Publish or Perish
Is age (she’s now 51) mellowing some of Jacqueline Onassis’ steadfast views? A couple of years ago she put Rolling Stone impresario Jann Wenner on her Drop Dead list because, according to insiders, Wenner, 35, tried to become chummy with a free-lancer named Caroline Kennedy. But now Jackie, in her capacity as a Doubleday senior editor, has signed Wenner to an agreement on a $200,000 book. The lady who quit Viking Press in 1977 after that house had the poor taste to publish a novel about an assassin stalking Teddy Kennedy seems no longer to have any qualms about the exploitative. The book Wenner is to package is yet another tome on the murdered John Lennon.
Although he’s kept a low public profile since Election Day, independent candidate John Anderson has returned to the stump to keep himself personally out of debt. (His 6.6 percent of the popular vote earned him $4 million in federal funds, leaving his campaign $600,000 in the red—a deficit that will be made up by political fund raisers and some kindly forgiveness by lenders.) He’s making a couple of speeches a week, at roughly $5,000 per. Part of his patter centers inevitably around the man who did win on November 4. He gets some of his best laughs by observing that Ronald Reagan’s cautious conduct so far seems to be drawn from words of wisdom uttered by old Hollywood crony John Wayne: “Talk low. Talk slow. And don’t say too much.”
You Make Me Feel So Jung
For her role as a newspaper sob sister in the upcoming TV movie Advice to the Lovelorn, Cloris Leachman insists she drew on a rewarding personal experience. Having realized her own self-potential through est and vegetarianism, Cloris apparently felt qualified to tell an unhappy journalist acquaintance to quit smoking, trim off his extra weight and ditch his longtime wife. “He did exactly as I advised,” she chortles. “Now he’s a very happy man—he bought some gold neck chains and turned gay.”
Having stooped so low as to tout cockroach-killer on TV, Muhammad Ali must be trying to upgrade his image: He’s allowing the McCormick Distilling Co. to put out a porcelain decanter in his likeness. In deference to the boxer’s Muslim faith, the contents will be Grenadine rather than alcoholic, and no, the figurine is not shaped—as Ali has been in recent years—like a beer keg. In fact, boasts Ali, “It looks just like me—beautiful.” But when reminded that the only way to pour is by knocking the block off the $50 decanter, the ex-champ could only shrug: “I’d rather have people taking off my head than my trunks.”
•Got a question about getting on? Florida Congressman Claude Pepper, 80, chairman of the House Select Committee on the Aging, can probably help. He’s negotiating with United Features Syndicate about an advice column for the long-in-the-tooth, mostly responding to his already voluminous mail on Social Security, Medicare and taxes. What? No questions on sex after 70?
•Times are bad all over, even in Los Angeles, where Theodore Cafe has imposed a $1.50 minimum per hour to keep dawdlers from tying up space for a 60¢ cup of coffee. Manager Manolis Arapis has had no complaints, but singer Melissa Manchester was taken aback when she read the fine print at the bottom of the menu. “I thought,” she mused, “that I’d wandered into a parking lot.”
•Impressionists who during the Carter years bemoaned Fritz Mondale’s singular lack of caricaturable foibles have been put to the real test by Reagan’s Veep. As Rich Little cracks, “People ask me if I do George Bush. I say, ‘No—and would you recognize him if I did?’ ”