November 12, 1979 12:00 PM

Get Out of the Kitchen

Washington, D.C. cook Paul Nass has spilled the beans to a local columnist, Maxine Cheshire, about his first and last day as Ethel Kennedy’s cook. He began by fixing one breakfast at a time for Ethel and six kids, right up to the lunch hour, when he got word from Ethel that “steak would be nice,” though there wasn’t any in the house. Staff members rounded up beef for eight. At 6:30 Ethel, having failed to tell Nass about a television producer dinner guest, bristled over the menu featuring pork chops. She asked for a BLT while she puzzled out a more exotic menu. One by one, the kids came in for BLTs. Just before 7 Nass received written instructions from Ethel, via 10-year-old Rory, to “prepare plates for caviar,” another item not on hand. He sent Rory back to Mom with a bye-bye message. The job would have paid $180 a week for six 12-hour days. His story resulted in one job offer—as a part-time cook at a carry-out restaurant—and several invitations from the media to reveal intimate details about Kennedy cuisine. The latter he’s refused because “I’m not into knocking Ethel Kennedy.” Instead, he’s catering out of his home.

The Klutz Factor

As long as Jerry Ford was President, Press Secretary Ron Nessen had to conceal his dismay over the Chief Executive’s image as a bumper into things. (As far back as their first date, Betty Ford recalls, he knocked over a vase of roses at her home.) At a post-presidential roast, Nessen joked that “it got so bad, Secret Service agents had to put training wheels on your bedroom slippers.” But speaking at a course in press secretarying at Washington’s Georgetown University this semester, Nessen admitted the problem wasn’t always funny. “We scrubbed his schedule,” said Nessen. “He couldn’t be photographed with Mickey Mouse, and one year at Thanksgiving we canceled the presentation of the national turkey to Ford, because we were afraid something might happen.”

Burnin’ Funk

The Atlanta Rhythm Section, a rock band, was trundling from one gig to another when they spotted a burning truck on the side of Route I-70 near Kansas City. The van pulled over and while other spectators gaped, guitarist J. R. Cobb, singer Ronnie Hammond and road manager Sammy Amnions pried open the truck’s door and carried the unconscious driver, Nelson Jessee, 45, to safety. After recovering from a concussion and smoke inhalation, Jessee beamed: “I’ve never heard of them before, but anything they do I’ll buy.” Can he learn to love Southern Boogie?

No Cease-Fire

Francis Coppola, whose $30.5 million Apocalypse Now is grossing over $4 million a week, says he isn’t the least bit sorry about calling American journalism “the most decadent, unethical, totally lying confection in the world” in Cannes last May. Although U.S. comment on his Vietnam war epic has ranged from humph to rhapsody, he grouses: “The press has been taking potshots at Apocalypse from the beginning. I’ve felt like screaming, ‘Why? What did I do?’ ”


•After a Vienna State Opera performance of Salome” at the Kennedy Center, Jimmy Carter went backstage to greet the cast. “Hi,” he said to Theo Adam, who sings the role of John the Baptist, then quipped: “I’m a Baptist too.”

•Bette Davis, 71, filming yet another thriller in London, is working on the second volume of her autobiography, to be titled P.S. “When I saw what was written after Joan Crawford dropped dead,” explains Davis, “I thought I’d better get my side of the story in first.”

•Kirk Douglas has one grandchild, 10-month-old Cameron, who lucked out with a mid-chin dimple just like Kirk’s. “Do you know what that means to Dad?” bubbles Cameron’s father, Michael (The China Syndrome). “It’s a sense of immortality!”

•When showbiz stripling Jon (The Waltons) Walmsley, 23, found out he was brunching near Suzanne Pleshette at the Friars Club in Beverly Hills, John Boy’s kid brother sent a waitress over to tell Pleshette he’d always admired her talent and thought she was beautiful. Pleshette’s reply was also admiring: “Tell Mr. Walmsley he’s got great taste.”

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