A Bone to Pick
A story about President Kennedy’s 46th birthday has just surfaced. (He would have been 64 this year.) It seems First Lady Jackie Kennedy visited art dealer J.J. Klejman in New York to buy a piece of the President’s favorite scrimshaw, which is folk art engraved on whalebone. Klejman showed her a fine piece. It listed for about $8,000, but when she told him her limit was a few hundred dollars, he swallowed hard and gallantly said that was just about the price. A Polish fugitive from the Nazis who had found asylum on our shores, Klejman was pleased to have done something for his President and glowed for a good three months—until Mrs. Kennedy arrived in his shop again. She was returning the scrimshaw. The President didn’t like it.
Getting in Licks
Hollywood has flipped for the Cake and Art Shop, a Santa Monica Boulevard confectionery that turns out custom jobs for up to $1,600. When Loni Anderson wrapped her TV flick Sizzle, set in the Chicago of the ’20s, she received the gateau replica of that toddlin’ town, complete with city lights. For Famous Amos’ sixth anniversary, the cake was shaped, natch, like a giant chocolate-chip cookie. And Aretha Franklin sent Smokey Robinson a miniature of their old Motown neighborhood. The crumbiest design to date, far and away, was for Knots Landing co-star Joan Van Ark. While guesting on Love Boat she had developed a mouth inflammation, so her thank-you to the rest of the cast was a cake shaped—to the worst of the bakers’ imagination—like a giant cold sore.
They were an odd but not unattractive couple at the White House dinner for the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser. Side by side at supper were Olivia Newton-John, the thrush from Down Under, and Richard Oldenburg, director of New York’s Museum of Modern Art and brother of famed artist Claes. “I guess they thought we had something in common,” quipped Oldenburg of Nancy Reagan’s social mavens. And how did the conversation go? Olivia nervously trilled: “I’m not into modern art,” then recouped with, “I’m much more into landscapes.” Oldenburg, obviously no stranger to this sort of exchange, smoothed it over. “I’ve always thought of you,” he said, “as the mellowest strain of Pop Art.”
Playing Othello, which he has recently done for PBS, is a dream come true for Anthony (Equus) Hopkins, 43. It reminds him of his salad days when he did one of the Moor’s speeches in auditioning for Laurence Olivier at London’s National Theatre. Hopkins was given the part of a messenger in the Shakespearean tragedy, but one night came onstage spouting Iago’s lines instead of his own. Larry understood, and they’re still pals. So Hopkins doesn’t mean Lord Olivier when he says, “There’s a tradition in the English theater to wait until you’re older to do roles like Othello. But it’s really an excuse for the grand old actors to do those parts themselves.”
•An out-of-towner shopping at a Manhattan luggage store was told by a salesgirl that her job was boring. “It’s probably not as boring as the job I had last year,” answered Bruce Laingen, 59, who spent 1980 (as well as part of 1979 and 1981) as a hostage in Tehran.
•Remember that little old letter Ronald Reagan wrote in his own hand to a critical citizen, praising pal Frank Sinatra? It was auctioned last January, with Manhattan photograph dealer Daniel Wolf making the winning bid of $12,500. But not, as it turns out, for his own collection. Who currently owns the note? Ol’ Blue Eyes.