COLUMNS

“Last Don” Scribe’s Last Words

  • Capital Connections ®
  • |
  • July 06, 1999

by Karen Feld

A tidbit about the sad loss of “Godfather”author Mario Puzo last week: His most recent and now final book, “Omerta,” scheduled for publication by Random House next year, was finally line-edited, completed and sent in. No sooner had his editor, Jon Karp, called Puzo to tell him the good news — that it had been ‘accepted’ in final form — did Puzo breathe a sigh of relief. “It was only then that he apparently felt free to go,” said an insider. “It was his last breath of life.” Quietly chilling, n’est pas?

“Omerta” is Sicilian for ‘Code of Silence,’ and was Puzo’s last book in a trilogy about power and mafia in America. Puzo was fascinated by power, and an astute observer of its temptations. It’s no surprise that during the Monica saga of last year, he publically expressed sympathy for President Clinton, saying: “The guy doesn’t gamble. He doesn’t drink. What else he is going to do?”

Washington knows how to celebrate Independence Day. Ohio Senator and two-time astronaut John Glenn was recognized as the real hero at the annual July 4 concert at the U.S. Capitol followed by spectacular fireworks at the Washington monument. Actor Barry Bostwick, best known to TV viewers as New York City mayor on “Spin City,” rung in the 4th of July with his rendition of Yankee Doodle Dandy. But he was at a loss for words except to mumble something about the “carpetbagger” issue when asked how he felt about the possibility of Hillary Clinton running for Senator of his home state. Barry, remembering the words of the late House Speaker Tip O’Neill, “all politics is local.” Saxophonist Kenny G, who has jammed with President Clinton at the White House as well as at Democratic fundraisers said he was surprised “no one has asked me to help yet in New York. . . I’ll be getting a phone call soon.” Hillary better call soon – Kenny G has made big bucks off of his Starbucks and eBay investments and could do more than just sing for her campaign. Country singer Jo Dee Messina, vocalist Maureen McGovern, and Nell Carter also entertained at the televised celebration.

Some twenty Members of Congress — Sens. John Glenn and Joe Leiberman and Reps. Henry Waxman and Bill Young among them — attended with their families and partied in the Capitol Rotunda with the cast following the show. For once, Congress couldn’t be blame for the hot air on Capitol Hill – the temperature was 100+ degrees. House Speaker Dennis Hastert was so shy that he wouldn’t even walk into the Rotunda. Instead he stood briefly in the hallway outside; when Nell Carter spotted him, she led the cast in a serenade of “This is My Country.”

Barbara Bush confided to friends that she worries “as only a mother can” about son George “W’s” run for the White House. And mom knows best — she’s been there. She’s concerned about what could come out in the press. “But nothing as embarrassing as with the Clintons” she told pals.

The “Queen of Nice,”Rosie O’Donnell, has agreed to entertain at the 75th birthday bash of the President some considered “too nice” for the office — Jimmy Carter. The US’s 39th President has earned the reputation of elder statesman and humanitarian since his days in the Rose Garden. His birthday is October 1… the bash will be held in Americus, GA.

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