April 09, 1984 12:00 PM

State of the Union

“Marriage had a bad name in my book,” Mario Thomas said during a visit to Detroit. “It used to be mud, now I’m willing to call it cloudy water.” The change of heart, sort of, is because Marlo is happily, sort of, married to talk show host Phil Donahue. “Phil is the greatest husband in the world—and he’s nothing to brag about,” she explained.

Lifelong Blizzard

In snowy Chicago kids used to compete at skitching—grabbing onto a car bumper and letting the vehicle slide them down the road—during snow storms. Unfortunately Steve Fletcher, who plays Brad Vernon on ABC’s One Life to Live, remembered that game while driving in the snow with friends. Steve, who admits he had a bit to drink that night, bet his pals he could skitch as well as ever—and if he failed, he would legally change his name to something fitting, like Blizzard. “I was going on fine,” remembers Steve. “Then I hit this dry area and fell away from the car.” So if you notice a new name on the credits when you watch One Life, you’ll know who Steve Blizzard is. Steve plans to file papers for a legal name change as soon as he has time. Now that’s a good loser.

And Then There Was One

Oklahoma City attorney Jim Barrett gave Gary Hart-for-President parties back when most folks hadn’t even heard of the candidate. Now that Gary’s famous, Jim, a close friend since the McGovern campaign days, still gets calls from his old buddy. “There were only two people in the whole world who thought I could win the New Hampshire primary—one was me and one was you,” Gary told Jim. Then he kidded, “Now there’s only one person in the country who believes I can beat Ronald Reagan—and that’s me.”

Lotus Position

Margaret Thatcher’s son, Mark, 30, plans to live in New York while working to spread a chain of Lotus sports car dealerships across North America. David Wickins, 64, his multimillionaire British boss, thinks Mark will do well in the Colonies: “He comes over very well as an upstanding young Englishman, and that goes down particularly well in the sunshine states, where they can be a bit sloppy.” However, even Wickins admits that Thatcher has a strong will, like his mom. “What I have to do, perhaps, is teach him to be a bit less aggressive,” says Wickins. “I appreciate that some people think Mark’s an arrogant sod.”

Incredible Shrinking Woman

Deidre Hall, who plays psychiatrist Marlena Brady on NBC’s Days of Our Lives, gets stacks of letters from people who ask for advice as though she were a real shrink. “I wouldn’t be presumptuous enough to assume I was qualified to counsel people in trouble,” says Deidre. Nonetheless she put a phone in her dressing room—and accepts calls there from unhappy folks when she isn’t on stage doing the same thing.


•Sir John Gielgud plans to observe his 80th birthday this month with anything but retirement. The British stage and screen actor, whose 40-odd movie roles include Dudley Moore’s butler in Arthur, sees only one way to go. As he told London’s Daily Mail, “Ideally, what I’d like to do is die on stage in the middle of a good performance—and with a full house.”

•On March 25, feminist Gloria Steinem turned 50, declaring, “Fifty is what 40 used to be.” Whatever it’s like, she seems in no hurry to celebrate. Her official birthday tribute, a Ms. Foundation benefit at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria, has been set for May 23.

•Actress Jane Seymour recently got her courage up to try parasailing: She soared in a parachute 50 to 100 feet above the water while being towed by a motorboat. “I recommend it to chickens,” says Jane. “Afterward, you feel very good about being a chicken.”

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