August 08, 1983 12:00 PM

Kennedy’s Bag Lady

En route to the family’s compound in Hyannis Port, Mass. during last month’s heat wave, Ted Kennedy bumped into what you might call your upwardly-mobile autograph seekers at the local airport. When one well-dressed traveler couldn’t find a scrap of paper, she held out a beige leather pocketbook for the Senator to sign. He hesitated, then complied. Could Ted Kennedy designer purses be next?

Contrary to Mary

It is surely one of the cruelest typographical errors ever. Mary Cunningham, 31, the former Bendix (and now Seagram’s) vice-president who graduated from Wellesley in 1973, allowed the organizers of a 10th reunion “yearbook” to reprint a speech she made at Dartmouth’s business school last year. In the speech, Mary told the students that the challenge of dealing effectively with corporate politics “confronts every talented individual who dares to excel, who dares to lead….” But in the reprinted version Mary, who was accused of taking professional advantage of a supposed romance with Bendix boss Bill Agee, is quoted as saying the challenge “confronts every talented individual who dates to excel, who dates to lead.”

What Money Can’t Buy

The phone rings at the Electrolux vacuum cleaner store in Westport, Conn. A customer asks how much the best machine costs. He patiently listens to details about the Silverado, a turbine-powered job that costs $549. Then he says he’ll send someone down to pick one up. He also gives his name: “Dangerfield. Yeah, you know, like in ‘no respect.’ ” When a messenger arrives with a check from the one-and-only Rodney Dangerfield, the service manager doesn’t believe it actually comes from the famous comic. He won’t accept the check, and he calls Dangerfield’s personal secretary to prove himself right. But, uh-oh, it turns out Rod did send the dough. Talk about no respect. This guy can’t even buy a vacuum without getting a hard time.

What’s in a Name

Let’s face it. If you’ve made it to the top of the movie biz, you must know something about politics. With this qualification, Italian film director Franco Zeffirelli, 60, ran for the office of deputy (roughly the equivalent of congressman) for his district, which includes Florence. Promising to work for new schools and facilities for Italian artists, Zeffirelli ran up against an unexpected obstacle. His opponents tried to make him run under his given name, Gianfranco Corsi. “My enemies tried to keep me from taking advantage of the popularity of my name,” complained Franco. In the end, he listed both names on the ballot. We’ll never know which of them carried more weight. In any case, he lost the election, coming in sixth out of 16 candidates.


•Israeli statesman Abba Eban was voted one of 1983’s five best orators by the International Platform Association, joining the ranks of previous winners like Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt and Martin Luther King Jr. Asked how he compared himself to such illustrious forebears, Eban quipped, “My advantage over the others is that I’m still alive.”

•Presidential hopeful Alan Cranston, speaking at a Sierra Club meeting in Colorado, told the environmental group, “I understand James Watt doesn’t have anything against trees. It’s just that he doesn’t like them hanging around together in crowds.”

•In a rare interview, given to a school chum now working for a small Canadian newspaper, Prince Andrew denied that he’s a playboy. Asked Andrew innocently, “What is a playboy anyway?” Look it up, Andrew.

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