Designing Women’s episode on AIDS, which airs this week, was as gut-wrenching off-camera as it will be on. Executive producer Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, whose mother died of the disease following a blood transfusion, wrote the show, in which the women are asked by a dying young man to create a special room in the only funeral parlor in town that will take AIDS patients. The role originally was meant to be played by a young actor who is a real-life AIDS victim. But he had to back out when he became too ill. The part eventually went to Tony Goldwyn, 27, grandson of legendary movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn. Among the guests at a taping: the stricken actor, who watched the goings-on from his wheelchair.
Rhea (Cheers) Perlman apparently likes historical settings for announcing special occasions. In ABC’s salute to the Constitution, Funny, You Don’t Look 200, Perlman and Whoopi Goldberg play two barmaids plying their trade during the drafting of the Constitution. All gussied up in period costumes, Goldberg turned to Perlman off-camera and said, “I feel like I have another person underneath here.” Said Perlman, “Well, I do.” And that’s how the cast found out there was an extra—she and husband Danny DeVito are expecting their third child.
If Valerie Harper found doing Valerie for $60,000 per episode lacking, her replacement, Sandy Duncan, will have to take in ironing to make ends meet. The new star of the retitled Valerie’s Family, which debuts this week, is getting a starting pay of $40,000 per show. But there is hope for her: If the show is still on the air after six years, Duncan’s contract promises her a raise to $90,000 per episode.
Michael Jackson, who has more retooled body parts than RoboCop, won’t be bathing them in just any old tap water in Japan. During his red-hot tour, Jackson is insisting that six cases of Evian bottled water be flown in daily. The person in charge of the task was overheard asking one of Jackson’s people if pricey designer mineral water was really necessary. The answer: Yes.
Miami Vice’s Sonny Crockett (Don Johnson) probably won’t be picking up any Florida family-man-of-the-year awards. Crockett, who hasn’t seen his ex-wife, Caroline (Belinda Montgomery), and son Billy (this time around played by Clayton Barclay) on the show for three years, spends nearly an entire 60 minutes with his family this season. But Caroline has a new man; the fella is also Billy’s idol and wants to adopt the boy, much to Crockett’s dismay.
Her sister-in-law Fergie mingled with the horsey set in Connecticut last weekend, but when Princess Anne visits Nashville next month for a charity steeplechase, she’ll branch out. Country music fan Anne will drop by several Nashville recording studios to watch the Oak Ridge Boys, Ricky Skaggs and T.G. Sheppard at work.
Sydney (Pale Rider) Penny and Lili Hadyn, the two teen stars of TV’s The New Gidget, probably haven’t heard of the historical figures who’ll be guests this season. Among them: deejay Wolfman Jack, singers Jan and Dean, Bob (Gilligan’s Island) Denver and Amanda (Gunsmoke) Blake.
Gary Hart might wish all his affairs were conducted as quietly as the sale of his Washington, D.C, town-house. The pad was sold last month to businessman Ghebre Selassie Mehreteab and his fiancée, Sarah B. Jones, for $325,000; that’s $75,000 more than the Harts paid 23 months earlier. The no-show Harts signed the final papers before a notary public in Denver. The new owners didn’t mind the secrecy surrounding the transaction. Says Mehreteab: “The Harts had a need for privacy and we didn’t want to exploit their misfortune.”