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Ariel Winter’s mom ‘openly mean’ to teen on ‘Modern Family’ set

FILE - In this Sept. 24 2012 file phoAriel Winter attends World Premiere 'Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 1'

FILE - In this Sept. 24, 2012 file photo, Ariel Winter attends the World Premiere of "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 1" at The Paley Center for Media, in Beverly Hills, Calif. Court records show a judge in Oct. 2012 stripped Winter's mother of custody temporarily amid allegations she has been physically and emotionally abusive to the 14-year-old "Modern Family" star. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

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Updated: December 15, 2012 6:09AM



A number of sources on the set of the hit ABC sitcom “Modern Family” tell this column there long has been concern about what one show staffer called “the horribly dysfunctional relationship” between teen star Ariel Winter and her mother, Chrystal Workman.

According to my sources, long before Workman was pulled into court and charged with both physical and emotional abuse of her daughter, who plays Alex Dunphy on “Modern Family,” stars and staffers working behind the camera had expressed concern for Winter’s well-being.

“I’ve seen many, many stage mothers and stage fathers,” said a longtime Hollywood TV exec who works on “Modern Family.”

“But never have I seen someone who was so openly mean to the young star who was her meal ticket. The entire cast was aware of how much Ariel has been going through,” indicating those “aware” cast members included Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet and Sarah Hyland.

† In court documents obtained by TMZ, Workman was called “a terror on the set” of “Modern Family,” but Workman reportedly told the judge hearing the guardianship case her 14-year-old daughter had threatened “to make her pay” after Workman attempted to end the actress’ relationship with an 18-year-old. Winter is no longer seeing the teen but still considers him a friend.

Winter has been placed in the temporary guardianship of her sister, Shanelle Workman, who is petitioning for that guardianship to be made permanent. For the time being, Winter’s mother has been ordered to have no contact with her.

CLASH CLEARED: The unnamed man who claimed Kevin Clash, the voice and puppeteer of beloved “Sesame Street” character Elmo, had engaged in an underage relationship with him retracted that allegation Tuesday. Andreozzi & Associates, the law firm that represented the accuser, released a statement that “he wants it to be known that his sexual relationship with Mr. Clash was an adult consensual relationship. He will have no further comment on the matter.”

Clash, who had been placed on a leave of absence from Sesame Workshop, also released a statement expressing his relief “that this painful allegation has been put to rest,” adding that he, too, would say no more.

While not indicating when Clash would return to work, Sesame Workshop said in a Tuesday statement, “We are pleased that this matter has been brought to a close, and we are happy that Kevin can move on from this unfortunate episode.”

ROMANCE FILE: Friends of two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank are delighted the actress seems to be very happy in her relatively new relationship with wealthy French real estate executive Laurent Fleury — the new man in her life following the end of her romance this summer with agent John Campisi.

Currently, Swank is in Los Angeles where she’s filming “You’re Not Alone,” playing the very challenging role of a woman afflicted with Lou Gehrig’s disease.

JACKO’S USERS: Among the many revelations in respected journalist Randall Sullivan’sUntouchable” biography of Michael Jackson are some examples of how famous friends took advantage of the late music superstar.

While Jackson’s family members were well-known for hitting Michael up for huge amounts of money, it likely will surprise many that acclaimed actor Marlon Brando demanded — and was paid — a $1 million fee just to tape a tribute video to Jackson for one of the big 2001 galas celebrating Michael’s 30th anniversary in show biz.

TAKE A BOW: Congrats to Sir Andrew Davis, the Lyric Opera’s musical director, who on Thursday celebrates the 25th anniversary of his Lyric conducting debut (“Le Nozze di Figaro” in 1987). … Kudos also to Chicago Symphony Orchestra musical director Riccardo Muti, who just received an honorary degree and gold medal from the IULM University in Milan, Italy — toasting Muti’s contributions to promoting Italian culture around the world. … It’s important to note the first anniversary of one of Our Town’s newest museums — the National Hellenic Museum — celebrating the opening of two new exhibitions Thursday: “American Moments: The Legacy of Greek Immigration” and “The Spirit of the Marathon: From Pheidippides to Today.”

TV TALK: You have to hand it to the clever folks at Mahoney’s Pub & Grille on North Ogden. They are hosting a viewing party on Nov. 25 for the premiere of the much-hyped Lifetime telefilm “Liz & Dick” — about the torrid romance of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

Calling it “an excellent way to waste away an evening” and focusing on star Lindsay Lohan’s long-documented troubles, Mahoney’s is offering a menu that includes penne pasta with vodka sauce, smashed potatoes, tipsy tots and more. Oh yes — the reasonably priced $15 dinner buffet also includes two glasses of champagne.

After the movie starts at 8 p.m., commercial breaks will be replaced with Lohan parody clips.

Mitch Marozas, a freshman at Brother Rice, will appear on the Nickelodean show “Figure It Out,” scheduled to air Wednesday on the cable channel. Mitch is a pro-competition radio-controlled helicopter pilot who has traveled both around the U.S. and in Taiwan — ranked eighth out of the best 3D pilots in the world at the latest Extreme Flight Competition held annually in Muncie, Ind., at the Academy of Model Aeronautics.

SEEN ON THE SCENE: The always hilarious Jeff Garlin (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”) had ’em in stitches over lunch at RL Tuesday while back in his hometown. … The cast of “The Mob Doctor” hung out at Tavern on Rush with director and actor Peter Weller (“Robocop”), where separately the Boston Celtics’ Paul Pierce was also sighted.



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