At Bash for Valenti Book, Everything but the Man Himself

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Jack Valenti book party without Valenti? Kinda like champagne without the bubbles.

Last night's bash for "This Time, This Place: My Life in War, the White House and Hollywood" at the Motion Picture Association of America had all the trappings of a high-profile launch -- but not the author, who died in April shortly after completing the memoir.

The posthumous party, hosted by Dan Glickman, Valenti's successor as MPAA president, was one of three big celebrations originally scheduled for the silver-tongued networker, who also personally lined up an extensive round of television, radio and newspaper interviews for this month and July. "Every time I see Larry King or Oprah Winfrey, I see Jack promoting his book," Glickman told the crowd.

Alas, it was not to be. So how to sell this book -- full of tales from Texas, D.C. and Tinseltown -- without the charismatic storyteller to push it? "If Jack were here today, we fully expected 'This Time, This Place' to be a New York Times bestseller," said Shaye Areheart, publisher of Harmony Books, a division of the Crown Publishing Group. "Obviously, that's less likely without him." There's no author tour, though his widow, Mary Margaret, autographed books last night and is scheduled to appear on the "Today" show tomorrow with daughter Courtenay; family friend Michael Douglas stepped in to record the abridged audio version of the book.

With a printing of 100,000, the book officially came out two weeks ago; Harmony actually shipped it to bookstores in mid-May and bought front-of-the-store displays for Father's Day. Areheart said it is selling "steadily and well" but declined to give figures; Nielsen BookScan reports only 2,300 copies have been sold since its release -- and we know he had a lot more friends than that.

HEY, ISN'T THAT . . . ?

· Gilbert Arenas and family, vacation-bound, at LAX on Monday. The Wizards star, in long black shorts and a T-shirt, was graciously shaking hands while enduring some crisis at the airport baggage claim. Toddler daughter Izela (1 1/2 , and tall for her age!) ran around in a cute pink dress; she cried a bit when mom Laura Govan walked away, so Agent Zero picked her up to console her. Also in transit: their 3-month-old son Alijah Amani. Arenas told a fellow traveler they were headed to Tahiti. Must be nice.

QUOTE . . .

"It's like saying, 'You run really fast for someone with clubfeet.' Or, 'You're very nice for someone who did jail time for assault with a deadly weapon.' "

-- former first daughter Patti Davis, in the July/August issue of More, a magazine for 40-plus women, on being told one too many times that she looks good for her age. In her essay, Ronald Reagan's daughter, who is 54, credits good genes, healthy living -- and, yeah, also having "had work done."


· Engaged: Douglas Ginsburg, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, and Washington writer Deecy Gray. Ginsburg, 61, was the Supreme Court nominee whose chances went up in smoke when he admitted to having smoked marijuana; Gray ("young at heart") is the sister-in-law of Boyden Gray. Second marriage for both; a fall wedding is planned.

· Wed: Jon Cryer, 42 -- star of the CBS sitcom "Two and a Half Men" but, yeah, also Duckie in "Pretty in Pink" -- to TV Guide Channel host Lisa Joyner, 40, in Mexico over the weekend.

· Born: A son to actress Keri Russell, 31 -- star of that new indie flick "Waitress" but, yeah, also Felicity on that show "Felicity" -- and her husband, contractor Shane Deary, in N.Y.C. on June 9, though for some reason her publicist is only telling us now. His name? River.

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