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Seven-Year Itch

The staff of The Mary Tyler Moore Show is already grappling with the episode airing next spring that’ll be the 168th—and likely last—segment of the landmark sitcom. Co-star Ed Asner confesses that an affair between his Lou Grant and Mary Richards was discussed. “I think it would have been a wonderful way to end seven years, but it can’t happen now that I’m going on in my own series” (as a Washington-based print journalist). Too bad, for, according to Asner’s treatment, “in the last scene, we would retire for the night, the lights would go out and Mary would say, ‘Oh, Mr. Grant!’ ”

Land of Milk and Honey

When the U.S. playwright dramatizing her life arrived in Jerusalem, he found Golda Meir knocking on his door to say shalom. Recalls William (The Miracle Worker) Gibson, she also “wanted to know what I was doing for meals. When I told her it didn’t require a genius to toast a cheese sandwich, she became really upset, scolding me that I wasn’t eating right.” As for a title for Gibson’s work-in-progress, unfortunately A Mother’s Kisses has already been used.

Face-Off

Sophia Loren “was an awkward ugly duckling, a common Neapolitan peasant” when they first met, asserts Italian-trained, U.S.-based facial consultant Pablo Manzoni, who adds that under his touch, she now possesses “one of the most individual and memorable faces of our century.” Manzoni, whose celebrity clients include Moreau, Mercouri, Welch and Barbara Walters, is less optimistic about metamorphosing American women after a visit to Beverly Hills. “It is barbaric and sad,” he reports. “There is such a tremendous youth culture here that women go berserk trying to look young. The poor devils rush to the plastic surgeon with the first little lines and wrinkles.” La Loren, on the other hand, “when she learned as much as she could [about cosmetology], stopped thinking of her looks and concentrated on living.”

It Didn’t Wash

Rolling Stone Keith Richard had an apology when he appeared two and a half hours late in the English court where he’s on trial for possession of LSD and coke. “My young son has German measles,” Keith explained. “We had to get a doctor to see him and make sure he was okay. This was difficult, but I had to see to his health first.” The three magistrates were unmoved, and Richard was docked his original $165 bail, which was then reset at $8,259. Seems that earlier Richard’s barrister had given them a note explaining that his client would be tardy because “he was without trousers due to laundry errors.”

The Song Is Me

Nearing 80, Virgil Thomson, critic and Pulitzer-winning composer (Four Saints in Three Acts, The Mother of Us All), is the grandest old man of American classical music and perhaps the crustiest. When memoirist Irving Drutman pressed Thomson as to whether he still attended concerts, the reply was, “I only go when they’re playing my music. I’m not a voyeur.”

Furthermore

•Of Jerry Ford’s four kids, Jack, 24, has campaigned hardest for old Dad. But one night while stalking votes in Florida, Jack took off to date a Rollins College coed, Marjorie Lynn, the 20-year-old daughter of Budget Director James Lynn. Dinner went so smoothly he never got to a TV that night. Which was merciful, for Jack didn’t have to watch his father bloop in the foreign policy debate with Carter.

•At a benefit auction last year, food guru Craig Claiborne won a dinner-for-two anywhere in the world. He picked Paris’ Chez Denis, which charged $4,000 for Craig’s now notorious 33-course, nine-wine gustatory orgy. Recently the unintimidatible Julia Child and her sous-chef husband, Paul, decided to check out Chez Denis. Her verdict: “The fish was a little stale, and we felt it was a ripoff.”

•Why were Ann-Margret, Peter Ustinov and Michael York idling around the European sets of The Last Remake of Beau Geste? Because director-writer-star Marty Feldman came down with the pre-pubescent disease of chicken pox. “I felt humiliated, at the age of 42,” says nutball Feldman, adding, “If it had been bull pox or horse pox, it would not have mattered.”