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Who really snapped that steamy "Mapplethorpe" photo that disappeared from Drudge's Web site? Plus: Kidman and Kravitz swear they're just friends, and Wenner confiscates cellphones at Britney party.

By Salon Staff

Published September 26, 2003 6:59PM (EDT)

Anyone wondering what happened to the disappearing "Mapplethorpe" photo on Matt Drudge's Web site earlier this week will be interested to know that the moody booty shot wasn't actually a Mapplethorpe at all. The steamy photo -- which accompanied a Drudge "exclusive" that the Schwarzenegger campaign was "scrambling to contain full nude erotic photographs" of the gubernatorial candidate that have been "kept under lock by the estate of Robert Mapplethorpe in New York" -- was apparently taken by Annie Liebovitz, who insisted that Drudge remove it from his site. What's more, the people in charge of the late Mapplethorpe's estate say that, though the photographer did take photos of Schwarzenegger, they are unaware of any "shocking nudes." Now, now ... keep your "Drudge has egg on his face" comments to yourself. (Rush and Molloy)

Best of the Rest
Page Six: pranksters post phony bio of "The Restaurant" star chef Rocco DiSpirito, calling him "bi-curious" and egocentric, the former of which is apparently untrue; Rick and Kathy Hilton buy daughters Paris and Nicky a Mercedes each; Fred Durst hints that he's smitten with the very married Halle Berry; Al Franken says he didn't skip out on Laura Ingraham's show because he was skeered, says, "I'm perfectly happy to do conservative shows. I'm not afraid of anything. I'm not afraid of her. I just didn't want to do her show."

Rush and Molloy: Nicole Kidman and Lenny Kravitz insist they're only friends but rumor has it that they're engaged; 50 Cent detained for questioning at London's Heathrow airport; Dick Cheney said to be building a "nuclear bunker" beneath his official vice presidential residence; Madonna in New York at kabbala retreat in honor of Jewish New Year, refuses to actually sign books or pose for pictures at book signing; Cheryl Tiegs shows floating-cat and floating-violin paintings at New York club in honor of her 56th birthday.

Boldface Names: Rapper Cam'ron explains hip-hop appeal of "Scarface": "It wasn't necessarily the drug content or the guns or anything. I just really like the fact of a guy coming from having nothing, going to having everything"; Jann Wenner has cellphones confiscated at party thrown on behalf of Britney Spears. Spokesman explains, "A lot of them these days have cameras on them ... No one wants their picture taken when they're eating or drinking"; increasingly less portly Alec Baldwin says losing weight for upcoming film is "going to be the great challenge of my life."

-- Amy Reiter

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Farewell, George Plimpton and Robert Palmer. When people die within hours of each other we are tempted to look for connections. In this case, both men were stylish in a way that is now too often considered square. Plimpton was the ultimate prep, with insouciant attitude and patrician air. Palmer was a bespoke rocker. Both seemed to achieve a whimsical delight from their careers. Surely, they will be at the same A-list celestial soiree this evening.

Gwyneth Paltrow was spotted buying vibrators the other day at a New York shop, but as her squeeze Chris Martin waited nervously outside she explained that they were for a girlfriend's bachelorette party. (IMDB)

Bruce Willis channeled Bob Hope this week and performed for the troops in Iraq. The action star's goodwill tour included a rock concert for hundreds of soldiers about 35 miles from the Syrian border. Said one soldier, "He's my favorite actor ... He's a macho actor. Soldiers identify with action movies and action actors. He's a guy's guy." Who wants to bet the guys would have rather seen his ex, Demi Moore strutting her stuff. As for Willis, he was all macho man, yelling to the crowd, "If you catch him, just give me four seconds with Saddam Hussein." (ABC News)

Watch out, Arnie, Martina Navratilova may be chasing you soon, with tennis racket raised. The 47-year-old champion said this week that she is going to retire in 2005 and that "If Arnold Schwarzenegger can run for governor in California, then who knows? I have the muscles. I will be involved, especially the way things are going right now. The conservative party is too strong." (CBS News)

Al Franken insists he never promised to appear on Laura Ingraham's show. She has taunted him with "Come on Al ... come out, come out wherever you are!" Franken says "... part of the reason I didn't want to do her show is because Laura does this kind of thing." Watch out, Laura, Al's next book may be "Blond Bullies and the Bullied People they Bully." (Page Six)

From the "We're all still in kindergarten" department: Bow-tied wonder Tucker Carlson, defending telemarketers on "Crossfire," was challenged by an e-mail from a viewer to give out his own home phone number. He gave out the number of Fox's Washington bureau instead. When the Fox guys started getting calls they retaliated by posting Carlson's number on their Web site. OK, can everyone just go take a nap now? (World Net Daily)

-- Karen Croft

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