside which was a locket containing a photo of Diana and her two sons William and Harry. It was to be buried with her coffin and had been placed there in a private ceremony by the boys.
Only a handful of people have ever been to the island where Princess Diana is buried. Marie Sutton was one of them.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Bar Wars

From the 1980s to the mid 2000s Sydney's nightlife was unrivaled anywhere in the world. KIngs Cross and nearby Darlinghurst, mainly Oxford Street were chockablock with nightclubs and bars and more or less open 24 hours a day.
And then came the "lock-out laws" after 2 shocking deaths where 2 innocent men were hit by complete drunken strangers and died after hitting their heads on the pavement. Clubs put up the shutters at 2am.
It's hard to recall the number of night spots that have now vanished but the recent prestige 'Bar Awards' held last night in London tell the story. In the Central Business District of Sydney, exempt from the lock-out laws. 4 bars have been named in the top 50 best bars in the world:
The Baxter Inn in Clarence Street, Bulletin Place near Circular Quay, PS40 in Skittle Lane and Maybe Sammy in The Rocks.

Congratulations guys you had some pretty tough competition from around the world including some legendary drinking spots around the world including London, New York, Singapore and many many more.
And the Top Spot went to Dante in NY's Greenwich Village which is owned by two Australians, Nathalie Hudson and Linden Pride.

Aussie Publishing Wars

High drama as an ex-pat Aussie media man takes legal action against high profile journalist Ronan Farrow (pictured right) who wrote the 2017 New Yorker "expose" on Harvey Weinstein that kicked of the so-called @MeToo movement. He won a 2018 Pullizer Prize for that reporting.
Farrow is the son of actress Mia Farrow and director Woody Allen and the grandson of legendary Australian film writer and director John Farrow who found fame in Hollywood in the 1940s.

Enter from stage right heavyweight publisher Dylan Howard who was brought up in Geelong outside Melbourne and who studied journalism at Deakin University. After working on the daily Geelong Advertiser in 2009 Howard decamped to the US to work as a TV reporter for Kerry Stokes' Seven Network.
Howard left, has become a pretty high powered media personality over the years managing publications like Us Weekly and OK! as well as editing the hugely popular celebrity gossip tabloid the National Enquirer which no US supermarket worth it's salt would dare not feature at the check-out counters.
Recently, with a weekly circulation of over 270,000 the Enquirer was sold for $US100M.

Back to Ronan Farrow who is this month releasing an anticipated tome called Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators which rumours say will document claims Howard attempted to dig up information on Weinstein accuser Rose McGowan ( well he is a journalist- sort of his job really..a bit like Farrow's) along with other tales about US president Donald Trump.
Apparently M'Learned Friend has been contacted by Howard with high powered US, UK and Australasian law firms telling all and sundry in the book business..publisher, retailers etc they could be in line for a legal rumbling should anything untoward appear about their client.
Ronan is the image of his grandfather John Farrow. His book is due to be published on October 15th.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Body Politic

 The prestige auction house Lawsons is at it again. Recently we brought you news of their auction of the former Temple 22. Now they have a timed online auction of  member of Victoria's Parliament Fiona Patten MP collection of erotica !. Patten was a member of the Sex Party and now runs the Reason Party.

Here are some of the "tamer" pieces on sale but you can see an awful lot more:
HERE (*Warning* Explicit Content)

# The poster from the Sydney Morning Herald of "How I Lost My Pants" is a true story of how former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser lost his trousers in a down market Memphis hotel.
You can read it HERE.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

"Hiding" in plain sight?

Much fulminating in the New York tabloids about a very large "super yacht" parked- if you are at a certain angle- obscuring the Statute of Liberty.
The rather grand Hasna is owned by our very own 'Aussie Home Loans' king John Symond, he of the amazing modern mega-mansion (now sold) that peeks out over the bay at Sydney's ritzy Point Piper. Whispers has been to a couple of shindigs there and while it's a very impressive house we were rather disappointed with the very slow lift that takes you down a couple of floors.
# you can buy the Hasna for a cool $97M.

What has actually been missed by the  assembled US media is that John is married to one rather attractive Amber McDonald and the happy couple seem devoted to each other and have recently been traveling the world having the Lady Liberty dispatched to each destination while the pair travel by John's nice little private jet. A fortnight ago it was parked off Los Angeles.

The Symond mansion
Amber McDonald? Who she you ask (or our American readers do). Why she is the ex-wife of one Patrick Keating as seen here in our exclusive wedding photo when the pair were wed at Sydney's impressive St Mary's Cathedral. The pair separated in 2012 after 10 years of marriage and two children. It wasn't an acrimonious parting- they grew apart like couples so often do and have remained friends as some couples also often do.

 In fact the entire Keating family has remained on fairly good terms with Amber and Symond which includes one- Katherine Keating who was recently thrown into the public eye having been seen off by the father of her very close friends- one Prince Andrew from Jeffrey Epsteins' Manhattan mansion.
Is Katherine on the yacht? Well we aren't telling. You decide for yourself. The fact various Keating family members have holidayed on the Hasna is entirely co-incidental.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Katherine Keating in Manhattan Special

Dom Perignon & Ghislaine Maxwell Invite you to a cocktail reception Celebrating the launch of Ideapod

116 East 65th Street, NYC
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Photo above: Katherine Keating, The President Of Iceland- Olafur Ragnar GríMsson, Dorrit Moussaieff, Ghislaine Maxwell.

It takes the tabloid media awhile to catch up. Katherine Keating, daughter of former Prime Minister Paul Keating has been living in New York now for over 10 years.
Keating apparently visited the home of the late Jeffrey Epstein and managed to get photographed by a paparazzi being farewelled by Prince Andrew.
There is a problem with the reporting here though: Epstein's NY house is regarded as one of the cities more substantial residences and he may well have had numerous guests staying over the years. Keating has been photographed with and is apparently pals with Prince Andrew's daughters, hence, it's not too a leap of logic to suggest she was in fact visiting Andrew seeing that it was he who showed her to the door.

Such hyperventilating like this is a tad over the top when the  Daily Mail / MailOnline  say that she must "answer allegations" why she was there. Allegations? Is it really anyone's business why she visited someone?.
Anyway here is a photo roundup from uber New York social snapper Patrick McMullan who knows everyone who should be known in Manhattan and Los Angeles.

# McMullan was a guest at a Sydney exhibition many moons ago at which other guests included the late Min Keating (Paul Keating's mother and Katherine's Grandmother) and the late Lady Sonia McMahon. The three of them got on famously and dined together later.
All photographs; copyright: Patrick McMullan / PMc

Keating is regular seen at the smarter New York parties..with her younger sister Alexandra Keating