What shouldn’t be in a name? Just ask Maria Conchita Alonso, the Cuban-born singer who made her U.S. film debut this year with Robin Williams in Moscow on the Hudson. “Ever since I came to this country, everybody has been trying to take away my middle name, Conchita,” complains Alonso. “Paul Mazursky [who directed Moscow] said Conchita was too ‘coochy-coochy’—like I have fruits on my head.” For her next movie, Touch and Go, with Michael Keaton, the 27-year-old actress will be billed as Maria Alonso. Though she recently dropped Conchita from her Screen Actors Guild card, she vows, “When I become big, I’m going to put it back. I’m going to die Maria Conchita, not Maria Alonso.”
James Keach wants to team up with his brother, Stacy, in a miniseries about John Wilkes Booth and his older brother, actor Edwin Booth. But first James, who co-stars in the soon-to-be released film The Razor’s Edge with Bill Murray, is shooting Moving Violations, a comedy about a traffic school, with Murray’s younger brother, John, 24. Then he’ll produce a spoof about the security-guard business, called Armed and Dangerous, in which Dan Aykroyd has expressed interest. Not that Stacy, meanwhile, is sitting around with nothing to do. His current CBS detective series, Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer, is a success—even if brother James does teasingly refer to it as “Guts and Sluts.” Do we detect a little sibling rivalry?
Lloyd Bridges, who plays cosmetics mogul Grant Harper on ABC’s Paper Dolls, insisted, after seeing the series’ pilot episode, that his onscreen office needed a facelift. “I wanted it to be warmer,” says Bridges. “There was a lot of metal in the office. They needed about an hour to remove the shine. I got them to put in more wood.” He also got the set designers to remove many of the horse statues that decorated his office. “I like horses,” says Bridges, whose character is an equestrian, “but they had me surrounded with them. Instead I wanted pictures of my family and friends.” Bridges’ wish was the producer’s command: The office was redone for a mere $17,000.
Unlike her hubby, Dick Cavett, who has made guest appearances on such soaps as The Edge of Night and All My Children, actress Carrie Nye has been a regular on the CBS soap Guiding Light for four months. But it now seems her days on the show are numbered. Come mid-November Nye’s character, the evil Susan Piper, will meet an untimely death. The circumstances of her demise haven’t been scripted, but Nye has voiced her preference: “I want to be impaled on a hatpin.”
Tired of quiche jokes, satirist Bruce (Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche) Feirstein is cooking up a smorgasbord of projects having nothing to do with food—well, almost nothing. One is a novel for Simon and Schuster, Living Together, which he calls a contemporary love story. “The sexual revolution was like a massive dinner party with 100 things to sample, and now the time has come to pay the check,” says Feirstein, who can’t resist gastronomic metaphors. Also on Bruce’s burners are a play called Sealed With a Kiss, to air next year on HBO; a film about life at a Catskills hotel in 1945, co-authored by Alan King; and a screenplay based on a segment of Best Legs in the 8th Grade, a comedy now showing on HBO.