For the Love of Liza
He was Piaf’s protégé. He has been married three times. Yet French chanteur Charles Aznavour still remembers his short, passionate flirtation with Liza Minnelli when she was just 17 to his 39. “She was unknown then,” says Aznavour. “But I knew that she would make it. She always accepted my advice. When I love someone, I always tell the truth. If necessary I will say, ‘That was a terrible performance.’ ” But Liza, who just finished 11 anything-but-terrible performances at Carnegie Hall, apparently forgave his candor. “She has a shirt of mine,” adds Charles. “She asked for it, and she still wears it.”
After the Jewish Princess cut on Frank Zappa’s recent Sheik Yerbouti album caused a storm of protest, he vowed to show “I’m not anti-Semitic” with a song called Catholic Girls. It turns up on his 28th LP, Joe’s Garage. The lyrics speak of a CYO member named Mary “with a tiny little mustache” and a sexual appetite that’s not. “The prototype is based on several girls who’ve been on tours that I’ve been on,” says Zappa. “They come along for three or four cities, supposedly to do the laundry. Then you find out they can’t do laundry at all.” Still, Zappa insists, “I don’t do these songs to be controversial. It’s side one, cut three and that’s all. I could do a song on girls from Venus,” he shrugs, “but nobody would get it.”
Lynn Marta may rue the day she agreed to go with boyfriend David Soul—Starsky and Hutch’s blond half—to Israel. Bad enough he went to look at other women—as a beauty contest judge. But after Lynn wandered onto the balcony of their Tel Aviv hotel suite one night to admire the sea, she discovered that the door had locked from the inside. Soul was sleeping so soundly that nonstop banging on the window couldn’t rouse him. Nor could passersby below, whom a freezing Lynn had begged to call the room (the phone was apparently off the hook). So who should come to the rescue but actor Peter Strauss (Rich Man, Poor Man), miraculously assigned a room down the hall. Peter, there to star in ABC’s forthcoming film Masada, heard Lynn and brought her in from the cold.
The conference at Georgetown University dealt with NATO’s future, but man of the world Henry Kissinger managed some moments of levity. On his own accent, Kissinger observed: “Everyone has a language problem. I’ve resolved mine by never making quite clear what language I’m speaking.” Then, after a coolly flattering toast by Belgian Foreign Minister Henri Simonet, Kissinger offered his own translation. “I thought I detected some friendly references, even though French is not my best language,” he said. “Of course, I would have detected them if you had spoken in Swahili. And,” Kissinger concluded with a straight face, “I would have assumed them if you had said nothing at all.”
How High Were They?
His studio in Bur-bank seats just 500, so Johnny Carson was understandably nervous about playing Pine Knob, an outdoor summer theater near Detroit. It was his biggest live audience in six years—8,000—and there was no Ed McMahon to get the laughs going. But after pacing back and forth in Pine Knob’s version of the green room, Carson took comfort in what friends had observed after a peek out front: “Half the audience is on grass.”
•Could Debbie Reynolds still be bitter about losing husband Eddie Fisher to Elizabeth Taylor 21 years ago? Debbie, better known these days as Carrie Fisher’s mother, ends her nightclub routine with this stunning putdown: “Got to watch the weight, girls,” Debbie says. “I’ve been trying. Know what works for me? On my refrigerator door I’ve pasted a picture of Liz Taylor.”
•In the five years he was married to Marilyn Monroe, playwright Arthur Miller managed to complete only one script—The Misfits —which he did for her. Why not more? “There was no way,” Miller concedes bluntly. Coping with Marilyn “was all I could manage to do.”