The Indiscreet Charm Of Lucianne Goldberg

Her cocktail of sex and gossip proved irresistible, if not deadly

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She had spent the afternoon watching the impeachment hearings. One witness had particularly caught her eye. "Did you see that nose?" she cried to the admirers who quickly gathered round. "My God, he's got the same nose job as [name of Congressman deleted]! Got it right off the plastic surgeon's wall chart. There's only three styles of nose jobs on the chart, you know--A, B and C--and they both chose B. Do you suppose they were embarrassed to be seen together?"

When we left for dinner, it took us several minutes to get to the door. "I can't thank you enough for what you've done for this country," said an earnest young woman in a business suit. A man pumped her hand. "I can't believe I have the honor of standing here talking to you," he said. "Aren't you sweet," Goldberg purred.

In the restaurant, she talked about her new fame. She is, of course, recognized wherever she goes. "I don't particularly like it," she said, twisting the butt of a Marlboro Light from her cigarette holder and drawing a fresh one from a gold case. "You have to be nice and polite to people, whether you want to or not. But it's bearable. My life hasn't changed that much. Life is still fine, just slightly different."

She lives with her husband, an executive with a news-feature syndicate, in a nine-room apartment on the West Side. "I don't get out that much, anyway. I cook. And talk on the phone. I have a huge phone network--50 or 60 calls a day. I have a wonderful life. That's part of the frustration people might have dealing with me. I want for nothing. I have a wonderful husband. I have wonderful kids. I have a wonderful life-style. I'd like to be 30 lbs. lighter, but what the hell. I mean, what are they going to do to me?"

If she sounds tough, it's because she probably is--as many people have learned. She mentions a TV talking head. "He trashed me. On the air. I got his home number. Called him up. His boyfriend answered and put him on the line. I said, 'You mention my name again, and you are outed.' He said, 'I don't take kindly to threats.' I said, 'This is not a threat. It's a promise.'" She adjusts her feather boa and raises her eyebrows.

And?

"And he's never mentioned me again."

Not that she cares, but she now says she was slightly miscast when the scandal broke. She loves dish, of course, but she had a higher purpose in loosing the Lewinsky scandal upon the world.

"We, as a country, needed a test," she says. "And that's what this scandal was: a little priority test, for everybody--particularly for people who've had kids in the past 30 years, when all this nonsense was going on. You know what I mean, this whole mind-set: screw everybody you want. Don't have a husband if you have a baby. Walk out on relationships. Latchkey kids are O.K. Don't marry anybody. The whole general morality. Get [oral sex] in the bathroom of the Oval Office. We needed a wake-up call, and this was a major wake-up call."

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