Pamela Lansden
October 30, 1989 12:00 PM


Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson, in giving their new baby girl, Dakota, the middle name of Mayi, seem to have officially signaled that they too can be counted among the showbiz followers of Gurumayi. The guru, in her mid-30s, is an Indian woman who took the name Chidvilasananda when she succeeded Swami Muktananda after his death in 1982. She had been his translator. Gurumayi and her followers practice Siddha meditation. She is based in India, but the group maintains a center in South Fallsburg, N.Y., in the Catskills area. Her followers are said to include Peggy Lipton and John Denver, below. A non-follower who attended a birthday bash for the guru in South Fallsburg last summer reports, “It was like a party for royalty or a god.” Denver, Jimmy Webb, Mandy Patinkin and Lulu sang to the strains of a 75-piece orchestra while Gurumayi, swathed in purple and crimson robes, sat on a throne perched above 2,000 celebrants, including Patricia Neal and James Brolin. “When you go up there, it’s like entering Stepford land,” says this guest. “People drive around with Gurumayi’s picture on their dashboards and honk if they love her.”


The late Bette Davis wanted to play what promised to be another juicy part before she died Oct. 6. She had discussed portraying makeup maven Helena Rubinstein during her later years in a feature film, Helena, set to start shooting next month. “Bette loved the script and was excited about doing it,” says casting director Don Pemrick. “She loved her opening scene—the one in which the 93-year-old Helena valiantly fights off three thieves in her East Side apartment building in New York.” So who will fill Bette’s pumps? Pemrick says producer Georges-Alain Vuille is signing Shelley Winters as a replacement. French actress Valerie (Breathless) Kapriski will play Rubinstein asayoungwom-, an, while F. Murray (An Innocent Man) Abraham and Jurgen (A Dry White Season) Prochnow portray her lovers. “I’m heartsick,” says Abraham. “Even though we wouldn’t have had a scene together, I was making it a point to be on the set while she was there.” In addition to U.S. locations, the movie will be shot in Warsaw, Venice and Australia.


Even a star as big Sean Young, who came a box office draw after her hot sex scenes with Kevin Costner in 1987’s No Way Out, can end up on the cutting room floor. In December 1988, when he cast list was announced for Woody Allen’s latest movie, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Young was right up there with Mia Farrow, Anjelica Huston and Martin Landau. But Sean is nowhere to be found in the finished film. No big deal, says a Crimes publicist. “This is very typical of an Allen picture,” says the rep. “Sean only worked two days. Woody shot a scene with Sean at the very end of the movie and then decided he didn’t want to go in that direction. It’s his way of writing. But he had nothing against Sean. He thought she was great and is looking forward to working with her again.”

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