A STAR IS BORNE: At a fund raiser for London’s Royal Opera House, theatergoers were startled to see Princess Diana leave Prince Charles alone in the royal box and exit. Then they were stunned when, after swapping her gown for a slinky, cream-colored dress, she appeared onstage with ballet star Wayne Sleep and danced to Billy Joel’s Uptown Girl. High-kicking Diana revealed plenty of thigh during the duet, which climaxed when the 5’2″ Sleep hoisted the 5’10” Princess above his head. “She was perfect, full of confidence,” Sleep said later. “I was the one who was nervous. I didn’t want to drop her in front of her husband.”

OFF-COLOR REMARK: At a roast for CBS Entertainment President Bud Grant, Flip Wilson opened his remarks by saying, “You’ve all seen my program, Charlie & Company. It’s a black version of The Cosby Show.”

IN THE TRUE SPIRIT OF SHOWMANSHIP: When the Today show goes to New Orleans for Super Bowl week, viewers will get an unusual tour of the city from Night Court’s John Larroquette. The New Orleans native, who plays Dan Fielding on the sitcom, will guide the audience through some lesser-known French Quarter restaurants, plus one very personal landmark. “When Today asked me to show my New Orleans,” says Larroquette, “I figured I’d show them something that’ll never be forgotten. That’s why I’m taking them to the exact place in the park where I lost my virginity.”

A SHORT-ORDER MEMORY: Only two years ago he was a waiter at Manhattan’s Kamikaze nightclub, but Moon-lighting’s Bruce Willis has definitely put the past behind him. Willis recently breakfasted with Whoopi (The Color Purple) Goldberg at Ben Frank’s, a Hollywood restaurant where he’s a frequent and unwelcome patron. “He’s such a pain,” moaned one waiter, explaining that Willis demands that his three eggs be put “on top of the hash” and that the English muffin “has to come out before the eggs.” Apparently Willis was so rude to the help that even Goldberg said, “You could be nice to these people, you know.” But he wasn’t. “He’s not a nice man,” said the cashier. “Right after he leaves, everyone always says, I’ll never wait on him again.’ ”

YES, BUT WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR US LATELY? Helen Hayes revealed that when she was offered a role on “a nighttime soap,” she turned down the part because “I’ve always been rather stingy about selling myself.” But there was one part of the offer that made her downright cheap. Despite her 80 years as a professional actress, the producers wanted to put the First Lady of the American Theater through a six-week probation period. “I was going to be on trial,” laughed Hayes, 85. “They said if I did ‘good,’ they’d keep me in the script.”

PEACE AT ANY COST: What the Geneva Summit produced for world peace is still being debated, but there’s no doubt that it gave a big boost to the Swiss economy. With bills still coming in, sources at the U.S. Mission in Geneva estimate that the two-day conference cost American taxpayers close to $2 million for every hour of Reagan-Gorbachev chitchat. For example, the U.S. motor pool, which consisted of 387 cars, many of which were never used, cost $1 million. The 10 flights used to transport 35 tons of communications equipment, two helicopters and presidential furniture (including a double bed for Ron and Nancy) cost millions more. Even the price of coffee was steep. The Hotel Intercontinental provided U.S. chauffeurs with thermoses of coffee, then billed the mission $5,000 for them. That works out to 120 cups of brew a day per driver at around $2 a cup.

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