Fred Bernstein
January 10, 1983 12:00 PM

Power Failure

While visiting her native England last month, Joan Collins discovered that Queen Elizabeth II, to whom she was introduced at a charity gala, wasn’t the only person who wanted to meet her. Before being presented to the head of that other dynasty, Joan was served with a writ demanding the return of a car lent to her by a London dealer 18 months ago. Collins said she was “utterly astounded” and blamed the problem on “the people handling my affairs.” Mishandling them is more like it; police had to break into the London flat Collins, 49, shares with her husband, Ron Kass, and rip out the electric meter. Seems the star, who reportedly earns $500,000 a season on Dynasty, owed the London Electricity Board $324.

Camera Shy, Robert Mitchum, who was out of sorts during a photo session in New York to promote his latest film, That Championship Season, was especially rough on one photographer. When she asked Mitchum, 65, to take his rose-tinted glasses off for a picture, the star snapped back, “Would you ask FDR to stand up? Would you ask Sammy Davis Jr. to take his eye out?” Well, gee, Bob, not when you put it that way.

To Have and Have Not

Shirley MacLaine, 48, whose beaux have included New York writer Pete Hamill and Russian film director Andrei Mikhalkov-Konchalovsky, could have divorced her husband (businessman Steve Parker, from whom she’s been separated since the ’60s) to remarry but didn’t. She explains, “I think the truth is that men don’t really want to marry you anyway. They ask you out of a sort of sense of old-fashioned chivalry, but they’re usually delighted if you say ‘no.’ ” Besides, she adds, “My mother never pushed the marriage bit.” Just look at her brother, Warren.

Bad Reception

In his Book of People, Merv Griffin recalls that after taping a series of programs in Monaco in 1977, he presented Prince Rainier and Princess Grace with a miniature television which he claims “thrilled” them. A few weeks later Griffin received a note from Jack Paar with a clipping from an electronics catalog that featured the same subcompact TV. “I couldn’t figure out what Jack had in mind,” writes Griffin, “until I read the catalog copy. It contained all the specifications and marvelous claims, but at the bottom in type so small I needed a magnifying glass to read it were the words: “Important Note: This unit will not operate in Brazil, Poland or Monaco.”


Apple Computer founder Steven Jobs, 27, may have political ambitions, but he doesn’t grok (that’s “understand” to a computer jock) Washington yet. At a high-tech symposium there recently. Jobs encountered Tim Wirth, chairman of the House subcommittee on telecommunications. Jobs looked at Wirth’s nameplate, which said “Rep. Wirth,” and started calling him “Republican Wirth.” Representative Wirth is a Democrat from Denver, Colo.

Boat Person

Fred Grandy, an Iowan who came to Hollywood by way of Harvard, doesn’t think being on Love Boat takes much talent. “I’m being paid not to act on this show,” he admits. “I’m making incredible amounts of money, and it’s almost like being a farmer being paid not to plant.” Still, he notes, Love Boat, which has been on TV since ’77, is “almost as steady as a civil service job. When we started, gasoline was under a dollar a gallon, and Tom Selleck was doing cigarette ads.”


Ava Gardner, interviewed at her home in London, said she has no time for actresses who lie about their age. “There comes a moment,” she observed, “when every woman has to face up to being an old broad.” In her case that’s 60.

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