Surgery and other medical procedures used to be a private matter. A few years ago at a party, a dear friend who's a local attorney pulled me into a quiet room. There were deep scars behind her ears and bruising around one eye--the only remnants of her face-lift. "Don't tell anybody," she whispered. Another friend, a prominent journalist, once lured me into her bedroom and proudly showed me her breast job. "Do they look real?" she fretted. "I didn't know who else to ask." Today they would probably E-mail photos, post them on their Web sites, or write long articles in national magazines.
What happened this year? Why did so many celebrities think we cared about their body parts? Never before have so many revealed so much. Frankly, too much!
There was Judy Markey's face-lift--photos and all--in McCall's. "The swelling around my eyes isn't completely gone," wrote the WGN radio talk show host. "And parts of my face have no feeling." Yikes! Enough to make you appreciate wrinkles. The shot of her bruised skull is just sickening enough to be interesting, in an autopsy kind of way.
Testing our intestinal fortitude, Today's Katie Couric gave us a TV first: celebrity colonoscopy. Those who tuned in got to see more than they bargained for--way more. Thanks to a tiny camera, we all got a look at Katie's colon, a slimy tunnel covered in blood vessels. For added value her doctor gave the play-by-play, declaring her "clean as a whistle."
MTV's Tom Green let it all hang out when he ran footage on his show of his cancerous right testicle being removed. Then he started a foundation to help others, called the Tom Green's Nuts Cancer Fund. No kidding.
Russell Crowe must have been proud of the shoulder injury he sustained while filming the circus tale Flora Plum: he posted shots of the arthroscopic reconstruction on his Web site (www.russellcrowe.com). And to think, Jodie Foster turned down the sequel to Silence of the Lambs so she could direct this movie.
At least we were spared the gory details when Naguib Mankarious died at Hinsdale Hospital after his nine-and-a-half-hour face-lift. The second husband of cosmetics queen Marilyn Miglin (her first, Lee Miglin, was murdered by spree killer Andrew Cunanan) never made it out of rehab. Of her second dead husband, Miglin said: "He never looked more beautiful."