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Memories of Paris

April 17, 2001|Ann O'Neill

Nicky and Paris Hilton's former nanny was in town last week, shopping around for a publisher for her tell-all book of life with the pampered, tabletop-dancing hotel heiresses. Diane Willgrass, who says she never signed a confidentiality agreement, worked in Beverly Hills for the Hiltons from 1991 until last year. By her account, it was not easy duty.

Willgrass told us she quit last year, saying she'd finally come to her senses. "I just realized I was living in La-La Land, and I needed to get back to the real world."

The 46-year-old nanny said she aged 10 years during a three-week European vacation when Paris was 9 and Nicky, 7. While their parents saw the sights of London, Paris and Florence, the nanny was charged with entertaining the precocious, towheaded sisters. "You can't take obnoxious children into West London restaurants. We'd just spend all the time in the park," Willgrass said.

During the jaunt, the family's suitcases tripled in number from 14 to 42. "We started off with a limo, ended up with a bus" to carry all the baggage, Willgrass said. And the children received $300 a day for expenses, while their mother spent about $1,000 a day on clothes. "Shop 'til you drop, that one," she said.

Meanwhile, back home there were the poor, poor pets. The menagerie of $500 designer cats, teacup poodles, hamsters, birds and mice suffered from neglect, said Willgrass. "I can't tell you how many pets I've buried." Some "wouldn't get fed." Others, she said, escaped to freedom on Sunset Boulevard, where "they stood a better chance of survival."

Paris Hilton, she added, "danced on tabletops at the age of 9 and has continued ever since." She craves the spotlight and, says the erstwhile nanny, "lets everybody know who she is. Once, I wanted to show her how to make her own bed. She said, 'I'm Paris Hilton. I'll have maids to do that.' "

An assistant at the Los Angeles offices of papa Rick Hilton said the family was on vacation and unavailable for comment. No immediate word on how many suitcases they're schlepping this time.

Rock the Greenhouse

Sarah McLachlan has been lying low lately, building a greenhouse in the backyard of her home in Vancouver, British Columbia, and learning to snowboard. She says she's in no hurry to put out another album or resume touring with her all-female Lilith Fair festival. Instead, she's filling her greenhouse with magnolias, hibiscus, plumeria and "other lovely, smelly tropical stuff."

McLachlan, 33, was in Los Angeles recently for the Rock for Choice show at the Hollywood Palladium, her first live performance since an April 2000 Democratic fund-raiser. "The love was almost embarrassing," she said. "They were singing all the words. I felt like I could do anything up there and it would be fine."


Shannen Doherty, celebrating her 30th birthday with about 60 friends on the back patio of Cafe des Artistes in Hollywood, where the "Charmed" star nibbled on a banana-cream birthday cake. Tom Arnold, supping on lasagna and a chopped salad at La Scala in Brentwood. Hollywood scions Eric Eisner and Chris Brosnan, strolling into Hugh Hefner's 75th birthday party at the Playboy Mansion, even though they weren't on the official guest list. Johnnie L. Cochran Jr., chatting it up in court with SLA bomb plot suspect Sara Jane Olson and her lawyers, Tony Serra and Shawn Chapman.

Closure for Lynn Redgrave

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge on Monday cut the amount of alimony Lynn Redgrave must pay her former husband and ordered him to stay at least 100 yards from the "Gods and Monsters" star.

Judge Arnold Gold also ordered John Clark, who was married to Redgrave for nearly 32 years, not to threaten the actress or contact her in any way.

Clark received two hobby planes and hangars in the split, while Redgrave got to keep a Hirschfeld ink drawing of herself with the ghost of her famed father, actor Michael Redgrave.

Clark's alimony will drop in steps from the $60,000 a year he now receives to $36,000 by Oct. 15, the judge ruled. Redgrave, who is working on a play in London, was not in court and could not be reached. But her lawyer, Emily Edelman, said, "It's a fabulous judgment. Wonderful."

Clark said he would appeal.

The couple's marriage collapsed over Thanksgiving dinner in late 1998, when Clark revealed to Redgrave that he was the biological father of a family friend's child. The woman had married the couple's son, Benjamin, four years earlier, and they'd treated the boy as a surrogate grandson.

Magic Bus

"It has solar panels on top and hemp cloth on the ceilings and walls. We have wheat grass growing inside. It's going to be one of the healthier buses you run up against." --Actor Woody Harrelson, describing the hemp-fueled bus accompanying him on a 1,500-mile bike tour from Seattle to Los Angeles. Along for the ride are his yoga teacher and a crew of documentary filmmakers.

Sweet Inspiration

Cookies in the image of President George W. Bush are flying out of the Dean and Deluca's specialty grocery stores in Washington and New York for $15 a pop. Pastry artist Patti Paige, 49, who votes Democrat, says she decided to immortalize Dubya in gingerbread and icing with "a dopey look"--small eyes, pursed lips and Dumbo ears. "He looks kind of perturbed in these cookies," Paige said. The Clintons, she added, were much more fun to bake.


Times staff writers Louise Roug and Gina Piccalo contributed to this report. City of Angles runs Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. E-mail:

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