From preliminary returns, his new CBS series, The Blue Knight, looms as yet another click for Joe Wambaugh, but the ex-cop still contemptuously regards show folk as people with whom to make, not break, bread. “You can hate a brother policeman who’s your partner,” says Wambaugh, “but you know that while you’re on the street together, you’d each give your ass to save the other one. In Hollywood, it’s just the opposite. Everybody acts like your friend, but I’m always keeping my fanny against the wall—because if I didn’t, someone would unscrew it and sell it.”
Dristan und Isolde
Among visiting opera stars, Dallas audiences are known not for their couth but their cough, not for their claque but their hack. But perhaps that is the only way Big D audiences uneasily keep themselves awake through four-and-a-half-hour Wagnerian warhorses like Tristan und Isolde, and maybe there is justice on both sides of the footlights. In any case, last time he was in town singing Tristan at the Civic Opera, tenor Jon Vickers had had a bellyful. He swallowed his rage until after he was terminally skewered. Then, lying lifeless on the stage, he could not resist bellowing posthumously to the rafters: “Shut up your damn coughing!”
No Silent Nights
“Our sex life was sensational,” says Jack Ryan, but after less than one year of marriage to Zsa Zsa Gabor (approximate age: 59), the Barbie doll developer learned that man cannot live by bed alone. Recalls Ryan: “Everytime we were out in public—and you know how Zsa Zsa loves her social life—it was like I no longer existed. Zsa Zsa loves to talk. Most of the time it is just to hear herself talk, not really caring what she says or about whom. Most of the time it was about me, which made her—and me—look foolish. I have too much pride and self-respect for that kind of nonsense.” Now, claims Gabor’s sixth husband, it’s Zsa Zsa who’s “hurt—this is the first time a man has walked out on her.”
“I think the business of being old and having to be looked after at home can be very tough on one’s children,” says Deborah Kerr. So though only 54, the actress has made plans that if she survives her husband, screenwriter Peter Viertel, 56, she will seek tea and sympathy not from her two kids but at Mount Alvernia, a home run by Franciscan nuns in Surrey, England. Mount Alvernia is renowned for its tranquil setting, its sisters who grow all the food, and its guests’ longevity—Kerr’s grandmother lived the last four of her 94 years there.
No actor has been more acclaimed for his interpretations of Eugene O’Neill than Jason Robards Jr. But when he chose Long Day’s Journey Into Night for his major directorial debut at Kennedy Center, it was a long night’s journey into nowhere. In fact, when a Washingtonian mentioned having tickets to the show, Robards’ fourth and current wife, ex-TV producer Lois O’Connor, replied, “If you’re smart, you’ll leave before the curtain goes up.”
•When he flipped his lid into the ring to contest the California congressional seat of Pete McCloskey, writer David Harris, ex-husband of Joan Baez, was inevitably asked about the damaging impact of the 20 months’ time he did for resisting Army induction during the Vietnam war. Nah, scoffed the 29-year-old Democrat. “People are ready for a congressman who went to jail before he went to Washington instead of after.”
•Even as she schussed down Colorado’s snowy slopes, the word was that Susan Ford will be married by the end of the year. Though not yet engaged, Susan is reportedly determined to have a White House ceremony, just like Lynda and Tricia, and worries that 76 may be her last shot.
•Now that Sally Struthers has lost her extra stage poundage (with the birth of Gloria’s baby) on All in the Family, Carroll O’Connor wants to trim his beery bulk—for real. Less obstreperous than before, he even sought a by-your-leave from producer Norman Lear, who figured that a sleek bigot would be just as popular and gave Carroll the okay to diet. In fact, Archie’s battle of the bulge will probably become a running gag until O’Connor sheds 20 pounds.