Peter Castro
September 18, 1989 12:00 PM

DANNY DEVITO: SPLIT DECISIONS

DUSTIN HOFFMAN: TALL TALE

TRICKS, NO TREAT: One of the more insightful discoveries made by PENN JILLETTE (below at left with his partner, TELLER) is that sex isn’t in the cards for most magicians. “Being a magician is a stigma—women think it’s a dorky thing to be, and pulling out a deck of cards on a date would be a major handicap,” says Jillette, who, with Teller, has written a book, Cruel Tricks for Dear Friends, and will star in the new movie Penn & Teller Get Killed. “If a woman realizes she’s out with a magician, the date’s over. Give BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN a deck of cards, and give me a guitar, and see which of us scores quicker.”

SHORE IS HOT: Songbird DINAH SHORE was moved to tears recently when the main street in her hometown of Winchester, Tenn., was renamed the Dinah Shore Boulevard. “It was a warm day, but the spirit was incredible, “says Dinah. “I couldn’t talk, and tears were filling up my eyes. I thought all the children [majorettes and band members] were experiencing the same thing until I looked and saw that what these poor children had was sweat and that they were probably thinking, ‘If she would just shut up, we could get out of this sun.’ ”

LITTLE BIG DREAMS: Diminutive DUSTIN HOFFMAN, whose height is in the 5’6″ neighborhood, is used to small talk. “I have lost many parts because of my lack of stature,” Hoffman told the Daily Mail in London, where he’s playing Shylock onstage in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. Hoffman said he still dreams of playing James Bond, “But nobody’s ever asked me. It’s the one role I could do brilliantly, but I guess I’m just too small.”

DOUBLE TROUBLE: “Directing and acting are very different, “says DANNY DEVITO, who performed both duties for the darkly comic War of the Roses. De Vito plays a divorce lawyer in the movie, which stars MICHAEL DOUGLAS and KATHLEEN TURNER and opens in December. “It’s hard to say which I like better. In this picture, I’m doing both. The most difficult thing as director is dealing with Danny DeVito, who’s like a big star. He’s a prima donna. You can’t control the guy. Conversations are harrowing in [my] trailer: ‘Get out there!’ ‘No, I won’t!’ ‘You can’t direct your way out of traffic!’ ‘Well, you can’t act!’ ”

OVERALL APPEARANCES: Director STEVEN SPIELBERG, after seeing ABC’s Vietnam series, China Beach, cast MARG HEL-GENBERGER, who plays the hooker K.C. on the show, as an airplane mechanic in Always. That’s the retooling of the 1943 SPENCER TRACY-IRENE DUNNE romantic comedy, A Guy Named Joe, that Spielberg is filming with RICHARD DREYFUSS and HOLLY HUNTER. “Before Spielberg gave me the part,” says Helgenberger, “he wanted to know how I looked in overalls, so I told him that I used to work in a meat-packing plant, where I wore a bloody frock and hard hat all day—and I still got wolf whistles. I told him I mostly worked on the boning table, so you could guess what my nickname was. Yes, I was a ‘boner.’ ”

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