Chief Justice Warren Burger minced no words this term in telling off the press—and he soon may have even more reason to boil. Watergate snooper Bob Woodward has reportedly managed to glom onto some highly confidential Supreme Court memos and minutes for an upcoming book. The documents are said to paint a picture of the justices—especially Burger—as preoccupied with personal rivalries and given to intemperate, if not downright prejudicial, remarks in chambers. Several justices have already received Woodward’s famous Watergate-style “confirm-or-deny” phone calls—and, says one source, “Burger is going up the wall.”
Some ABC evening news staffers are just wild about Harry Reasoner—and sorry to see the anchorman depart to be co-editor of CBS Reports. “Harry talks without moving his mouth a great deal,” says one. “Such people are extremely articulate and can handle very complex sentences.” But with co-anchorperson Barbara Walters—who has a slight pwoblem with her Rs—there have been difficulties. Like what? “Well, making sure, for instance, that Harry gets to read items involving Mount Ararat…”
Columbia Pictures President Daniel Melnick cares enough to send the very best, so when pal Tina Sinatra’s birthday rolled around he had Los Angeles artist Marilyn Hamill whip up a $2,000 life-size doll—of himself. Only trouble was, after Hamill shlepped Melnick II to the house for a final check against Melnick I, the executive’s new security guard spied the effigy being stuffed into a car and became suspicious. He tailed the auto for a few blocks, then had second thoughts and raced back to the house. Melnick answered the door to find his private cop with gun drawn—and himself with the need for a fast explanation.
On a recent trip to Houston inflation czar Robert Strauss showed one way to slash expenses: Passing a hotel newsstand, he nabbed a paper without giving the vendor so much as a second glance. Confronted by reporters who had witnessed the heist, Strauss sputtered, “Are you kidding? I thought they put those papers out there for us to take!” Then he returned, red-faced, to stuff a wad of money into the startled newsboy’s hand.
Rudi Nureyev insists he and Mikhail Baryshnikov are great friends, but he can’t seem to come up with anything but left-handed—or -footed—compliments for his fellow ballet defector. “We are very different dancers—he is very athletic, the acrobat,” says Rudi. “I always thought I was a dancer with enough agility, enough sensibility to make my body speak as eloquently as the ballerina. I believed that a man could be as expressive and as refined without appearing ridiculous.” Of their Russian training, Rudi explains, “Though we were both soaked in the Kirov background, there is always an ebb and flow in style. I got the style when it was ripe. Baryshnikov was still crawling under the table when I was dancing in Leningrad.” And has Rudi been to see Misha in the Oscar-nominated film The Turning Point? Nyet. “There are too many films of great quality to see—before I go to soap opera.”
•The word from London: George Harrison’s girlfriend, Olivia Arrias (once a secretary at his Dark Horse Records), is very Lady Madonna—and the last unbred Beatle should become a father sometime in August.
•According to Presidential Assistant Midge Costanza—who recently gave Tatum (International Velvet) O’Neal a White House tour—it can be lonely near the top. “I took Tatum to the Rose Garden,” sighs Costanza, still adjusting to being kicked downstairs to an office in the White House basement, “and explained a lot of famous things had happened there—Tricia Nixon’s wedding, for example. I go out there and I can’t even get mugged.”
•Lithe actress Margot Kidder describes the dramatic demands of filming the $33 million-plus-budgeted Superman (in which she plays Lois Lane): “Most of the time we just stand there, bending to the wind machines while they throw birds past our heads.”