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Saturday, May 20, 2006

Toasting Teri Hatcher’s Burnt Toast

Clinking glasses and sipping Moet & Chandon with Teri Hatcher …Not a bad way to celebrate the coming of a brand-new Hollywood party season. It was a toast to Burnt Toast.

Just days before wrapping her second season of production on the mega-hit Desperate Housewives, Teri gathered her closest friends and co-stars in Beverly Hills’ lush nightclub Aqua for a chic book launch party in honor of the actress-turned-author’s literary effort Burnt Toast and Other Philosophies of Life. “I want a free book and a signed book,” Felicity Huffman mock-demanded as she arrived.

“I think that she expects me to buy one,” said James Denton with a grin. “I got to read just a couple of pages of it, and it's really sharp. I think that’s obvious—it's already sold about three hundred thousand copies.”

Nicolette Sheridan and her beau Michael Bolton had just air-kissed Teri goodbye, and the star’s pixie-ish nine-year-old daughter Emerson Rose twirled on the dance floor to hits that were big a good ten years before she was born, when Teri and I finally had a chance to talk about her tome, which had already gotten a thumbs-up from no less the Oprah herself.

I asked Teri, clad in an exquisite sage green silk crinkle cocktail dress from Escada, if she ever imagined adding “author” to her list of credits. “You know what, it wasn't a plan. It just happened,” she admitted, having only penned one other professional effort. “I wrote an episode of Lois & Clark that we made. I guess that I'm the kind of person that, if I take something on, I take it on with a strong work ethic. I worked really hard on it, but it wasn't like a goal or a plan.”

Her book feels so intimate, honest and unvarnished—sometimes at the expense of her own vanity--that I wondered if she ever found herself writing something forthcoming and then immediately wanting to hit the delete button. “No,” she laughed. “I started to write with a really non-editing kind of voice. I just write and then I go back and look at it. I wasn't really afraid. I didn't have fear in my mind when I wrote this.”

The book, along with her recent revelations to Vanity Fair regarding the sexual molestation she experienced as a young girl, seems to demonstrate that the actress has made peace with much of her personal demons and set down a lot of emotional baggage, finding a new comfort zone in her life.

“I think so, and I think that happens in your forties,” she agreed. “I think that's an appropriate age to feel like you want to find some comfort in yourself and I think that's what the book is about. It's sort of expressing in one way a woman coming to self-acceptance and not completely, not that I've accomplished every situation, but more of a work in progress.”

Co-star Huffman was proud of Teri’s personal progress. “She seems like she's at a great place in her life, and that she's at peace,” said Felicity, who said that at work Teri never seemed troubled by her past. “I think that's more of a personal journey. She has always seemed to be hitting her stride to me. She's always seemed really even-keeled and well-balanced, and so I think that's more of a personal thing.”

“She has been through a lot, and she is a really great mom and a really nice person,” agreed Teri's Housewives hunk Denton. “So I am really happy for her, and she can certainly write her own ticket now.”

The actor was hard pressed to come up with a tidbit about Teri that most people don’t already know. “That's tough, because her life is so public now, and people know most everything about her,” he said. “Certainly watching her sit with Emerson in her chair on the set and watching her color with her crayons and draw pictures of princesses and horses and stuff like that—As a dad I have a soft spot for that anyway, but watching her with Emerson is far and away the most endearing thing about her.”

“I keep telling her that she looks sooo good right now,” said Teri’s TV daughter Andrea Bowen. “I mean, she is a beautiful lady and she will always look beautiful. But just recently I've noticed everything about her is just kind of glowing. She's happy and fulfilled. She looks great, and I definitely sense that. She seems very happy and together, and I'm so happy for her because her life is so amazingly hard and she is the queen of multi-tasking.”

Andrea was a little miffed at her on-camera mom, however, for denying her a sneak peek at the book in the writing stages. “I'm like, ‘Come on! Don't I get anything for being related?’”

As other celebs, including Brenda Strong, Shawn Pyfrom and Jim Belushi mixed and mingled at the party, I couldn’t resist asking Felicity if she at all missed the near-constant party circuit she experienced during her recent Academy Awards experience. “There was the calm after the Oscars and it was nice,” she admitting, noting that she didn’t miss the whirlwind schedule. “I thought that I would, but it was one of those fantastic once-in-a-lifetime dreams, and it was okay when I was done. I was ready to go back to my husband and my children.”

Meanwhile, as Emerson Rose continued to twirl with anyone who could keep up with her, Teri was taken aback by a super-arrival: it’s a bird…it’s a plane…it’s Dean Cain, her old co-star from Lois & Clark! “It's the first time that I've seen him in years, so that was really lovely,” she smiled. “I was really touched by how many people from my past, from the show, just from the business, and of course my personal friends came.”