- The Washington Times - Monday, March 27, 2006

Blabbing on Babs

Sometimes you can’t win.

Just days after rumors began swirling about a Barbra Streisand concert tour comes word of Christopher Andersen’s “Barbra: The Way She Is” (William Morrow, 448 pages), a tell-all tome that offers an unauthorized and candid account — warts and all — of the superstar’s legendary career.

According to the New York Post, Mr. Andersen’s book (in stores today) not only offers accounts of Miss Streisand’s affairs with both Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s doomed lover,Dodi Fayed, it also states that her conquests included Warren Beatty, Ryan O’Neal, Steve McQueen, Andre Agassi, Richard Gere, Kris Kristofferson, Don Johnson, Jon Voight, Elliott Gould (her first husband), Omar Sharif, ice cream heir Richard Baskin, hairdresser-turned-studio-chief Jon Peters, Liam Neeson, Peter Jennings, Tommy Smothers and “Robocop” Peter Weller.

What’s really sure to grab readers’ attention, though, is Mr. Andersen’s painstaking portrait of Miss Streisand’s “[Maria] Callas-sized” ego, extreme paranoia and cringe-inducing tantrums. Among the book’s many highlights:

• Hillary Rodham Clinton banned her from Bill Clinton’s White House after learning she had stayed overnight while the first lady was in Arkansas at her father’s deathbed.

mAs a member of the chorus at Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn (alongside Neil Diamond), Miss Streisand never had a solo — and her half-sister, Roslyn Kind, was widely considered more talented.

mMiss Streisand’s frugality became legendary early. Even when she and then-boyfriend Jon Peters were transforming their Ramirez Canyon compound, “Supply companies, contractors and pool builders would have to resort to placing liens on the property if they wanted to get paid,” Mr. Andersen writes.

Her personal worst

Patti LaBelle struggled through a weekend show after taking the stage at midnight, at one point sitting down and crying.

“I’ve never been this embarrassed in my life,” the Grammy-winning singer told the crowd Saturday at the Riviera Beach Jazz & Blues Festival in Riviera, Fla. “It’s the worst show I’ve ever done in my life.”

As temperatures dipped into the low 50s, Miss LaBelle explained that she’s nearly 62, has diabetes and a heart murmur — and the cold weather wasn’t agreeing with her, Associated Press reports. The R&B; star tried to belt out a few notes, then told fans huddled under blankets that she would understand if they walked out on her. A steady stream of people left the show during her 45 minutes onstage after waiting hours through opening acts.

Miss LaBelle struggled through her 1975 hit “Lady Marmalade” with assistance from a few in the crowd and sang some gospel songs and “On My Own” before retreating.

No stroke, Hayes says

Isaac Hayes is slamming reports that claim a stroke he suffered in January was the real reason he quit “South Park,” according to a story published yesterday on the Internet Movie Database.

On March 13, the 63 year-old Mr. Hayes, a Scientologist, walked away from his voice-over role as the character Chef on the popular Comedy Central animation series, claiming he could no longer support the controversial comedy’s “inappropriate ridicule of religious communities.”

“South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have killed off the character of Chef in the opening episode of the new season, which sees the culinary lover man depicted as a pedophile before dying in a series of grisly events.

Mr. Hayes insists his health has nothing to do with his decision to leave the show and says the only time he went into a hospital was to receive treatment for high blood pressure and exhaustion.

“That’s a false report,” IMDB.com quotes his publicist, Amy Harnell, as saying. “He wasn’t in the hospital for very long. He’s back on his feet and doing really well. … He is the one who decided to leave ‘South Park.’ Basically, he decided to leave it behind him.”

Miss Harnell added that Mr. Hayes — who performed before a sold-out house at the Birchmere in January — is busy preparing himself for fatherhood again because his fourth wife Adjowa is expecting a baby “due any minute.”

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports.

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