I’ve been given some delightful presents by guests on my show over the years — including a magnificent box of rare teas from Whoopi Goldberg, a signed Celtic football shirt from Rod Stewart and, most recently, a bottle of Bordeaux from Charlie Sheen. But few have had the personal touch of Mia Farrow’s offering today.
Mia has had an extraordinary life. A brilliant actress, she’s made 50 films, including The Great Gatsby, Robert Altman’s cult classic A Wedding and Hannah And Her Sisters. Off screen, she married Frank Sinatra, and then the brilliant conductor André Previn, before having a long relationship with Woody Allen that collapsed when she discovered he’d been having an affair with her adopted daughter, Soon-Yi.
Amid all this, she has raised 15 children — four biological, 11 adopted. And also, incredibly, found time to passionately promote numerous causes as a Unicef ambassador, such as the crisis in Darfur. So what was her gift? A carton of six eggs from her eight chickens, which are all named Gladys. ‘Freshly laid this morning!’ she said.
And very tasty they were, too. ‘Mr Morgan! Fancy seeing you here!’ I looked up, expecting to see a wide-eyed fan who I would then have to fend off with skilful but firm determination.
Instead, I saw Tom Hanks smiling at me. ‘Mr Hanks!’ ‘Mind if I join you?’ he asked. I toyed with saying ‘Absolutely not’, purely to see how one of the world’s great movie stars deals with rejection. But raw, naked excitement got the better of me. ‘Of course!’
I interviewed Tom for my CNN show last week, as I recorded in this column. (He’s making his Broadway debut in Lucky Guy, a play about a harddrinking Irish tabloid journalist called Mike McAlary, the last work by the late Sleepless In Seattle director Nora Ephron.) And it would be hard to find a more down-to-earth superstar. A word I rarely use, as so few people actually deserve it. But Hanks has been nominated five times for Oscars, winning the Best Actor award twice. And his movies have grossed more than $8bn worldwide — making him the highest-earning box-office star in Hollywood history. So yes, I think the mantle of ‘superstar’ rests easily on his shoulders. Yet he was on his own today, no minders or entourage. And for the next half an hour we chatted about everything from movies to the media, to Justin Bieber, who was in the news for lashing out at a photographer.
‘Do you resent the paparazzi?’ I asked. ‘No. They’re part of the business,’ he replied. ‘But I don’t like thugs, and some of them are thugs. The problem is that celebrities are dime-a-dozen — you can do almost anything and be a celebrity now. So the pictures aren’t as valuable any more. I cornered a guy who was photographing me as I walked my dog and said, “Dude, who cares about me and my dog?” And he said he was trying to get someone else’s My 15- month- old daughter, Elise, has the attention span of a small gnat (no idea where she gets that from) and developed a brutally quick and withering assessment of anything I put in front of her that might qualify as ‘entertainment’. Teletubbies was met with a resounding ‘NO!’ after 15 seconds this morning and Dean Martin’s Mambo Italiano was destroyed with a rapid-fire burst of ‘NO! NO! NO!’ after 11 seconds. My first thought was to have her examined by a top Beverly Hills psychiatrist for Attention Deficit Disorder. But then I had a better idea — to call Simon Cowell and suggest she’d make a great X Factor or Britain’s Got Talent judge in 2034.