This Week In The Hills: Maria Arena Bell Is Celebrated, Constance Towers Reports On The LA Philharmonic Opening And George Chakiris Collection Remains An International Success, Highlight Hollywood News

This Week In The Hills Hollywood is reeling from the murder of a beautiful and beloved neighbor in Los Feliz. It was the shocking murder and suicide of “Sons of Anarchy” star Johnny Lewis that captured the community’s attention. But other things happened as well. The Los Angeles Philharmonic was a splendid and smashing success. Our Beverly Hills iconic socialite and superstar actress Constance Towers reports, “Los Angeles is coming of age.”  While Maria Bell had her best week ever over her tenure as Executive Producer and Head Writer of William J. Bell’s creation, “The Young and the Restless.” The show celebrated its 10,000TH episode with high drama and even higher rating numbers. The Bel Air stunner is moving on, and she’ll be a major success with her new life and career. For those of us who know and love Maria, and who believe in her, the best is yet to come. Plus, West Hollywood based Oscar winning actor George Chakiris continues making history.

Los Angeles used to be the hub of all things surface, glitz and glamour. Well, we remain that way still, but that doesn’t mean that culture and class doesn’t win out at the end. It does, cream always rises to the surface and this time around our Los Angeles Philharmonic proved that we can do things as well as they can in Manhattan and on the Great White Way. Beverly Hills socialite and “General Hospital” star Constance Towers was our eyes and ears for the opening last week.  I’ve been busy traveling up the coast, so Connie gave us her critique.  “The opening night of the Philharmonic was spectacular,” Constance Towers, the wife of businessman and former Ambassador to Mexico, under President Reagan exclaimed.  “The program was magnificent and it was augmented by dancers performing the music. A unique concept for a concert. Tchaikovsky’s ‘Swan Lake’, Bernstein’s ‘On The Town’ and John Adams in  “The Chairman Dances.” Something for everyone. The ladies all looked like they were going on the Red Carpet. Gorgeous dresses mostly red this year.  They were spectacular (and expensive). AND the jewels! L.A. is coming of age.”

Concluding, Connie stated, “Tommy, We in L.A.  are so fortunate to have the brilliant leadership of The Los Angeles Philharmonic’s President and CEO Deborah Borda. She and our dynamic conductor, Gustavo Dudamel are an incredible team. They have made the LA Phil number one in the world and we are so proud of their accomplishments.”

The next night, Connie and Ambassador Gavin were at “The Book of Mormon.” You cannot keep up with this gorgeous woman, who recently filmed a guest appearance on NBC’s “1600 Penn” opposite legendary actor, Stacy Keach.

And then on to one of my favorite TV shows, “The Young and the Restless.” My childhood friend Lauralee Bell stars as Christine on the soap. But the show was co-created by my mentors William J. Bell and Lee Phillip Bell, who also co-created the most watched drama on the planet, “The Bold and the Beautiful,” which is helmed by Lauralee’s handsome brother Bradley P. Bell, a three-time Emmy Award-winning show runner.  “The Young and the Restless” celebrated its 10,000TH episode on Thursday. The ratings all week have been astonishing, and that is because of the former show runner, executive producer and head writer Maria Arena Bell.  Maria has learned that life is not fair, and that no good deed goes unpunished. But the gorgeous genius is moving in another upwardly mobile situation, which Highlight Hollywood can reveal is even more exciting than the years, she successfully ran “Y&R.” Maria and husband Bill, and their gorgeous children took a trip internationally recently to get rested up, but she hit the ground running, the moment this Bel Air beauty returned to L.A.  Everyone in Hollywood is talking about how great the “The Young and the Restless” was last week, and for good reason. This woman worked nonstop to make the show a success, and her late father-in-law would be very proud indeed. Maria can count on true friends in her life, and a very loyal family. We love and admire everything this woman does, including her selfless work for the underprovided in L.A. County.

Onward bound, and upward bound as well. We love you, Maria!  Bette Davis once told me. Well, on second thought, maybe I can’t print those words she said about her detractors, but maybe you should remember, those who sit around and maliciously gossip, are jealous, and they waste their time, while people like you continue to do great things not only for yourself, but in your case, for countless others, who appreciate all that you bring to your work, and to our lives.  Godspeed!

My friend George Chakiris is world renowned for his Academy Award-winning and Golden Globe-winning performance in the 20th Century Fox epic “West Side Story,” which costarred Russ Tamblyn, Rita Moreno and the late Natalie Wood. George has recently returned from Japan, where his George Chakiris Collections are the talk of Tokyo and all of Asia.  America is finding out about this handsome star’s jewelry designs, and it’s being scooped up by many who are on the lookout for amazing and unique holiday gifts.  George is one of the most talented singers, dancers and actors, and his ability to create is astonishing.

Recently when I asked George what became his inspiration for his unique styled-jewelry, he reminded me of the treasures found in King  Tut’s tomb in Egypt. George is even more talented than the artisans who created the beautiful images that are now seen in museums around the world. And you can go to his official website: and take a look at what he offers.  

I try never to complain about things I may endure. Because I am blessed beyond words to call these three Hollywood stars and icons personal and close friends.  We have a very close-knit community in Hollywood. And we support each other. I definitely would not be where I am today without these three people, and the late Bill Bell, and his wife Lee Phillip Bell, the late Aaron Spelling and dozens of others in this industry over the decades. So, now I sign off from The Hills!

See you next week!

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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: Beverly Wilshire by Link Staff, Constance Towers and Tommy Lightfoot Garrett by Mara Photography/Hollywood, Maria Arena Bell from her private collection, George Chakiris from his private collection
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