By Stacy Jenel Smith
James Woods has been getting lots of fresh attention of late, and that's not just because of his forthcoming CBS series, "Shark," about a high-flying defense attorney who turns prosecutor after a crisis of conscience.
Woods is also getting attention due to his "bodacious" girlfriend - to use one of the enthusiastic descriptions employed by one of our male comrades in reportorial arms. That's curvy blond Ashley Madison, reportedly the daughter of one of Woods' golfing buddies. She just turned 20. Right. She's not even old enough to drink yet.
She and he were arm-in-arming it at CBS's Star Party at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena recently. They were eye-catching in a Hollywood cliche sort of way, the craggy 59-year-old star with the hair that has gone from gray to dark to a reddish brown in recent times, and the nubile babe wearing a pretty black and white summer frock that showed off her cleavage. There they stood, sipping a little something at the bar set up on the 30 yard line as the stadium cooled with the sun sinking behind the stands.
We asked how long Jim and Ashley have been together.
"About a year," replied Ashley.
"Yeah, a year, year and a half," Jim added.
And Ashley is in the business?
"I'm an actress," she replied.
"Did you see 'Entourage'? She played my girlfriend in 'Entourage,'" he piped up.
"It was hilarious! I was shocked. I said, 'I didn't know you were this good! If I'd have known that, I wouldn't have, you know, gotten involved with you because it's a threat!' You know, she stole scenes from me."
He tossed his head and told her in mock annoyance, "Get outta here."
They hope to work together again.
Noted Ashley, "I think we have good charisma."
In fact, "Entourage" would like to have the two of them come in and do the show again, according to Jim. With his new series, however, it won't be easy to find the time. His 80-hour-a-week schedule as the star of a drama show "is hard on us because I don't get to spend as much time with my girlfriend - or my family and friends - doing the things I want to do. It's hard on them because they don't have the benefit of my time. But Ashley is phenomenal," he said, and the two of them exchanged smiles.
"She takes care of everything for me. She's so supportive, it makes it easy for me to do the series. Then I want to be sure I think about my responsibility, to make sure she gets what she needs in life, too. That's sort of what a relationship is about. And that's part of our relationship, our friendship. Respecting each other's needs is really important, you know, and I'm aware of the fact I want to carve out precious time with her. You have to take the time and try to have quality time together."
Ah, Jim - you with your genius IQ and your intensity. We've liked you and admired your riveting acting all the way back to 1978's "Holocaust" miniseries and your breakthrough in "The Onion Field' feature in '79 - seven years before Ashley was born -- so we'll leave any cynical thoughts we might have unexpressed. Readers will have their own cynical thoughts, anyway. We'll just wish you the best.
Sure, there are plenty of people who find it creepy, but Woods certainly isn't alone in liking 'em real young. Bruce Willis (whose ex-wife Demi Moore, 43, is, of course, married to 15-years-younger Ashton Kutcher), has had a string of girlfriends who were yet to be born when he was already of age. They've included Brooke Burns and Emily Sandberg, each 23 years younger than he, and 25-years-younger Nadia Bjorlin. The 52-year-old actor linked up with actress Tamara Feldman, who is roughly half his age, when they worked together on the upcoming big-screen psychological thriller, "Perfect Stranger."
"I don't know if I'll ever marry again, although I don't rule it out," he was recently quoted as saying. "I'd like to have some more kids."
There's a 36-year age difference between Clint Eastwood and his current wife, Dina - 35 between Woody Allen and wife Soon-Yi. Harrison Ford is 23 years older than Calista Flockhart. Donald Trump is wed to 24-years-younger Melania Knauss, while his ex-wife, Ivana, has been linked with Rossano Rubicon, who is 23 years her junior. Larry King's wife (his seventh), Shawn Southwick, is 26 years younger than he.
Barbara Hershey is 21 years older than boyfriend Naveen Andrews. Mary Tyler Moore is 18 years older than hubby Dr. Robert Levine. Francesca Annis is 18 years older than Ralph Fiennes. The list goes on and on - and on.
Remember when the late Tony Randall wed pretty blond actress Heather Harlan? Their age difference was a jaw-dropping 50 years. The well-liked actor seemed to have a lot of the public on his side with his startling wedding, perhaps because many knew his first wife, Florence Gibbs, had died after 50 years of marriage that had not been blessed with children. When he and Heather had their daughter in 1997 (their son was born the following year) we recall the studio audience at a live talk show we were doing spontaneously breaking into energetic applause at the news.
If each audience member had stood up and said "More power to you, Tony," they couldn't have expressed themselves more clearly.