Ships in the Night
Cher, now celebrating her 71st birthday, was just a teenager when she hooked up with one of Hollywood's hottest leading men, and the next day they went their separate ways. Here's the backstory on that and 14 other brief celebrity liaisons.
Cher & Warren Beatty
They crossed paths at an L.A. nightclub in 1962. Cher was just 16, soon to meet Sonny Bono and sing backup on hits like "Be My Baby." Beatty, 25, was dating Natalie Wood, his co-star in "Splendor in the Grass." As Cher tells it, her hook-up with Beatty happened for the wrong reasons. "I did it because my girlfriends were crazy about him and so was my mother…" she told Playboy in 1988. "What a disappointment! Not that he wasn't technically good … but I didn't feel anything. So, for me, I felt there's no reason for you to do that again."
Grace Slick & Jim Morrison
Slick was "the perpetrator," according to her 1999 memoir. She knocked on Morrison's hotel room door during a Doors/Airplane tour in 1968, and minutes later they were fooling around with a plate of strawberries. ("It wasn't '9 ½ Weeks' ... using food as erotic lubricant; it was more like kindergarten play.") Grace remembers the Lizard King as "surprisingly gentle" and observes that "the most maniacal guys on stage can be such sublime lovers." Afterward, she told him she'd return only if asked. "He smiled, but never asked."
Carly Simon & Jack Nicholson
Simon had carnal knowledge of Nicholson one night in 1970 after meeting him at a mutual friend's apartment. He suggested going to her place for coffee and, once there, nonchalantly asked, "Do you ever drink coffee in your bedroom?" But the recent Oscar winner (for "Easy Rider") was "starting to see a woman he felt serious about," so that's as far as it went, Simon wrote in her 2015 autobiography. "My brief fling with the handsome, famous, funny, clever Jack was akin to a promising summer rental that gets cancelled at the last minute."
Marianne Faithfull & Keith Richards
In 2014, London's Daily Mail asked singer Marianne Faithfull to single out the best night of her life. "The night I spent with Keith," she said, referring a very brief liaison with Keith Richards back in the '60s, when she was Mick Jagger's girlfriend. "Even now, it stands out. I think it was so great and memorable because it was just one night. That was it. And we're still great friends."
Gloria Vanderbilt & Marlon Brando
After seeing 1954's "On the Waterfront," Gloria and her friend Carol Grace (the inspiration for Holly Golightly in "Breakfast at Tiffany's") both set their sights on Brando, according to a 2016 book by Vanderbilt and her son Anderson Cooper. Carol hooked up with the actor first. When it was Gloria's turn, she was stunned to find that Brando kept a framed photo of himself next to his bed. Vanderbilt was a little bummed that he didn't call afterward, but quickly got over it: She ended up at a party the next night, where she kissed Gene Kelly.
Courtney Love & Kate Moss
First Howard Stern coaxed Love into dishing about a night she spent in Italy with "a hot supermodel" who "pretty much chased me around the room—literally, like she was the aggressor." (The alt-rocker recalled saying to herself, "You know what? If you're gonna do it, do it with that one.") In a later interview, she revealed the model's identity. "It was Kate Moss," Love said. "She doesn't care. It's a great story for the grandchildren, so yeah."
Gina Lollobrigida & Christiaan Barnard
A French magazine called Dr. Barnard, who became an instant celebrity in 1967 when he performed the first human heart transplant, one of the world's great lovers, and he seemed out to prove it. The South African surgeon dated Sophia Loren and bragged about a night he spent with Gina Lollobrigida, claiming that she drove him back to his hotel wearing nothing but a mink coat. That was in 1968. Decades later, the Italian sex symbol said simply: "I hate that man."
Janis Joplin & Joe Namath
Pearl made no bones about her one-night conquests (her go-to pickup line: "Hiya, honey"). After hooking up with Jets quarterback Joe Namath in 1969, she urged a friend to call publisher Jann Wenner. "Tell him Janis f---ed Namath and I want it in the next Rolling Stone," she said, according to a 1999 biography. Wenner obliged, and when the story appeared in print, Janis clipped and framed it.
Janis Joplin & Leonard Cohen
Leonard Cohen's 1974 song "Chelsea Hotel #2" recalls his brief encounter with Janis: "I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel / You were famous, your heart was a legend / You told me again you preferred handsome men / But for me you would make an exception"
Cohen later said: "She wasn't looking for me, she was looking for Kris Kristofferson; I wasn't looking for her, I was looking for Brigitte Bardot. But we fell into each other's arms through some process of elimination."
Peggy Lipton & Elvis Presley
Even for sex symbols, a one-night stand can be a letdown. In her 2005 memoir, "Mod Squad" star Peggy Lipton recalled Elvis as "a great kisser" but didn't have much good to say beyond that. Back in the '50s, a teenage Natalie Wood was similarly underwhelmed, but the King's longtime girlfriend Linda Thompson later rose to his defense, reporting that Presley had "serious skills."
Michelle Phillips & Roman Polanski
Polanski had a tryst with Phillips in London while his wife Sharon Tate was making a movie in Rome. Then came 1969's Tate-Labianca murders. Polanski, in shock, hatched a theory: Michelle's husband John, leader of the Mamas and the Papas, had slaughtered Sharon and friends in a jealous rage over the director's fling with Mama Michelle. Roman examined Papa John's car for bloodstains and, according to the singer, even confronted him with a knife ("Did you kill Sharon? Did you?") before the crime was linked to Charles Manson.
Brenda Lee & Bobby Darin
This one got awkward. As Darin's publicist Mimi Greenberg told his biographer, "He had a one-night stand with her, which Brenda Lee didn't know was going to be a one-night stand. This was in Las Vegas. Brenda fell madly in love with him … He, I think, was a little scared." And for good reason: Little Miss Dynamite stood only 4'9", but according to Greenberg, some good ol' boys in her circle began to threaten Darin before everyone finally simmered down.
Jack Kerouac & Gore Vidal
Vidal was already famous and Kerouac had yet to write "On the Road" when they met in 1949, both in black tie, at the Metropolitan Opera. From there, it was downtown to the Chelsea Hotel and a scene that Kerouac would describe—minus the sex—in "The Subterraneans." In his 1995 memoir "Palimpsest," Vidal recalls chatting in an airport with a young French dude wearing a Jack Kerouac T-shirt long after the Beat writer died. "I am in love with him," the youth explained. "So was I," said Vidal. "For a few minutes, anyway."
Princess Diana & JFK Jr.
It's too late to confirm this with either of them, but "personal healer"-turned-author Simone Simmons claims to have been a confidante of the People's Princess. The story goes that JFK Jr. had been pursuing an interview with her for his magazine George in 1995 when he met Diana in her suite at New York's Carlyle Hotel. According to "Diana: The Last Word," Lady Di later told Simmons, "We started talking, one thing led to another—and we ended up in bed. It was pure chemistry." Not to mention a surefire way to sell books.
Marilyn Monroe & David Niven
Niven belonged to a British commando unit that landed on D-day and helped liberate concentration camps, and after the war he experienced what we now call PTSD. "I had some bizarre illness,' a 2009 biography quotes him as saying. "I had to have sex. It was the only way of deadening the pain." That led to a series of one-night stands, including one that should have been more memorable: "I only remember waking up … in a friend's bedroom with the worst hangover, and lying next to me was this starlet called Marilyn Monroe."
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