Susan Braudy, a New York writer obscure outside her own circles, may well be the secret muse of the late ’70s. Woody Allen’s new movie Manhattan is about Braudy the way Annie Hall was about Diane Keaton. This time Keaton and Meryl Streep play roles based on Braudy. Now Braudy’s book about her marital breakup, Between Marriage and Divorce, which is suspiciously like the Streep character’s confessional Marriage, Divorce, and Selfhood, is being made into a TV movie starring Karen Black. How does Braudy feel about being a faceless heroine? “I’m flattered at being the center of attention,” she says. “But in terms of manners, I think I should have been told beforehand about Manhattan’s similarities to my life.” (Streep’s “lesbianism” is not one of them.) Allen, incidentally, once said that Karen Black reminds him of a female Warren Beatty, and Warren Beatty, of course, is still hot and heavy with Diane Keaton, Woody’s ex—oh, forget it.
Thanks, I Needed That
Now that her 10-year marriage to vacuum cleaner heir Herbert “Bunky” Hoover is ending, Swedish actress (and Bob Evans’ second wife) Camilla Sparv is going back to work and re-learning Hollywood humility. Her last movie before the just-wrapped Cabo Blanco was The Greek Tycoon (1978), which featured both Camilla and William Levitt’s splendid yacht La Belle Simone. While lunching at L.A.’s superchic Ma Maison, Camilla finally met the wealthy Levitt, a founder of Levittown. “I must show you something I’ve carried with me ever since the movie came out,” said the builder. He pulled out a dogeared copy of a review. It said the best thing about Tycoon was the boat.
Norma Rae, the spunky textile worker played by Sally Field in the movie of the same name, spent hours in the company of Reuben Marshasky, the labor organizer from New York played by Ron Leibman. But there was no love affair between them. Skinny-dipping in the local swimming hole, when Norma Rae came near the Northern visitor, Reuben dogpaddled away. “There was enormous sexuality between Norma and Reuben,” reminisced Leibman to a class at Manhattan’s New School. So why, the students wanted to know, did all that sexual tension go unconsummated, right to the final fadeout? “I was trying to show her, hey, a man and a woman can be friends, but it’s hard. If I had embraced her for the finale, we would have gone off to a motel. So what you see on the screen is probably the longest handshake in the history of movies.”
Expletives Deleted Again
Screenwriter Stanley R. Greenberg tends to handle frontpage issues (Pueblo, The Missiles of October) with a passionate touch. Now he is up in arms about what CBS has done to his forthcoming miniseries Blind Ambition, based on books by John and Mo Dean. At the penultimate minute (the series starts Sunday, May 20) the network decided to substitute audible bleeps for the expletives used by Nixon, Haldeman and Dean in the Oval Office. They were of the blasphemous, not the sexual, variety, but Greenberg fears that active American imaginations will “supply their own vulgarities, which may be worse than any that were used.” What worries him even more is the repeated breaking of dramatic tension. “Except for the tragic undertones,” he says, “you could use the Watergate tapes themselves as low comedy. With a series of bleep-bleep-bleeps, you have really low comedy.”
Princess Shams Pahlavi, the Shah’s sister, has stockpiled 160 acres of open hillside just above the Beverly Hills Hotel in the last year, with quiet plans to build a $25 million compound with lakes, pools and houses for members of the family. The project is stalled while Beverly Hills ponders the question of putting roads in, and the U.S. ponders letting the Shah in.
•Word comes from Greenland that tapes of Telly Savalas’ Kojak show, flown in from Denmark when weather permits, are causing many a chuckle on cable TV. It’s not the lollipop that grabs ’em but the fact that “Kojak” sounds so much like the Greenlandic word qijak, which is the four-letter version of “bug off.”
•Republican Harold Stassen, 72, who’s running for President for the sixth time, told why in Chicago: “One reason is to make Ronald Reagan look younger.” (Reagan is 68.)
•Water baby Esther Williams, now 58, has the nicest way of answering the most obvious question. Her calling card has a line drawing of a rolling wave, and the legend: “Yes, I still swim.”