The Crash of ’82
As February’s Night of 100 Stars ground to an end, dozens of photographers flooded the stage of Radio City Music Hall to record the gathering of greats. When the snaps dried, however, they included at least one “star” no one could recognize. At 5’10” and 200 pounds, Terry Weldon, a 32-year-old firefighter from Asbury Park, N.J., is hardly inconspicuous. But he managed to sneak in a side door and take his place cheek-by-jowl with such biggies as Gregory Peck, Paul Newman and Jimmy Stewart. For Weldon, this was merely the latest escapade in a 13-year career as an uninvited guest. Weldon estimates he’s crashed some 100 parties, yet not once, he claims, “did anyone ask who I am. They think they’re supposed to know me, so they’re embarrassed.” He has had his picture taken with four Presidents, Prince Charles, Princess Grace, the Pope and even Mother Theresa. “But the nicest celebrity of all,” he reports, “was Jacqueline Onassis.” At a New York fund raiser for Ted Kennedy’s unsuccessful presidential bid, Weldon remembers, “I must have been in 16 or 17 pictures with her.” How did he manage it? “I told her the hotel had assigned me to take care of her for the night. She was very pleased, because hotels don’t usually do that.”
Visitor From Jupiter
Dinah Shore often ends club dates by taking questions from the audience. When she did this at a gig in Florida last month, one fan queried, “Where’s Burt Reynolds?”—meaning Dinah’s ex-beau. “I’m so glad you asked,” she replied, “because he’s right here.” After giving the audience a few minutes to crane their necks, Dinah yelled, “Burt, stand up and take a bow.” A handsome older gentleman rose, and if he looked familiar, well, that’s because he was Burt Reynolds Sr., who had driven over from nearby Jupiter, Fla.
Nipped in the Bud
It’s dog-eat-dog in the beer biz. During a visit to Denver by the Budweiser Beer Wagon, Missy, one of two Dalmatians that sometimes tour with the promotional vehicle, ran off. The man who found Missy turned her over to his fiancée, who just happened to be a marketing secretary for Coors, Bud’s Colorado-based competition. When Missy’s handler showed up at the Coors plant the next day to reclaim the dog, the first thing he did was remove the Coors hatband that someone had slipped around her neck. A dogfight may have been brewing, but company president Joe Coors kept his emotions on a tight leash. “I think it’s wonderful,” he oozed to a local newsman, “that our employees were able to rescue this dog and turn it over to these kind people.” There was no comment from Bud, but one presumes Missy’s in the doghouse for momentarily changing her spots.
Hard to Swallow
Robert Morley’s compilation of British celebrities’ most embarrassing moments came out in 1979, and an American version is due next year. Among the blushing celebs who’ve responded so far are Carol Channing, Arthur Miller, Lucille Ball and Ann Landers, whose most embarrassing moment was at an elegant dinner party for 10. After the main course, “The waiter placed before me a dessert plate and what appeared to be a most unusual lacy coconut dessert,” says Landers, who found cutting the concoction a challenge. “The gentleman on my right asked, ‘What in the world are you doing?’ I said, ‘Trying to cut this coconut dessert, but it is terribly difficult.’ The man gasped and said, ‘Coconut dessert! That’s the doily!’ ” The hostess, Landers reports, never invited her back.
Helen Gurley Brown, the Cosmo editor, has just completed the manuscript for her sixth book, in which she gives advice on “life and love.” “I’m glad she’s finished it,” confides husband David Brown, co-producer of Jaws. “I got to have lunch with her for the first time in 10 years.” Purrs Helen, 60: “Pussycat exaggerates.”