Film Scouts Diaries

1997 Cannes Film Festival Diaries
Day 8: What Happened to Howard Stern?

by Richard Schwartz

The man once recognized for pissing off every journalist and celebrity in America is now cozying up to these same journalists and celebrities. The self-dubbed "King of All Media," at a time noted for his refusal to grant any press interviews, is now happily sitting down for one-on-one sessions with every media outlet from "Access Hollywood" to The Sun. And the shock jock often known for his vehement anti-French views has now come to Cannes and declared 'Viva la France!"

This is not the old Howard Stern, that's for sure. The signs were obvious last March when he began a promotional tour for his film "Private Parts." He appeared on every morning and late-night talk show to plug the flick but his act was considerably less brazen and controversial than ever before. No Carson-bashing, no smooching lesbians. Gosh, he even went on "Larry King Live!"

But his arrival in France earlier this week confirmed this change in character. Not only has Howard come to a country he once despised, but he's been especially un-outrageous and un-Stern-like. In fact, the wildest stunt pulled by Stern -- anchoring a giant inflatable likeness of himself in the Mediterranean, which French President Jacques Chirac threatened to have shot down -- was originally done by Arnold Schwarzenegger three years earlier while he was promoting "The Last Action Hero."

The "soft Stern" was again on display at a beach party given in honor of his film Wednesday night at the Majestic. This was not a Howard Stern party in the tradition of "Butt Bongo Fiesta" but rather a staid gathering of studio execs that paled in comparison to the MTV bash of last weekend. There was no Stern stamp on the night's events with a noticeable lack of bare skin and heavy metal music. Instead, ice cream sundaes and selections from the "Grease" soundtrack were featured at a party that resembled more a Bar Mitzvah reception than a legendary Howard Stern fete.

There were a couple scantily clad dancers but Stern would have never seen them as he spent most of the time nestled away from the regular partygoers in a "VIP tent" constructed on-site. And with what outrageous character was he clinking glasses inside this exclusive area? Stuttering John, the Bobbitts, the Buttafuocos? Perhaps the Spice Girls, who occupied Stern's suite at the Martinez prior to his arrival? No, try Mick Hucknall of the band Simply Red and actor Dylan McDermott.

Never mind Joe DiMaggio. Where have you gone, Howard Stern?

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