“Peppers are a way of life,” says Gregory Peck, who developed a taste for hot Mexican food during his La Jolla, Calif. childhood. That is one reason the strong-stomached actor looks forward to playing emcee at an L.A. concert by the Israel Philharmonic to benefit Hebrew University. The orchestra’s conductor, Zubin Mehta, is an old pal of Peck, and they both love hot peppers. Practically every time Peck and Mehta meet, the actor puts out his hand and receives a couple of dried red peppers from the conductor’s Brentwood, Calif. garden. “Mehta’s peppers are the hottest of hot peppers and are only for strong men,” says Peck with a laugh. “I’m sorry to sound chauvinistic about it, but the ladies can try them at their own risk.” Peck adds that he hopes to pick up some peppers at the concert, but he may not quench his burning desire. Says Mehta, “The jacket I’ll be wearing won’t have the usual pocket for peppers. Gregory’s going to be out of luck this time.”
“Pressroom,” answered the voice on the press phone in the Los Angeles courthouse where John De Lorean faces charges of conspiring to distribute cocaine. The local newspaper editor who heard that greeting then asked to speak with a certain reporter. “She’s not here now,” came the reply. “May I take a message?” Sometime later the missing reporter returned the call and told the editor that the message had been taken by none other than Cristina De Lorean. Already a darling of the pressroom because of her accessibility, Cristina thought she’d help out when she heard a phone ring with no one to answer it. “Why don’t you clean up my desk while you’re at it?” kidded the reporter later.
The victim was docile and the cops were somber as they entered a police station with the attractive young woman, took mug shots of her and booked her like a common criminal. Even though this experience was somewhat out of character for actress Kim Cattrall, 28ish, she asked for it. Known for lightweight roles like the giggly gym coach in Porky’s and the rich girl turned cop in Police Academy, Kim felt she needed some seasoning to play a social worker with co-star Tim Hutton in Turk 182! So, going by her film character’s name, she spent two weeks as a city social worker with poor and elderly people on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. As a part of Kim’s training, police pretended to file charges against her so that she could understand how a criminal feels. But her run-in ended on a happy note. Says she: “They had all seen Police Academy, so I had to have my picture taken with every policeman there. That’s not usually what happens after you’re booked.”
Losing His Heir
Last year Hugh Hefner met the 26-year-old who claimed to be his illegitimate son, Mark Wilson. After displaying plenty of father-son love, Mark and his newfound dad went for blood tests last February to make sure their relationship was legally recognized. Just before Father’s Day, Hefner disclosed the results of those tests. Seems a mistake had been made and Mark—lacking the blood type of a true Playboy—will not inherit those millions after all. In a rare interview on the subject, Hefner denied rumors that he and Mark had a tiff involving some bunnies, declared he was sure the mistake by Mark’s still-unnamed mother wasn’t intentional and summed up by saying, “Obviously I felt a real disappointment, which I expressed to Mark. I told him it didn’t matter who his father is, but what really was important was who he was, and to look on this as a test of character.” But character is not thicker than water.
While singing one of his hits for 11,000 fans in Milan, Italy, Elton John decided to really make the place jump by leaping from the top of his piano to the stage. Unfortunately, he misjudged the distance and landed in the orchestra pit. Shaken and a little bruised, Elton crawled out and admitted, “Only I could fall in the middle of singing I’m Still Standing.”