We had some fun yesterday with publicist Rob Shuter's deposition from the Paris Hilton-Zeta Graff slander suit, in which the high-priced celebrity mouthpiece admits that he did nothing more than pass on verbatim what his client told him — that Graff attacked Hilton at a London club, which Hilton has now admitted never happened — in the manner she told him to. It's a nice tale, in which all the blame falls on Paris's skeletal shoulders, and steadfast Shuter is shown as dutifully doing his job.
And yet, something doesn't quite ring true.
Now, we would never suggest that Shuter's lying. And we would never suggest that perhaps he's the one who made up the whole story. We're just saying that there certainly seem to be a lot of Barry Manilow-linked coincidences at play.
Let us walk you through the whole thing, won't you?
Part I. Let's flash back to the Page Six item — now acknowledged to have sprung from a manufactured story — that started it all. It's from July 2, 2005:
PARIS NECKLACE-SNATCH FOILED
PARIS Hilton was attacked on the dance floor of a London nightclub Thursday night by a jealous ex-girlfriend of the hotel heiress' fianc , Paris Latsis.
Zeta Graff, who dated Latsis for two years before he dumped her for Hilton, went berserk at Kabaret, where she had to be restrained by security men who escorted her from the club.
Graff suddenly flew at Hilton and tried to remove her necklace. "She was screaming and it looked like she was trying to strangle Paris," said one source.
What set Graff off was partly the music, and partly the necklace. ...
Plus, Paris and Paris and some friends were dancing to Barry Manilow's 1970s hit "Copacabana." As Manilow sang the last verse, Graff, who is 40ish, thought they were laughing at her.
The song goes: "Her name is Lola, she was a showgirl/But that was 30 years ago, when they used to have a show/Now it's a disco, but not for Lola/Still in the dress she used to wear, faded feathers in her hair/She sits there so refined, and drinks herself half-blind/She lost her youth and she lost her Tony/Now she's lost her mind!"
Graff, an actress who had a small part in "The Fifth Element" (1997), reportedly pocketed $15 million from her divorce. Despite recent flings with Val Kilmer and Robbie Williams, she is said to be still pining for Latsis, who recently removed the "Z" tattoo honoring her on his wrist.
"This is a woman who is older and losing her looks, and she's alone. She's very unhappy," said our source. ...
Part II. It's convenient, isn't it, how the lyrics of "Copacabana" so nicely track the "40ish" Graff's life? To refresh your memory, take a look at some relevant lyrics from the Barry Manilow classic, and substitute Graff for Lola (with Paris and Paris as some ambisexual combination of Tony and Rico):
Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl
With yellow feathers in her hair and a dress cut down to there
She would merengue and do the cha-cha
And while she tried to be a star, Tony always tended bar
Across a crowded floor, they worked from 8 till 4
They were young and they had each other
Who could ask for more? ...
His name was Rico, he wore a diamond
He was escorted to his chair, he saw Lola dancin' there
And when she finished, he called her over
But Rico went a bit too far, Tony sailed across the bar
And then the punches flew and chairs were smashed in two
There was blood and a single gun shot
But just who shot who? ...
Her name is Lola, she was a showgirl
But that was 30 years ago, when they used to have a show
Now it's a disco, but not for Lola
Still in the dress she used to wear, faded feathers in her hair
She sits there so refined, and drinks herself half-blind
She lost her youth and she lost her Tony
Now she's lost her mind!
Part III. Now ask who wrote "Copacabana." Well, Manilow, of course. And two others are credited. One of whom is Bruce Sussman.
Part IV. And who's Bruce Sussman?
Let's turn back to our ur-text, Page Six. This time from August 27, 2004:
Sightings... BARRY Manilow songwriter Bruce Sussman and his partner, publicist Rob Shuter, checking out Martha Stewart's $7 million apartment for sale in the Richard Meier building in the West Village."
Shuter, of course, had nothing to do with inventing Hilton's story about Graff, or shaping it for Page Six. It was solely Paris, just like he said, who even passed along the "sourced" quotes that fit the Copa narrative so well. It just happens, it seems, that Paris, too, is conversant in Barry Manilow.
It's all just a big coincidence.