The comeback tour of that Dylan of divas, Maria Callas, continues to get mixed reviews onstage and off. In Chicago a lady in the orchestra greeted Maria’s entrance with a house-rattling shout, “Aristotle Onassis chose the wrong woman.” The audience of 3,200 applauded as if it were one giant claque. But when Callas pulled her well-practiced no-show act at the post-concert ball in her honor, Bonnie Swearingen, wife of the board chairman of Standard Oil (Indiana), closed the night with a sourer notice: “For a city that has opened its arms for a woman who has a limited voice, she could have been a little more gracious by at least appearing. I’m indeed disappointed, but I can’t say we missed her.”
She summoned him out of the blue for a quick comb-out last summer. He went reluctantly. The comb-out became a daily ritual. He broke his foot protecting her from a prying photographer. They now wear the same hats and jeans. They shuttle from his house to hers. Hold hands in public. Travel together and give interviews to the press in which the word marriage is never mentioned (he’s already married). He says, “We are a modern couple.” She says, “I hate for just anyone to fool with my hair.” And that’s an updated version of The Way We Were—except it could now be called “The Way We Are.” It stars Barbra Streisand and bearded Hollywood hair-stylist Jon Peters.
Crazy Like a Foxx
What was behind the disappearing act of Redd Foxx, star of NBC’s Sanford and Son, TV’s second-highest rated show? Hospitalized with nervous exhaustion was the official excuse when Foxx turned up missing and had to be written out of the last five episodes of the season. Embarrassingly, Redd kept popping up: once he was spotted by a Variety columnist, unnervously signing autographs in Acapulco. Later Redd appeared on the Burbank set ready to shoot, but not TV shows—he was sporting a pearl-handled revolver in his belt. Most insiders thought Redd’s absence was just a negotiating gambit, but reports varied as to whether he was after more money, a chance to star in specials or windows for his dressing room (“He hadn’t seen a bird in three weeks,” explained a friend). Finally, a network source snapped: “At $25,000 a week Redd could build an aviary if he’s so anxious to hear birds.”
“His mythology has paralyzed him,” claimed the Lords of the BBC. “His brain’s gone to his head,” said one mogul of U.S. television. And so of late, David Frost, 34, the intercontinental talk-show king, has gone into near total eclipse. His protracted 13-month engagement to singer Diahann Carroll and subsequent squiring of Norwegian star Liv Ullmann led him a merry dance—away from the altar. But now he’s headed for marriage with American model Karen Graham, twentyish. Mrs. Mona Frost, David’s 71-year-old mother and a vicar’s widow, spilled the banns, adding that although her son had sworn her to secrecy it was “the gospel truth.” “I always hoped,” said Mona wistfully, “that David would settle down one day.”
Red Sails in the Sunset
The old yak that if you have to ask the price of a yacht, you can’t afford one can be deep-sixed now, because no one, however rich, can be sure of enough bunker fuel to make it go. But one of Britain’s depressed luxury shipyards reportedly just got an unexpected commission for a super-yacht from a buyer who is above such capitalist concerns: Fidel Castro.
Chatting away with Richard Nixon at a Washington party, Louise Gore, the proprietor of D.C.’s ultra-chic Jockey Club restaurant and a former ambassador to UNESCO, reminded the President that she first introduced him to Spiro Agnew. She then added that she was contemplating running for office in Maryland herself. “I haven’t kept up with that state’s politics,” the President murmured, “since the disagreeable incident.”
From Sheilah Graham comes word that the eyebrow-raising phrase in her bylined story on Palm Beach in PEOPLE (March 4) should have read “former ‘chorus’ girl.” “As I have written in several of my books,” she says, “I have always believed in love. I was so busy in this area that I didn’t have time to consider the financial aspects.”