Waiting for Vitas
It’s the talk of Sweet Briar College in Virginia—the romance between tennis ace (and professional bachelor) Vitas Gerulaitis and freshman Deborah Mays, of Elizabeth City, N.C. Campus gossip has Debbie tooling around in a white Mercedes—an engagement gift from the 25-year-old Casanova of the Courts—with a ring from Tiffany decorating the hand on the wheel. Is it true, Debbie was asked, that she’ll soon quit school to marry Gerulaitis, as her classmates are saying? Giggle. “I can’t tell you anything as of now. You’ll learn soon enough.” Debbie’s mother, Shirley, was just as helpful. “Vitas is a very nice young man,” she stonewalled. “Anything would have to come from him.” Was the golden-haired ladykiller really retiring from romantic competition? Vitas was touring in South America, safely out of touch.
Some Like It Punk
Blondie’s ragamuffin Deborah Harry was recently compared by her lead guitarist boyfriend to Mick Jagger in sensuality. Now fashion photographer Richard Avedon has blown that raunchy image away. He just transformed the singer’s punk chic into luminous beauty for a Vogue picture spread. Avedon, who has also done Cher, Goldie Hawn and Raquel Welch for the magazine, said the diminutive (5’3″) Deborah reminded him of Marilyn Monroe. “She was fabulous. I haven’t seen such natural instincts for glamor in a very long time.”
Stop the Press
The editor got the ace reporter on the line. “File a full wrap-up on the flood disaster,” he snapped—and Joe Rossi sprang into action. A rejected script from Lou Grant? No, a true-life story. New York Post city editor Steve Dunleavy was asking actor Robert Walden, TV’s Rossi, to report on the Southern California floods. Walden was only too happy to bring his alter ego to life. “For more than a week, the population of Southern California was cast in a disaster film,” his bylined story in the Post began. “Except there was no camera. The people who died remained dead…” Editor Dunleavy’s verdict on the piece: “He did all right, for a fledgling reporter.”
Pride of authorship doesn’t rate high with Fanne Foxe, the Argentine Firecracker of Wilbur Mills fame. Her 1975 book about her carryings-on with the Arkansas representative, The Stripper and the Congressman, “isn’t history,” she said in London—”it’s paperback trash.” But she bridles at any implication that her role in the “trash” destroyed Mills’ 37-year political career. “He destroyed himself with his drinking,” Fanne maintained. “All I did was help him enjoy the last years of his political life.” Mills has, of course, been dry for the past five years.
After his wife, Maureen, broke her foot in a fall, Ambassador to Japan Mike Mansfield stepped in for her and hosted a demonstration in special floral arrangements at the Tokyo residence. He did it, moreover, with such finesse that the ladies of the diplomatic community were astounded. “Most gracious,” mused one. “I don’t think there’s another ambassador in town who could do it with such charm.”
Cathleen Nesbitt, who played Rex Harrison’s mother in the original Broadway My Fair Lady in 1956, had one giant qualm when she was asked to repeat the role in the upcoming revival. “Aren’t I a bit old to be playing Rex’s mother?” she wondered. “Not if Rex admits to being 71,” producer Mike Merrick assured her. That makes her 90 perfect for the part.