Rebecca Bricker
February 10, 1986 12:00 PM

In California Dreamin’, a book chronicling her tumultuous career with the Mamas and the Papas, author Michelle Phillips will disclose that she provoked husband John into firing her in 1966. During a trial separation, Michelle had an affair with Byrds guitarist Gene Clarke, who showed up in a front-row seat at one of the Mamas and the Papas’ concerts. After flirting with Clarke from the stage, Michelle was booted from the group for a few weeks. Apparently John was more tolerant of Michelle’s other dalliances, including a fling with fellow band member Denny Doherty. John will give his own view of the marriage, which broke up in 1969, and cover the other ups and downs of his life in Papa John, an autobiography penned with PEOPLE Associate Editor Jim Jerome. Both books are due in May.

It could be a ploy to get more money, but Lisa Hartman might be pulling a Patrick Duffy. Her contract with CBS’ Knots Landing is up for negotiation, and Hartman reportedly wants out of the soap…. Filming an NBC miniseries in which he plays mass murderer Ted Bundy, Mark Harmon calls the role a “real hat trick. Bundy was your basic textbook schizophrenic psycho. One minute he was the all-American boy. The next, he was a deranged psychopath.” Still, says Harmon, who will hang up his stethoscope on NBC’s St. Elsewhere, “It beats pushing bedpans.”…

Bruce Springsteen’s saxophonist, Clarence demons, set to star in a Diet Coke commercial, backed off the night before the taping. Word is that Springsteen, who shuns endorsements, talked him out of it.

Muppets creator Jim Hen-son is working on an Easter special for HBO and the BBC titled The Tale of the Bunny Picnic. All-new Muppet rabbits will be featured…. Diana Rigg, Tim Curry and Charlotte Rae will star in an HBO Halloween special, The Worst Witch, the story of a school where little girls learn the ABC’s of black magic….

Mikhail Baryshnikov and Leslie Browne, co-stars of the 1978 film The Turning Point, will dance again this summer for an American Ballet Theatre production choreographed by Twyla Tharp.

Barbara Hershey’s stature as an actress reaches new heights in Woody Allen’s latest film, Hannah and Her Sisters (see review, page 12). But Hershey felt dwarfed by three of her male co-stars, Max Von Sydow, Michael Caine and Daniel Stern. “Max and Daniel are 6’3″, and Michael is 6’2″,” says 5’4″ Hershey. “In the one scene we did together, I was jumping up and climbing on chairs to get into the shot.” Unfortunately, Hershey’s only scene with Allen (5’6″)was cut.

Ex-football players John Matuszak and Fred Dryer are teaming up for an episode of Dryer’s NBC series, Hunter. “I play the leader of a group of bad punkers,” says Matuszak, who shaved Fu Manchu-style and combed his hair into a Mohawk. Dryer, playing a cop disguised as punker, gets into a fight with his 290-pound co-star. “The scene was carefully choreographed to ensure that we wouldn’t end up hurting each other,” says Matuszak. “Fred may not be one of the biggest guys around, but he always had great moves. I used to watch in awe as he moved his little 235-pound butt out there on the field.”

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