Turnabout is fair play. Now there will be a book about Nancy Reagan's biographer, Kitty Kelley, by an author who calls her a "bimbo."
The book, "Poison Pen, the Kitty Kelley Story," by veteran journalist and celebrity biographer George Carpozi Jr., will be published by Barricade Books in July. Carpozi is a writer for the supermarket tabloid Star.The publication date was originally next fall, but it was pushed up due to the storm of publicity surrounding Kelley's prurient best seller, "Nancy Reagan: The Unauthorized Biography," published last Monday.
The book sold more than 800,000 copies in its first week.
"I'm giving it to Kelley just as she gave it to Mrs. Reagan," Carpozi said. "She lost every job she ever had because she's treacherous. She's a terrible person.
"I wanted to title the book `Kitty Kelley: Bimbo,' but the publisher didn't think it was a good idea. But she is a bimbo. Read my book. It will all be there."
Lyle Stuart, head of Barricade Books, said the book will have a cover just like the Nancy Reagan book, which pictured the former first lady in a red Adolfo knit dress. Kelley also will be pictured in an Adolfo from her own large collection of the designer's suits.
Stuart said he learned while working on the Carpozi book that a number of people Kelley claims to have interviewed for her book on Reagan have said they were not interviewed by her or by her two representatives.
"They are willing to give us affidavits on this," Stuart said.
Simon and Schuster spokeswoman Victoria Meyer said she "wouldn't want to dignify that" with a response.
Kelley canceled a national tour and two interviews to publicize her book in what Simon & Schuster called "a change of publicity strategy." She will, however, do several television interviews in New York this week that will be transmitted by satellite to 30 cities.
"This is a publishing decision made because of the enormous success of the book," Meyer said. "We've garnered more publicity in one week in what would normally take weeks to get."
Reagan's former press secretary said she felt Kelley canceled her tour because she was afraid of facing backlash from interviewers and the public, who resent her portrayal of Reagan as a cruelly manipulative and unprincipled woman who wore the pants in the White House for eight years.
Meanwhile, Time magazine, in an issue to be released Monday, carried an article that painted Kelley as a vindictive egoist, echoing her own depiction of the former first lady.
Time quoted Washington Post critic Jonathan Yardley, who wrote a negative review of Kelley's unauthorized 1981 biography of Elizabeth Taylor, as saying he received a Gucci box containing "a bag of fish heads and a postcard of Elizabeth Taylor giving me the finger."
"The card was signed: From the friends of Kitty Kelley," Yardley was quoted.
Kelley is best known for her unathorized biography of Frank Sinatra, "His Way," which sold more than 3 million copies. Sinatra sued, claiming Kelley misrepresented herself to sources, but the suit was dropped.