May 08, 1989 12:00 PM

DEXTER MANLEY: BOOKS A NEW ACT

LYNN REDGRAVE: SEXUAL REFLECTIONS

PETE TOWNSHEND: SOUND ADVICE

NAKED TRUTH: After successfully shedding the hefty image that haunted her since Georgy Girl, LYNN REDGRAVE gladly embraced her first nude scene in the new film, Getting It Right. “I had a bad weight problem when I was younger and had very low self-esteem about my body,” says Redgrave, who seduces a younger man, played by JESSE BIRDSALL. in the movie. “But over the last few years, my comfort level with how I look has improved. My age has helped, you know. You get used to yourself and accept yourself. My husband [JOHN CLARK, left] makes jokes about the sex scene but it’s hardly sensational. I always felt all that pounding and leaping about ruined love scenes because sex is God’s greatest joke. Which is why the majority of us don’t do it with mirrors—you’d have to stop and laugh.”

DEXTER-OUS READER: Washington Redskin defensive end DEXTER MANLEY, who has overcome problems with alcohol, has now tackled his greatest nemesis—illiteracy. During a recent dedication ceremony at the Lab School of Washington, where for the past three years he spent many nights learning to read, Manley said: “It was embarrassing to admit that I couldn’t read. I used to just guess at words.” Manley, who attended Oklahoma State University, says when he first went public with his reading problems, “I was afraid that people would think I was dumb, but then I thought about what I could do for others if I came forward.”

FIRST ROOTS: First Lady BARBARA BUSH, who is called the Silver Fox partly because of her undyed locks, isn’t very popular with ROBIN WEIR, Washington hairstylist to NANCY REAGAN. “My Aunt Gertie came in—and I’ve been coloring her hair since I was in beauty school in 1969—and she announced to me that she’s not going to color her hair anymore. She said if Barbara Bush can go gray, she can go gray, and I said that’s fine and dandy but don’t forget that it’s paying my rent,” says Weir, who now monitors D.C. hairstyles from his downtown salon. “Many, many, many are saying they’re considering not coloring their hair because Barbara Bush doesn’t do it and my comments are unprintable.”

HEAR’S THE PROBLEM: The Who is reuniting for a summer tour kicking off June 24, but rocker PETE TOWNSHEND has audible reservations about playing live. “The reason I haven’t performed live for a long time is that I have severe hearing damage,” says Townshend, who hopes to minimize further damage by playing an acoustic guitar during the tour. “There are a lot of kids with loud amps and plugged-in ear phones who drink a bottle of whiskey and then play guitar, which is what I used to do. I’ve actually disabled myself doing my job and it’s painful and frustrating. If I expose myself to loud electric guitars, particularly my own, my hearing suffers. So I’ve decided to play a bit like JOHN DENVER. I believe I can make an acoustic guitar sound electric anyway.”

HOCUS FOCUS: While she admits (hat her present marriage to Norwegian businessman ARNE NAESS has made her happier than ever, DIANA ROSS doesn’t cast him as her savior. “I’ve always had a focus in my life,” Ross, whose new album is titled Workin’ Overtime, told London’s You magazine. “He’s not my focus. He’s my husband, my companion, my lover, my confidant. But not my focus. I wasn’t lost—then I found A me. I was single, met a wonderful man and we enjoyed each other’s company and our times together. So it was not lost and found. That’s crap. I’ve never been lost.” C’mon, Diana, stop in the name of love.

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