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15 TURNING A NEW PAGE Cannon, who earned Academy Award nominations for her acting in "Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice" (1969) and "Heaven Can Wait" (1978), has appeared in a variety of films and television shows throughout her career, including guest roles on 1990s television shows like "The Practice," "Arli$$" and "Diagnosis Murder," along with a recurring role on the series "Ally McBeal." She also starred in the 1997 movie "8 Heads in a Duffel Bag" and the 2005 movie "Boynton Beach Club." Her latest theatrical venture is a new musical she's been working on for several years, which is loosely based on her 2011 best-selling book, "Dear Cary: My Life with Cary Grant" (HarperCollins, 2011). "We have amazing people on board, and I'm working with two amazing women—we first started writing together 20 years ago," says Cannon, also a versatile singer/songwriter who performed duets with country star Willie Nelson in her 1980 movie "Honeysuckle Rose." "We're writing the music and the lyrics," she adds. "It's a much bigger theme [than the book about her relationship with Grant]. It's more universal so that all of us can identify with it, the things that all of us go through in life." Cannon says the play isn't yet ready for a workshop performance, but she plans to play herself if the musical ultimately makes it to the stage. "I wouldn't work this hard if I wasn't starring in the show!" she laughs. • PHOTO BY POPPY RUIZ A ctress Dyan Cannon is a woman who lives for her passions, both old and new. She's been a famously devoted fan of Los Angeles Lakers basketball for decades and still sits next to the NBA team's bench at home games, sporting her trademark curly blonde mane. But nowadays the 79-year-old Cannon is also the devoted "Gogo" to her two young grandchildren, a role into which she's thrown herself head over heels. "As parents, we're there for every single dentist appointment, every bedtime prayer, eat your spinach. When you're a grandparent, you're a 'grand' parent," says Cannon, who spent Mother's Day weekend this year camping out in a cabin with her grandkids. "It's not less caring, but it's less responsibility. They're such a joy. It's a love that's hard to put into words—it's just a yummy love." Cannon's motherly instincts are obvious when she talks about everything from her only child, daughter Jennifer from her 1960s marriage to actor Cary Grant, to young Lakers players just beginning their careers, to her beloved pet Chihuahua named Matilda. "I was at Kobe [Bryant's] very first game when he couldn't make a basket," says Cannon, who has played basketball herself at celebrity exhibition games but admits she's mainly just an enthusiastic fan. "To see these athletes unfold and become who they are—it's just thrilling, it's great. I'm very blessed because I get to sit right next to the Lakers bench." LIVING THE GOOD LIFE Cannon says her ongoing zeal for life is fueled by the power of prayer, along with eating a good diet and getting plenty of exercise. "I'm a pretty healthy girl," she says. "For the most part, I have a balanced diet. "I gave up sugar [some] months ago," she adds. "For the most part, I find that the more sugar I eat, the more sugar I want, and [giving up sugar] took away my desire for it. I don't do desserts anymore, and I gave up my frozen yogurt." Cannon is also a regular at the gym, especially on the elliptical machines, where she can read while she works out. Walking her dog, Matilda, is also a great way to get in some miles, she says. "She's sweet and adorable, and everyone's in love with her and wants to keep her," says Cannon. "But there's always an animal in my life. They remind me what's real—unconditional love." you might not know about Dyan Cannon 5 things 1. She hosted NBC-TV's "Saturday Night Live" during its inaugural season in 1976. 2. She was a 1977 Academy Award nominee for Best Short Film-Live Action for "Number One," which she produced, directed, wrote and edited. 3. Her high school nickname was Frosty. 4. She co-wrote the title song for R&B singer Chaka Kahn's 1992 album, "The Woman I Am." 5. She's a devout born-again Christian.