Honesty and outspokenness may have been the overriding theme at the 12th annual GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) Media Awards, held Monday evening in New York, but someone forgot to tell that to the bevy of stars in attendance. With a few exceptions, the majority of celebs that TV Guide Online corralled along the red carpet played a frustrating game of "I've Got a Secret!" Of course, it's never a good sign when the queen of Hollywood gossip herself GLAAD honoree Liz Smith acknowledges prior to the ceremony that she "never thought about getting any news here tonight."
Still, after some gentle needling, a handful of A-listers let down their guard just long enough to reveal a scoop or two beginning with screen siren Kathleen Turner. The Oscar-nominated actress who was on hand to present Smith with the Vito Russo Award for her efforts in combating homophobia at first remained tight-lipped about her upcoming guest shot as Chandler's cross-dressing dad on the May 17 season finale of NBC's Friends. "I'm not allowed to talk about that," she insisted. "I'm sworn to secrecy."
Well, the star of Body Heat, Romancing the Stone and The War of the Roses eventually let a few details slip, including news that her 13-year-old daughter, Rachel Ann, was recruited to appear in a scene. "She came to the filming and [ended up] in the show," Turner proudly revealed. "She's a huge fan, so she was over the moon." Although the husky-voiced performer said her gender-bending Friends role was "left open," there are no immediate plans for her to return next season. "[But] I had a really good time, and the cast works together wonderfully. They should after all these years, Lord knows."
The gang from Showtime's gay drama Queer as Folk were equally coy when discussing their own show's upcoming season finale (slated to air on June 24). Peter Paige, who plays flamboyant fashionista Emmett, teased that viewers shouldn't expect the racy series to go out with a traditional TV cliffhanger. "We don't do anything traditionally on Queer as Folk," he winked. "But will you be left wondering some things? Absolutely." Paige did rule out one possible nail-biting scenario. "I'm not turning into a woman or anything like that."
Former Cagney & Lacey crimefighter Sharon Gless whose eccentric QAF character is more comfortable with her gay son's sexuality than even he is was far more candid than her male co-stars, noting that Season Two of the testosterone-dominated soap will feature a greater gender equity. "[The producers] are going to start getting some female writers in to take care of the lesbians better," confided Gless, who pointed out that half of QAF's audience is made up of women. "They know there's been complaints, and they're going to take care of it because I took the message to them."
Survivor staple Richard Hatch without whom any gay soiree would be incomplete applauded CBS's move to reveal Survivor: The Australian Outback's jackpot winner live on the air May 3. "I think it's fun," he said. "I think whenever CBS changes [things] slightly to keep people guessing, it's a good thing. It keeps it an interesting show and keeps people watching."
Speaking of Must-See TV, Hatch said that plans for him to host a syndicated daytime version of NBC's hit new game show, The Weakest Link, have not been sidelined. In fact, if the caustic quizzer continues to run roughshod over its competition, expect the out-and-proud nudist to say 'Good-bye' on a daily basis. "We'll know within a week [if it's a go]," Hatch said, adding that the recent all-Survivor version of Link (to air next month) was "really fun."
Theater vet Alan Cumming was basking in the continued success of his hit film Spy Kids, although the dismal box-office debut of his other high-profile movie, Josie and the Pussycats, tempered his excitement a bit. "It's sort of weird when you have two films out at once," said the current star of Broadway's Design for Living. "I'm sad that [Josie] didn't live up to its expectations, but it's nice that Spy Kids was still number one."
Cumming who wrote and directed his next film, The Anniversary Party, with Jennifer Jason Leigh (it opens June 8) suggests that Josie may have suffered from too much hype. "Maybe people are tired of it," he hedged. "Maybe they [started the promotion] too early and people were bored by it... That's just a theory. Or maybe people think it's for kids and then kids don't go because they think it's for older people. I can go on all night with these theories..."
Joan Collins flanked by an entourage of publicists had a theory as to why she has yet to follow up her scene-stealing guest turn on Will & Grace with other sitcom cameos. "I think everybody is groveling for work now," the former Dynasty vixen confessed, alluding to the impending actors strike. Instead, Collins, like many of her fellow thesps, plans to hit the boards over the summer. "I'm talking about doing a play in London," she hinted, "but we have to get the right leading man."
Florence Henderson (aka Mrs. Brady) had a casting tip for producers of Fox's upcoming TV movie, The Brady Bunch in the White House. The 67-year-old TV icon said she'll make an appearance in the pic "only if they let me be President. Carol Brady for President? I mean, come on! You would vote for me, right? I may run in the next election."
Paging Liz Smith...