Tattle: Galapagos tortoises have shell of a time mating


WHEN Cole Porter wrote "Let's Do It" about the myriad number of creatures who mate ("The most refined lady bugs do it/When a gentleman calls/Moths in your rugs they do it/What's the use of moth balls"), one species that didn't make the list was the Galapagos tortoise.

Galapagos tortoises are the largest in the world and can live for more than 150 years. But they've struggled to fend off predators and are now under threat.

In part, because, although there are horned tortoises, the Galapagos are not horny tortoises.

So, the London Zoo, short of dimming the lights and playing Barry White or Frank Sinatra, brought in French pianist Richard Clayderman to get the tortoises in the mood with music from his latest album, "Romantique."

The tortoises were not impressed. Even a rousing rendition of "Chariots of Fire" did little to lift their spirits.

What did put a little spring in their step?


Kelly McGillis in 3-D

When the new 3-D version of "Top Gun" is reissued this weekend, star Kelly McGillis probably will not be in line to see it.

The actress, now 55, still takes a movie role from time to time, but she's mostly devoted to staying out of the spotlight.

"I just moved to a log cabin on top of a hill in North Carolina. I've always wanted to do it, and I thought if I don't do it now, I never will. So I sold everything and came on down," said McGillis, who lived for many years in rural Pennsylvania and, more recently, in Collingswood, Camden County.

In a way, the journey to the cabin in the hills started with "Top Gun" (to be issued in remastered 2-D and 3-D Blu-ray on Feb. 19), which catapulted the then- 27-year-old actress, fresh from her role in "Witness," to stardom.

At the time, she recently told Daily News film critic Gary Thompson, "Top Gun" was just another job. But it became a quintessential action blockbuster, a template for movies that drove the industry in the 1980s, produced by Midas-touched Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, who brought in Tony Scott to define their supersize, up-tempo, music-video style.

In the middle of it all was the starstruck McGillis, enjoying the playful atmosphere on the set. She never gave a thought to the movie's commercial prospects.

"I was so new in the business. I don't think I had a clue about Simpson or Bruckheimer or what they had done. Tom Cruise was not 'big' Tom Cruise. We all just hung out together after work. Tony made the set a really cozy, fun place to be," she said, adding that news of Scott's recent suicide "broke my heart."

The movie was a huge hit, and McGillis admits that she wasn't ready for it.

"I was terrified. I didn't expect that. I don't deal well with famousness. I love being an actor, but fame just scared the living daylights out of me. I was intimidated and insecure, and I didn't know if people were being nice to me because they were nice people, or because of the notoriety.

"It was a turning point in my life," said McGillis, who's been candid about her struggles in the ensuing years with substance abuse.

All of that is part of what brought her to Pennsylvania, where she could raise her children in relative peace. And when that was done, McGillis went public with the news that she was gay.

"It wasn't anything I planned or thought about," she said. "My kids were grown up and out of the house, and I didn't need to protect them from their peers. Somebody just asked me the question, and I had this moment of clarity, and I just answered truthfully."

McGillis still accepts parts in small movies, and had one recently play at Sundance - "We Are What We Are," which got a nice review in the Hollywood Reporter.

She still hasn't found all the answers, but she's found a little peace on the top of the mountain.

"I don't want to be looked at as anybody other than just another person, fumbling their way through life."


* ABC News says that Robin

Roberts will be back on "Good Morning America" on Feb. 20. Her return will be five months to the day since her bone-marrow transplant to treat a rare blood disorder.

Roberts has gotten the all-clear from her doctors, according to the announcement made Thursday on "GMA." She reached the critical 100-day benchmark in December.

* Crime writer Patricia

Cornwell has taken the witness stand in Boston to testify in her lawsuit against her former financial-management company.

Cornwell, best known for her series of novels featuring medical examiner Kay Scarpetta, alleges that New York law firm Anchin, Block and Anchin was negligent in handling her finances and cost her millions of dollars in losses or unaccounted revenue during their four-year relationship.

Lawyers for the firm say that there is no money missing from Cornwell's accounts. They say that losses were due to the economic downturn and her extravagant spending habits.

Tattle, however, would not want to tick off Cornwell.

She knows a lot of ways to make a body disappear.

* Speaking of bodies, CBS is asking stars not to bare too much skin at the Grammy Awards on Sunday.

The network, seemingly eager to drive down viewership, has requested that "buttocks and female breasts are adequately covered" for the show Sunday night. The memo sent out Wednesday also warned against "see-through clothing" and exposure of "the genital region," and said that "thong type costumes are problematic."

Yeah, on Elton John, maybe.

- Staff writer Gary Thompson and Daily News wire services

contributed to this report.

Email: gensleh@phillynews.com

Phone: 215-854-5678

On Twitter: @DNTattle