Hollywood on the Potomac

'Argo' Wins Big

January 22, 2019

Tony Mendez, the former CIA technical operations officer who orchestrated the 1980 rescue of six American diplomats from Iran and who was portrayed by Ben Affleck in the Academy Award winning film “Argo,” has died. He was 78.  


Argo was the big winner at the SAG awards.  Hollywood on the Potomac looks back at the DC Premiere.


Arch Campbell remembers the 1979 Iran Hostage crisis: “You would drive by the Islamic Mosque on Massachusetts Avenue where The Rock Creek Parkway goes and there was always a huge demonstration. It was a very scary, a very tense frightening time.

There was a demonstration on Mass. Ave. every day. All these demonstrations started there.”  We caught up with TBD’s movie critic at the Washington screening of ARGO at the Regal Gallery Place Theater in Penn Quarter.

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'Life is Wonderful: Mandela's Unsung Heroes'

January 21, 2019

Just when you thought you knew everything about Nelson Mandela – South Africa’s anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999 – along comes writer/director Sir Nick Stadlen. The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) hosted a private screening at Georgetown’s AMC Theater preceded by a reception at Dyllan’s Raw Bar and followed by a discussion featuring H.E. Mninwa J. Mahlangu, Ambassador of South Africa for his new movie: Life is Wonderful: Mandela’s Unsung Heroes.

About the film: “Discover the story behind the famous Rivonia Trial, where Nelson Mandela fought for the freedom of South Africa and changed history. Everyone knows about Mandela’s brave fight against apartheid. But he did not act alone. In this award winning new film, based on never before seen interviews, former English High Court Judge Sir Nick Stadlen tells for the first time  the story of  Mandela’s  co-defendants and lawyers. It is an inspiring story of courage and self-sacrifice on the part of a small  multi racial group of idealists who took on the might of a ruthless police state. It sowed the seeds of  the peaceful transition to a multi-racial democracy when Mandela emerged from prison 27 years later.”

“We discovered that there were  three surviving codependents of Mandela and three members of his legal defense team still alive, and with razor sharp memories whose stories have not been recorded. Since they were and are such inspiring stories, we thought that they should be recorded.” Stadlen told us. “And if I was a young South African, disillusioned with the then corruption and craze, I would want to know that my physical freedoms have been won by such heroic figures, some of whom are still alive, and they are very inspiring stories.”

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Curse of Hope!

January 13, 2019

As reported in the Palm Beach Shiny Sheet, “Mildred ‘Brownie’ McLean, a longtime fixture on the Palm Beach social scene who once turned down the Hope Diamond, died at home Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019, at age 101. Known as ‘The Duchess of Palm Beach,’ Mrs. McLean led a grand and glamorous life full of parties, travel, philanthropy and adventures that included not only her brush with the legendary diamond but the selling of her Palm Beach home to John Lennon and Yoko Ono.”

This note was published when she turned 100: Brownie McLean, grande dame of Palm Beach, turned 100 on Bastille Day.  I was introduced to her many years ago by Baroness Garnett Stackelberg with whom I often went to Palm Beach.  My favorite destination with Brownie was a trip to Morocco for the King’s birthday where we stayed at La Mamounia in Marrakech and where she was a fixture on the disco dance floor until 3 AM and where and when I became friends with Astronaut Alan Sheppard.  The Palm Beach Post (The Shinny Sheet) has just published an article to commemorate her birthday.


My article and interview with Brownie was first published in 2013:

When we noticed a photo in Biznow of The Hope Diamond gawkers at The Smithsonian with this commentary: “Economic Club prez David Rubenstein pulled out the Hope Diamond, the Smithsonian’s most valuable item ($200M) and everyone ran up to snap a cell phone photo, including Anthony Williams and Mark Ein,” we couldn’t help ourselves.  We called “Brownie” McLean, daughter in law of Evalyn and Ned McLean, (the last private owners of the Hope Diamond) in Palm Beach. OK, so you can see where this is going.  But first, a little background on the famous jewel.

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