October 15, 1979 12:00 PM

Get the Hook

He’s a hit as Taxi’s unspecified ethnic, but comedian Andy Kaufman did an unfunny turn as a guest on Dinah and Friends. First Kaufman masqueraded as one of his comedy routine characters, nightclub singer Tony Clifton, signed his contract by that name and refused to be called by any other. Then he borrowed—and ruined—props from a magician’s act; surprised Dinah Shore into singing a duet they hadn’t rehearsed and rambled far beyond his allotted time. When he asked the audience if they wanted more, they booed, and Kaufman—or Clifton—was escorted from the stage by four studio guards.


Playing at a White House reception, pianist-composer Marvin (A Chorus Line) Hamlisch said he’s not itching to be as famous as his music. Despite his Oscars, relatively few movie fans remember that Hamlisch wrote the score of The Way We Were and did the sound track for The Sting. But practically everybody knows that both films starred Robert Redford. “It’s amazing what my music has done for his career,” said Hamlisch wryly. “But I’m not jealous. He’s probably at home right now, looking at the mirror and saying, ‘I wish I could play the piano like Marvin Hamlisch.’ ”


Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, waiting on the tarmac at Andrews Air Force Base, was fidgeting: Mexican President José López Portillo was almost 40 minutes late, unthinkable in the world of international protocol. Then Vance found out why. Once airborne from New York, López Portillo discovered to his chagrin that he’d left his mother behind. The plane circled back, but got caught in air traffic and had to abandon the effort. Mama flew down commercial.

Check, Please

Selling a script to a big-name producer like Michael (China Syndrome) Douglas is quite a feat, especially for a first-time screenwriter who’s just 24. Malibu waitress Diane Thomas did exactly that. Douglas read her love story, tentatively titled Romancing the Stone, on a Thursday, decided on Friday and signed the papers Monday morning. Thomas won’t say how much she’s getting for her maiden script. “My private life is private,” she says, but it’s reportedly a bundle for a rookie, even without a tip.

Choice of Entrée

New Zealand’s Ambassador Meryn Norrish was suddenly called away from dinner to meet with Vice-President Walter Mondale, and the boys from protocol are still shaking their heads. The impromptu parlay occurred when Mondale and his wife, Joan, out for a quiet evening stroll in blue jeans, spotted an interesting painting through the window of the New Zealand Chancery, which is near the vice-presidential home. They wanted a closer look. A startled custodian let them in, but figured it would be diplomatic to summon Ambassador Norrish who says, “Of course I was surprised. But we were delighted.”


•At a Fairfield, Conn, rally for John Connally, ex-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger showed up, said he could not get involved in the presidential primaries, then proceeded to lavish praise on the former Texas governor. How come? “Those of us who speak with accents,” Kissinger explained with a smile as wide as the Rhine, “have to stick together.”

•At a somewhat chilly outdoor congressional party, National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski’s wife, Muska, braved the elements in a very low-cut evening gown. “You must be out of your cotton-pickin’ mind,” sputtered a guest. “No,” retorted Brzezinski, going for Zbig laugh, “She’s out of her cotton-pickin’ dress.”

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