THE SECRET OF MY CARESS: Michael J. Fox revealed one of his all-time feverish fantasies to London’s Daily Mirror recently, and boy, was it a doozy. It occurred on Dec. 4, 1985, during a Royal Gala Performance screening of Back to the Future, at which Fox was seated next to Princess Diana and Prince Charles. “The Princess was gorgeous with these pearls on,” Fox recalled. “Diana is on my immediate left. I’m like on a date with the Princess. Unbelievable. I’m thinking maybe I should move my hand or put my arm around her. A grope in the dark, who’s gonna tell? I really don’t think she would—she would just kind of look at me knowingly, and that would be it, our little shared moment. But I didn’t have the guts to try that out.” Smart move.
SO THIS IS WHAT THEY MEAN BY ROOM SERVICE: Let the hotel Villa Condulmer near Venice know if there’s anything they can do to make your stay more, uh, disruptive. The hotel, chosen as a sanctuary for Ronald and Nancy Reagan prior to this week’s Venice economic summit, installed 100 phones—20 ordinary, 80 satellite—as well as two electric generators in case of emergency and a transmitter for TV broadcasting. A bed was flown in from Washington (and will follow the President this week to his Venice hotel), and two of Nancy’s interior decorators have visited twice to check that the mirrors in the bathroom were installed at the right heights. Of the hotel’s staff of 25, all but the director, chef, maitre d’, concierge and secretary were sent on vacation to make way for a White House crew; the remaining five were sequestered for the five-day stay so that they wouldn’t talk to the press. In addition, paint color was changed, walls removed for security reasons and all of the windows replaced with bulletproof glass. And the hotel staff was warned not to let the cat out of the bag and tell the President that there’s a stable next door; seems Nancy didn’t want to let the President out in the rein.
TACKY-ING ON EXPENSES: Dolly Parton will do a variety show this fall on ABC, and the network reportedly made a $1 million-a-week commitment to it. Speaking at a network presentation to advertisers, Parton preferred to deflect all the high praise heaped on her. Dressed in a white-lacy getup and wearing a three-story hairdo, she politely thanked ABC’s entertainment president, Brandon Stoddard, and added reassuringly, “I’ll work a lot harder than anybody else you’d pay that kind of money to. It takes a lot of money to make me look this cheap.”
NEVER SAY DIE: Jean-Claude Duvalier, the deposed ex-president of Haiti now living in rented splendor on the French Riviera, isn’t ready to give up. “I still have a political role to play in my country,” Duvalier, better known as Baby Doc, told the French newspaper Le Monde. But until his countrymen ask him to come back, Baby Doc claims, “I have no intention of leaving France and expect the French government to lift restrictions on my travel and movements.” He may not want to go back so soon. The present regime in Haiti issuing him in an attempt to recover some of the $120 million-plus he allegedly embezzled when he was President.
ADD INFINITUM: Betty White doesn’t mind when people ask her age, or, for that matter, the ages of her Golden Girls co-stars, Rue McClanahan, Bea Arthur or Estelle Getty. Indeed when the question came up at the American Booksellers Association convention in Washington, D.C., where White was promoting her forthcoming book, Betty White in Person, she was more than happy to answer. “We’re 264,” she said, quickly asking for the next question. A real math whiz—except she’s wrong. The Girls will be happy to know they’re only 240.