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MASTER FULL: Turns out Richard Gere’s Buddhist bent and devotion to Tibet’s religious leader, the Dalai Lama, had him reconsidering Lotus Land. “I asked the master if I should leave my profession,” the actor told an assemblage of journalists in Milan. “He said no.” Whew! Gere also made assurances that his Eastern faith interests will not translate into a Shirley MacLaine-style miniseries or big-screen fanaticism. “I can tell you that I will never make a film about Buddha, but I might make documentaries about Tibet.” Is that a promise?

GI JUDDS: Country music’s favorite tag team, the Judds—mom Naomi and daughter Wynonna—proved not-quite-regular troopers when they paid a USO visit to the Marines at Guantánamo Bay Naval Station in Cuba. Told they would fly down in a Navy plane, fashion-conscious Naomi quipped, “A Navy plane? Don’t you have something in turquoise?” Once at the base, besides singing for the troops, the two joined in a marching drill. “I asked if I could do the drill commands, and they said sure,” recalls Naomi, “but the only thing I knew was ‘The Hokey Pokey,’ so here I am standing up in front of this platoon of marines singing, ‘You put your right foot in, you put your right foot out.’ Nobody followed, they just stood there with this terrified look on their faces.” Clearly not veterans of the dance halls of Montezuma.

THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS: Robert Wagner’s daughter Katie, in New York at a party celebrating the publication of Jill St. John’s new cookbook (St. John, of course, is Dad’s longtime companion), reports that she’s still in touch with her ex-boyfriend, rockthrob Dweezil Zappa. “We’re still very close friends,” says Katie. “I’m 23, he’s 18, and that’s a big difference at this age. But he surpasses me in maturity, I’m sorry to say.” Besides, she confides, the Dweez has his eye on someone else. “Now that Sean [Penn] and Madonna have split, he’s waiting on Madonna to come knocking at his door.” But is Madonna desperately seeking Dweezil?

JILTING JOE: Angie Dickinson learned the hard way that diamonds are a boy’s best friend—the baseball kind. Angie engaged in disorderly conduct by sneaking in after visiting hours to the hospital room of beau Larry King, the talk show sovereign recovering from bypass surgery. Her accomplice, Bob Woolf, the lawyer-agent who represents King and many sports stars, entered the room first and told Larry, “I have a nice surprise for you.” King perked up. With that, in walked Angie. “Oh,” said King, “I thought it was going to be Joe DiMaggio.”

STAR-CROSSED: At the Kennedy Center Honors Gala in Washington, D.C., actresses Diahann Carroll and Michele Lee found they had something in common. “People kept saying tonight how much we look alike,” said Lee. “Two people said, ‘If you just put dark makeup on.’ I said to her we should be doing a television movie together, a relationship thing.” Recalling Carroll’s stint on Dynasty as Blake Carrington’s half sister, Lee observed, “If she can go around being related to John Forsythe [Blake], she might as well be related to me.” Guess who concurred? “I look more like Michele than like Blake,” said Carroll, adding, “I think most of us are more related than we dare to admit.”

NO STRINGS: Already double-faulted with a head cold and an ear infection, Jimmy Connors, 35, was huffing, puffing and coughing his way through a doomed effort against Boris Becker at the Nabisco Masters in New York when the surprise play was made. As Connors braced for one of Becker’s booming serves, a woman’s voice broke the silence at Madison Square Garden. “I want you, Jimmy!” she screamed. Connors, who gets a lot of encouraging catcalls, couldn’t ignore this one. Wagging his finger, the old man of the men’s tennis tour yelled back, “I’m too tired to play tennis, let alone handle you, baby.” Nice return, Jimbo.