How could Warren Beatty have slept with 12,775 women? Let’s do the math.
So here’s a fun way to ring in the new year: getting to read, thanks to Peter Biskind, that your love life will never, ever compare to Warren Beatty’s. Not that you needed to see it in print to know that.
In “Star: How Warren Beatty Seduced America,” his new biography of Beatty, Biskind estimates that Beatty has, ahem, known “12,775 women, give or take, a figure that does not include daytime quickies, drive-bys, casual gropings, stolen kisses and so on.” (Hat tip to Zap2it.com.)
The Huffington Post has a hilarious statement from Beatty’s lawyer, Bertram Fields, which not only denies that Biskind’s book is authorized and says the Beatty quotes aren’t true, but also calls it “tedious and boring.” Ouch.
Just hearing about this book reminds me of the dearly departed web site, Mr. Showbiz, which, 14 years ago, played host to a fabulous game called Romantically Linked — a version of Six Degrees of Separation (or of Kevin Bacon) that focused on celebrities’ dating lives rather than who they’d worked with. I won several Mr. Showbiz T-shirts after getting from Point A to Point B in the fewest possible number of moves — I still have a couple — and I owe Beatty a debt of thanks for most of them. No matter who the beginning celebrity and the ending celebrity were, if you could get to Warren Beatty, you were pretty much home free.
So let’s take a look at this. Beatty was born on March 30, 1937. That makes him, as of this writing, 72 years old. So 72 x 365 = 26,280 days. Divide that by 12,775, and that means Beatty would have had to have been with one woman every 2.06 days since birth.
Beatty married Annette Bening on March 12, 1992. And while his prodigious reputation springs largely from a reported list including Diane Keaton, Natalie Wood, Julie Christie, Madonna, Joan Collins, Carly Simon, Faye Dunaway, and others, I’m going to assume fidelity with Bening, not that it’s any of my business. I think she’s an immensely talented actress, she’s smart, she’s interesting, she’s cool as hell. They have four children together. And maybe I’m naive but I cannot imagine someone wanting to tangle with her or get on her bad side over a zipper problem. So take out those 17 years of marriage and you’re looking at 55 years of being all devastatingly bachelory. That’s 20,075 days.
But again, that’s since birth. Somewhere in here we need to factor in childhood. For the sake of argument, let’s assume Beatty activated around age 14 (seems young, I know, but come on). That’s 41 years, or 14,965 days. That leaves us with one woman every 1.17 days from age 14 to age 55.
As the “Mythbusters” would say, I suppose you could call this one “plausible.” But even if he did spend a lot of time with Jack Nicholson, you have to figure that at least some of those days might have been spent working. Or in transit. Or he may have had a cold. Or had to go to a funeral. Or meet with his accountant. Or, heaven forbid, actually be committed to any of the women on his lengthy list. Not that any of those things would necessarily preclude the numbers from adding up.
But besides the eye-popping number, unless there’s an actual allegation of something funny going on, this isn’t really news. It is kind of fun. And a little depressing for the rest of us. But Wilt Chamberlain — who, as memory serves, would have to have been with more than four women per day since birth to reach his so-called monumental heights — notwithstanding, I’m not buying.
The book, however…. I might browse through. A little.