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SINCE YOU ASKED,Petula accidentally ended up on Lennon's 'Peace' record [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (PA)]

November 29, 2013

YellowBrix

"My goal is to be the chocolate Betty White!"

"The View" co-host SHERRI SHEPHERD, speaking to Closer Weekly about her future with the show after Barbara Walters, who helped create it in 1997, exits in the spring,On the Netflix series "House of Cards," who plays Rep. Peter Russo, and what will the actor be in next? -- H.B.

The actor is Corey Stoll, and he previously was best known for playing Ernest Hemingway in Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris." Next up: the thriller "Glass Chin," with Billy Crudup; "The Good Lie," with Reese Witherspoon; "Non-Stop," with Julianne Moore and Liam Neeson; and the thriller "Dark Places," with Charlize Theron and Chloe Grace Moretz. He's shooting "This Is Where I Leave You," with Rose Byrne, and the horror TV movie "The Strain." He goes next into the drama "Anesthesia," with Kristen Stewart and Glenn Close.

I loved Maya Rudolph in the movie "The Way Way Back." Is she doing anything new? -- N.P.

Maya, one of the most popular former cast members of "Saturday Night Live," voices a role in the animated film "The Nut Job," due out in January, and co-stars with Josh Brolin and Owen Wilson in the crime film "Inherent Vice," due out next year.

-- Robin Adams Sloan, King Features Syndicate,After nearly seven decades in the business, several Grammys and countless hit records in the 1960s such as "Downtown" and "I Know a Place," Petula Clark believes she's "beginning to get the hang" of singing.

"I tell you what, I get more enjoyment out of it now," says Petula, who turned 81 earlier this month. "I am singing better now. This is just a bit of luck. I don't do anything for it. I don't warm up. I just go out and sing."

The British singer recently toured her homeland performing her classics, as well as tunes from her new CD, "Lost in You." And she's heading for Australia next year.

Her new disc features some of her own compositions, as well as a cover of "Downtown," which, she says, is "a very different take on it."

She also covers John Lennon's "Imagine," because, she says, she had a great rapport with the late Beatle. Petula met John when he and Yoko Ono were staging a bed-in for peace at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal in 1969.

Petula was in Montreal at the time performing in concert. Because she had recorded songs in French before she hit the top of the charts in the 1960s in England and the United States, she decided to do a bilingual concert. But the audience wasn't happy. "When I was singing in English, the French weren't pleased. When I sang in French, the English weren't pleased."

Though she didn't know John, Petula thought he might have some advice on how to deal with the Montreal audiences.

"I went over to his hotel, and the concierge recognized me," she says. "I just went in, and they were sitting in bed. John was so sweet and funny and totally got the problem. He put it in perspective."

He also invited her to go into the living room and have a glass of wine.

"There were one or two people I knew and a few I didn't," she says. "There was this music going on. I didn't realize at the time they were recording. We all started singing along with the music -- it was 'Give Peace a Chance.' So I just happen to be on the record. I think Timothy Leary was on it and one of the Smothers Brothers."

Petula began singing and acting professionally as a child in the 1940s, appearing in several films, including 1952's "The Promoter" with Alec Guinness. With her recording success, Hollywood beckoned. She starred in two musical movies -- 1968's "Finian's Rainbow" with Fred Astaire and 1969's "Goodbye, Mr. Chips" opposite Peter O'Toole.

A very young Francis Ford Coppola directed "Finian's Rainbow," and George Lucas was his assistant. Fred, she added, was a perfectionist. So much so that he stayed at Warner Bros. on the weekends with his choreographer, Hermes Pan, to work on dance numbers.

"It was near the end of his career as a dancer," Petula says. "He wanted it to be as good as he could be. He was funny. He loved pop music. We would sing together. Making that movie was one of the most joyful moments in my life."

Petula also had a great time with comedy legend Charlie Chaplin. She had scored a huge hit with his tune "This Is My Song," from his final film, 1967's "A Countess From Hong Kong."

Charlie was so delighted with her interpretation of the romantic ballad that he asked to meet her.

"He lived not very far from us in Switzerland," Petula recalls. "I was thrilled to meet Charlie. He was sweet, lovely, funny and very English."

The two had a "wonderful" afternoon together. "We had some really good tea, I must say. He was so thrilled with the success of the song. It sort of turned into a party. His children came in. I played the piano, and they were dancing around the living room."

-- Los Angeles Times

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