She knew she’d had a heart murmur as a teenager and was always short of breath. She knew her speed-fueled life as rock’s Acid Queen—even one of the cuts on her upcoming LP is titled Heart Attack—was not a promising cardiac history. And the shooting pains in her left arm were getting worse. So Jefferson Starship belter Grace Slick, 33, decided to visit her trusted acupuncturist. No improvement. She then sought a name cardiologist. A full day’s tests checked out negative. The pains continued. The heart man sent Slick to a psychiatrist. “Has anybody ever crossed you?” asked the shrink. “No,” replied Grace. “Then you don’t need me,” he replied. “Then why the pains!!” cried the exasperated Grace, rising to leave and hoisting the 25-pound denim bag of cameras, books, sandwiches, makeup and pills that she always carries. Slick eyed the shrink. The shrink eyed the tote. End of pains since Grace shifted the burden to her right shoulder.
“The show is terrible—an exercise in bad taste,” says comic Dick Martin of producer George Schlatter’s first of six revivals of Laugh-In. The ’60s version was Martin’s career pinnacle, and he’s threatened to sue Schlatter for, in effect, defamation of a showbiz landmark. But could his putdown be a case of sour bananas because Martin was excluded? “It’s like the old saying,” sums up Dick of Schlatter: “If a monkey climbs high enough he’ll expose his ass. Schlatter is exposing himself as a totally un-creative, untalented person.”
A Father’s Hisses
“She was in tears. She said they had broken up and were living apart,” reported Robert Stewart, Rod’s 72-year-old father, after a phone call from Britt Ekland informing him of rock’s latest seismic separation. “She still loved Rod, she said, and wanted nothing from him.” Except, of course, for an estimated $21 million parcel for their two and a half unmarried years together. Her lawyers called part of that reparations and said that Rod “had an unstable background as it related to his emotional involvement with women.” “When I hear from Rod I’ll certainly tell him not to get into trouble like that again,” declared the elder Stewart, a retired builder, caught between playing I-told-you-so paterfamilias and loyal père. “He’s old enough to know better,” laments Pop. “I warned him someday someone would try to take him to the cleaners.”
The district attorney failed to prove a link between him and Jimmy Hoffa’s disappearance, but Teamster business agent Chuckie O’Brien has not exactly honored the name of his foster father. Chuckie is already appealing a one-year term for accepting a free car from a dealer he was trying to organize, and now a labor council has rapped as a “disgrace” the beefy O’Brien’s use of “nonunion contractors who are exploiting their workers” to build his new $140,000 Florida home.
Two to Tango
Helen Reddy’s managerial husband, Jeff Wald, jockeyed him into emceeing the L.A. Cedars-Sinai hospital benefit. But Dick Van Dyke, knowing that his finale tango partner once studied with Martha Graham, exacted one concession: “I sent word to Jeff that I’d never have the guts to adlib it—and I wouldn’t do it unless I could practice.” So Wald arranged for a rehearsal in her hotel suite in preparation for Van Dyke’s pas de deux with the evening’s honoree at the new Betty Ford Cancer Center.
•Coming on like a distaff Don Rickles, comedienne Joan Rivers has a line that’s left her relationship with bombshell Connie Stevens nip and tuck. “If I had a dollar for every stitch in Connie’s body,” Rivers uncharitably told a Vegas audience, “I’d never have to work again.” Stevens, 39, may make that possible. “If I ever see Joan,” she fumes, “I’ll punch her in the nose.”
•Summer stock has emerged from the tents, but it’s still often theater-in-the-raw. The other night in a production of Camelot at North Tonawanda, N.Y., Lancelot (Jerry Lanning) was plighting his passion to Guenevere (Sherry Mathis) when the sound system shook with a nose being blown. Seems that a backstage mike had been left open, unbeknownst to a sniffly King Arthur, a/k/a Rock Hudson.