“I’ve had so much plastic surgery, I’m donating my body to Tupperware.”
– Joan Rivers
In my Hollywood, I’m constantly asked by already attractive women if they should get cosmetic surgery. Perhaps it’s because after a week in Los Angeles, they come to realize they’re not the prettiest girl ... they’re just the prettiest girl in their hometown. Taking it one step further, Hollywood image-makers have total control over what’s considered beautiful and often change the game to keep everyone on their toes. At least until limb-lengthening surgery becomes more affordable.
Simply put, the days of growing old gracefully seem to be the real talent. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, over 10 million cosmetic procedures were performed in 2012. I’m guessing most of them were to undo the shoddy work on Lara Flynn Boyle.
According to Dr. Alan Engler, “Regardless of its origins, plastic surgery is now firmly entrenched in our collective psyche. This is evidenced by a short trip to a newsstand or bookstore, or by ‘surfing’ through television or radio stations.” Yes, you read that right, even radio stations. Short of their therapists, I’m one of the only people in Hollywood that’s privy to the fear in a celebrity’s voice, since they hire someone like me to push back their “sell-by date.”
Fact: We all grow old. So how then have Julie Andrews, Judi Dench and “Harry Potter’s” Maggie Smith managed to stamp out a career while in their 70s? They’re all holding out for a remake of “Cocoon.” No, well, actually yes. It’s that they bring talent, or as actress-turned-talkshow host Bonnie Hunt said, “Just ’cause there’s snow on the roof, doesn’t mean there’s not a fire inside.” Sure, maybe they’ve all had a nip or tuck here or there, but when time beats you with the ugly cane, the blue hairs of the silver screen maintain their star power. They rise above it with the expertise of their craft, rather than clinging to an aesthetic everyone else knows they’ve lost. I admit, there’s a certain wisdom that comes with age.
Jamie Lee Curtis admitted in an interview with More Magazine, “I’ve had a little plastic surgery. I’ve had a little lipo. I’ve had a little Botox. And you know what? None of it works. None of it.”
Considered one of the most beautiful actresses of her time, and after getting over the devastation from receiving AARP membership offers, Curtis is the spokeswoman for a yogurt that uses a balance of probiotics to improve digestive health. In others words, Curtis makes a boatload of money admitting she has problems pooping. ... Hey, it happens.
Meanwhile, those who go full-throttle under the knife are simply gambling with their careers. For every Jennifer Grey of “Dirty Dancing,” who doesn’t look anything like the she did in 1987 and still works today, there are a dozen Melanie Griffiths and Daryl Hannahs that look like Halloween all year long. Maybe it’s OK to start auditioning for the grandmother roles. ... There’s only so much work Betty White can handle.
I’m sorry, you think plastic surgery is only for women? Albeit an age and beauty double standard exists, but with a near 10 percent increase in procedures performed on men, I have two words for the guys: Bruce Jenner. I like to think the former athlete is still in training, should Facelifting ever become an Olympic sport.
To wit, it’s also worth mentioning that even Las Vegas comedian Carrot Top is looking less than organic these days. And with an abusive father, I’m sure Michael Jackson was clearly cutting off his nose to spite someone else’s face. However, when you have on-screen badasses like Mickey Rourke, Clint Eastwood and Arnold Schwarzenegger getting work done, the sissifying of men is now complete.
In 1953, Marilyn Monroe was on the cover of Playboy’s very first issue, and today she’d be a model for Lane Bryant. In the modern times of disposable razors, disposable pens and disposable fame, celebrities fear that they too will become a “one-time use” product.
Listen, in my Hollywood, celebs want to keep their face in the limelight as long as possible, but your existence on this planet is only a blink of an eye. That is, unless your eyelids are pulled back so tight you can’t blink.
Michael Levine is a publicist headquartered in Beverly Hills. He has represented 58 Academy Award winners and is now writing a book of essays about his life in Hollywood.
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