At the beginning of this week’s Hollywood Reporter Q&A with 92-year-old gossip dynamo Liz Smith, interviewer Maer Roshan references a previous conversation he had with the columnist for a cover story in the final June 26, 1991 issue of weekly newspaper OutWeek.
Here’s how Roshan frames it, with his second THR question:
I believe the money quote was, “Who am I, the great lesbian of the Western world? They want me to go out, and I want them to go in!”
In fact, it was not Smith who made that “great” reference but rather a passer-by. From the OutWeek interview passage where Smith is talking about the constant harassment she was enduring at the time as a result of magazine columnist Michelangelo Signorile’s efforts to “out” her:
The other day, I was walking my dog, and a guy comes up on a bicycle and screams “Hey, it’s the greatest lesbian of the Western world!” These are the things they do. I said thank you and walked on.
The rest of the quoted referenced by Roshan is closer to correct. “… They want me to come out and I want them to go back in,” Smith said at the start of the OutWeek Q&A, in reference to the legion of critics stirred by Signorile.
While we’re at it, there’s one other minor Roshan clarification to be made. While he begins the THR conversation with the suggestion that OutWeek was the last time he interviewed Smith, that’s true only if the context is one-on-one. For the September 25, 2000 issue of New York magazine, Roshan sat down with Smith and three other leading gossip columnists.