“You should have seen me a month ago,” cracked a self-consciously bulging Elvis Presley to his Las Vegas Hilton audience—the first he dared face live since Labor Day. A month ago Presley was reportedly at the Duke University Medical Center on a crash rice diet, and prior to that he had checked into a Memphis hospital after canceling several Vegas gigs. The efforts were not entirely successful. Even the casino press agent conceded Elvis “has a little bit of a weight problem,” and the Hilton enacted a highly unusual no-photographs-allowed policy. One pro cameraman who did sneak a few pictures of what has become of the world’s most famous pelvis had his film confiscated.
In researching his upcoming biography on the Shah of Iran, French author Gerard de Villiers got word that the potentate, prior to marrying his third and current wife (the Empress Farah Diba), used to import a statuesque blonde from Scandinavia each week. To verify the story—as well as further details that the Shah started off each evening with a rather tangle-footed dance, then ended it bestowing a $10,000 Persian bauble on his guest—de Villiers’ own dazzling wife, Annick, put the question. Responded the Shah: “I don’t dance that badly. And why only once a week?”
His Watergate reporting with Washington Post colleague Bob Woodward was strictly front page, but Carl Bernstein’s life since copping a Pulitzer Prize and collaborating on their best-selling All the President’s Men has become mostly gossip column. Seeming to enjoy the company of writers, he stuck with columnist girlfriend Nora Ephron just long enough for her to help him doctor the screenplay of the book (which insiders report is about as sophisticated as a Hardy Boys novel). Then the younger “Woodstein” partner elevated his literary sights. His new flame, herself a Pulitzer winner for her Vietnam book, Fire in the Lake, is Frances “Frankie” FitzGerald.
Their 31 years of marriage had produced her best-seller, Born Free, and a litter of three sequels, two movies and a TV series all focusing on their famous lioness Elsa. But then six months ago game warden George Adamson, 69, left his authoress wife Joy, 65, and their Lake Naivasha home near Nairobi, for a remote upcountry game preserve they co-founded. “I want my husband back,” Joy says, “but he says I’m too suburban. He prefers his lions to me.” George pleads guilty as charged. “Joy is welcome to come out here and live with me, but I doubt if she will. She is too much into the cocktail circuit. I have about 10 years of useful work left in me,” he declares, “and I consider it more important than marriage.”
Third Person Plural
Following in Rita Hayworth’s conjugal footsteps hasn’t always been easy, admits Italian Countess Paola Mori, third wife of Hollywood’s ancien terrible, Orson Welles. Still, their union has survived two decades, helped in part, it seems, by the openness of their marriage. “Do you think my husband has never had affairs? It would be very silly of him not to, with all the beautiful girls who are always around,” Paola admits. “It makes me terribly cross, and I don’t want to know about it.” Then she adds, rhetorically, “Have I had my affairs? All my life. But it has to be a special occasion, and I have to be in the right mood…for biological necessity, that’s all. My husband has spoiled every other man for me.”
•Almost as if to prove he really isn’t a presidential candidate, Sen. Edward Kennedy and his wife, Joan, are allowing themselves to be seen publicly with other companions. One woman frequently at Teddy’s side at chic Washington bistros is blond Page Lee Hufty, a late 20-ish local socialite and Standard Oil heiress.
•With his divorce from Claudine Longet in the works, Andy Williams continues to date Jeannie Martin, Dino’s ex, and appears from time to time at Ethel Kennedy’s side. But cronies say he still moons over Claudine (and her expected marriage to skier Spider Sabich), so much so in fact that the very mention of her name throws him into a funk.
•His Gillette Twinjector blades ad campaign to the contrary, the razor Telly (Kojak) Savalas employs every morning to keep his torpedo top sleek—and again every night he goes on the prowl—is electric.