Fred Bernstein
September 20, 1982 12:00 PM

Checkmate

Where should Warner Bros. Records send the $177,488 in royalties it owes Rod Stewart for the second quarter of 1982? Officials of the record company have been pondering that question since they received separate letters from Stewart and Riva Music, the company run by his former manager, Billy Gaff, each claiming first right to the payment. Stewart fired Gaff last March for “abuse of trust” after 14 years together, and now Rod is suing for $30.2 million. Gaff is also suing Rod. Perplexed, Warner execs have appealed to Los Angeles Superior Court for instructions on how to distribute the money. Said a Warner spokesman, “We’re in the middle. We just want to send the dough to the right party.”

State Secrets

Before writing her novel Millie Myerson and the Prince of Wales (which purports to answer the question “Can a nice Jewish girl find happiness with His Royal Highness?”), author Penina Speigel, 39, read everything she could about the real-life holder of that title. Among the tidbits she discovered about “Charles P” (he signed his marriage certificate that way; the “P” means Prince): He always carries a regular British passport (only his mom the Queen is exempt, since “they’re issued in her name, and it would be bloody stupid if she gave herself a passport,” Speigel says). He doesn’t normally carry keys—”What would he ever have to unlock himself?” shrugs Speigel. There was only one thing she regrets not being able to find out about His Highness. The Prince, she says, refuses to tell interviewers what he wears in bed.

Far Gone Conclusion

Barry Manilow has a potential hit in Oh, Julie!, an album on the way and a world tour planned for October. Still, the music biz superstar has failed, so far, to segue into acting, which he has been studying for years. In 1980 it looked like he might make the switch with a film he’d written for himself called Encore, with Frank Sinatra as his father, but the whole thing “fell apart,” says Barry. He’s still looking for the right property. “I’ve read a lot of scripts,” laments Manilow, “a lot of bad scripts. But I’ll tell you: If I do make a movie, I’ll get an Oscar for it.”

Cooling-off Period

Laurence Olivier has always had a way with words. In his autobiography, Confessions of an Actor, which will be published next month in England, Lord Larry tells of the day in 1949 when Vivien Leigh announced over lunch, “I don’t love you anymore.” Writes Olivier, who had been married to the actress since 1940, “The central force in my life, my heart in fact, as if by the world’s most skillful surgeon, had been removed. It was as if I had been rendered forever still inside, like a fish in a refrigerator.”

Seat of Power

Ignoring his substantial girth, Luciano Pavarotti usually shuns first class when he flies, “because in economy I can sit right over the wings—and next to the emergency exits.” On the ground, however, the hefty tenor prefers wider distribution. For last month’s West Coast gala premiere of his film, Yes, Giorgio, workmen removed half a row of seats from the theater on MGM’s back lot and replaced them with two massive, overstuffed chairs: one for Luciano and the other for his manager, Herbert Breslin, who’s slim but didn’t want the singer to have to sit all by his lonesome.

Furthermore

Vice-President George Bush jokes about a talk he gave recently to a women’s group that wasn’t very well received. When it was over, “A woman came up to me,” he reports, “and said, ‘That’s the worst speech I believe I’ve ever heard.’ ” After the woman left, Bush continues, “another one walked up to me and said, ‘Don’t believe her. She’s the biggest gossip in the organization, and she just repeats what she hears.’ ”

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