Daily News from New York, New York on September 16, 2021 · 33
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Daily News from New York, New York · 33

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New York, New York
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Thursday, September 16, 2021
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33
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DAILY NEWS NYDailyNaws.ctxn Tnuraday, September 16, 2021 33 i mint lj m ii in- lHimiw TSMfli Gossip star Johnson begins new run with Daily News BY BRIAN NIEMIETZ NEW YORK DAILY NEWS If you thought he was done, you dont know Dick. Richard Johnson has put gossip-legend status on hold for one more stint as a gossip columnist His return to the biz comes just two years after retiring from the industry he revo lutionized while running the New York Post" s Rage Six gossip page for a quarter century. The Greenwich Village native's re turn to the Daily News, where he served a short stint in 1991, begins this weekend with a column that will post online Friday and appear in Sunday's paper. "I got bored of being retired,'' Johnson said of his comeback. He passed the time by playing golf and tennis but, according to Johnson (photo), his scores didnt get any better, so he circled back to what he knows. While sitting on the sidelines, Johnson said he'd sometimes read gossip scoops that didnt square with what he knew about the parties involved. "I'd see some stories and think 'What?"' he said. That doesnt make any sense whatsoever" Johnson notes that because of COVID, no one in the city was really covering shows, restaurants and events while he was out of the game. He's not sure which hotspots will be rocking when the city gets back into full swing, but that's where hell be. "All my favorite spots are closed now," he said. Elaine's, which shuttered in 2011, comes to mind for Johnson as one of many places that helped him fill his columns over the years. He reckons ifll be business as usual at celeb haunts like The Waverly Inn. While he plans to be responsible about hitting the town, Johnson said he doesnt see the paranoia that existed six months ago among New Yorkers and reckons normalcy isnt too far away. His new column aims to strike a "balance" between people who dont want to be in the gossip pages and those who da "I hope to cover the exciting celebrities that are doing interesting things and not write about the more boring celebrities who appear all too often,'' he said. Kim Kardashian immediately leapt to Johnson's mind as the latter. "As somebody pointed out, that way, someone else cant take over your column," he joked. VhKHtirOMMo(hrrJ, who ptaystlM Rml Jcny Mvwl hi "11m tyes of ikmmy RQftMMQistlM movfeoffim f r a mon complete portnori of jfi?-:IL mil ii rtnlmjM 4 JI BYJAMI QANZ NEW YORK DAILY NEWS They went to hell and back. Michael Showalter's "The Eyes of Tammy Faye" in theaters Friday and based on the 2000 documentary of the same name, explores the heavenly rise and hellish fall of televangelists and "The PTL Club" hosts Tammy Faye and Jim Bakker, played by Jessica Chastain and Andrew Garfield. "Obviously there were the things on 'Saturday Night Live1 about it and there was other comedy stuff about it and stuff, but only on the peripheral did I really pay attention to it," Vincent D'Onofrio, who plays the Rev. Jerry Falwell, told the Daily News of watching the scandal unfold at the time. As the Baptist pastor and conservative activist, D'Onofrio's Falwell is the nail in the coffin of the Bakkers' reputation and 'i IK is W extravagant lifestyle when he swooped in after "PTL" went bankrupt Though a self-described lifelong "bleeding heart liberal,'' the Brooklyn-born "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" star, 62, spent part of his childhood in the South and with "very religious" neighbors, in turn making him well aware of televangelists from a young age. "I remember being over at their house and there were TV evangelists on their televisions, and I understood that they were preaching. And I understood that they were asking for money and stuff like that But back then, I wasnt aware of being a liberal or somebody being on the far right ... they were just friends. ... I was never really privy to anything that would bring up any kind of division. Although obviously there has always been," said the "Full Metal Jacket" star. While he generally associated televangelists with "the very far right" - and some who he "considered snake oil salesmen types" - what he knew of the Bakkers never seemed to fall under that umbrella. Tammy Faye's acceptance of the LGBTQ community is highlighted throughout the film - her status as a gay icon less so - in part when she interviews Steve Meters, a gay minister, about the way people have treated him since his diagnosis with AIDS. Of course, anyone who lived through the '80s or watched Fen-ton Bailey and Randy Barbato's documentary, knows the story of the Bakkers - from Tammy Faye's quirky and unmissable tattooed -on makeup to the couple's stint as television puppeteers. But Showalter's film takes a different approach to its "very full and wonderful" predecessor, said D'Onofrio. The documentary, he said, "went a little bit snarky, like they make fun of them about the puppets thing and all of that And that is a little goofy but, you know, where I come from, like, entertainers and all kinds of storytellers do goofy stuff in their careers. You know, like that's what they do, that's how they start ... I thought that that was a little bit of a cheap shot" The "Men in Black" actor pointed to the people with whom his father had been in community theater, where "there were all kinds of different entertainers." While he feels this film lends more heart and humanity to both Tammy Faye and Jim, D'Onofrio points out the documentary could only convey so much with the available footage. This film, he says, offers audiences "a more fair look at the whole thing," which he credits largely to the performances of an unrecognizable Chastain as well as Garfield.

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