By Kim Cunningham
Updated June 01, 1992 12:00 PM


Whoopi GOLDBERG’s comic turn as Police Detective Avery in The Player includes a scene in which she startles the station’s mostly male population by twirling a tampon at her desk. “It was her answer to sexual harassment in the workplace,” jokes director Robert Altman. But Goldberg, 42, who came up with the idea, has a simpler explanation. “Whenever women are together for more than two days,” she says, “they talk about their periods, and that’s what I thought Detective Avery and Detective Broom [actress Susan Emshwiller] would surely be talking about in the police station.”


At 42, Brace Springsteen isn’t exactly doing the E Street Shuffle, but his concert material now includes jokes about his age. During an invitation-only gig earlier in May at the Bottom Line in New York City, Springsteen pointed to a picture of himself on the wall, taken at the club in the ’70s. “Funny, I’ve been doing this for 20 years,” he told the audience, according to The Toronto Star. “How come I look the same, and you guys all look older?” Later the Boss added another five years when he held up an electronic guitar-tuning gizmo he now uses. “This idiot-meter tells you whether you’re in tune or not,” he explained, “because after 25 years of playing this loud, you don’t know.” Maybe when your parents warned you about loud music, you should have listened.


Guess what, folks, Dennis Miller is outta here—if the Screen Actors Guild prevails. SAG wants TV talk show host Dennis Miller to change his name because actor Denny Miller, who had the title role in the egregious 1959 Tarzan, the Ape Man remake and was in the ’60s TV series Wagon Train, registered his name in 1957, and SAG forbids any two performers to use the identical or, in this case, strikingly similar stage names. “I first heard from SAG about this a couple of months ago and I thought it was a joke,” says Miller, 38. “I’m a comedian, not an actor. I’m not changing my name. It’s the name I was born with. What are they going to do? Kick me out of Hollywood?” While SAG’s Name Duplication Committee adjudicates, Denny the actor, 58, has cheerfully suggested this solution: “I’ve offered to shorten my name to Den if they want. At my age, Dennis is getting too long for me to write anyway.”


Family ties are especially tight this summer for Tracy Pollan, who is back home in New York City for the season with her husband, Michael J. Fox. (She is starring on Broadway in Neil Simon’s comedy Jake’s Women, and Fox is in town shooting a new movie.) Her parents and three siblings are nearby, which makes her son, Sam, a very happy 3-year-old. “He sees my family all the time,” says Pollan, 31. “When we’re not working, we go on adventures. For a child his age, New York is a constant parade of activity: horses, roller skaters, buses. He really loves it. We go to Central Park, the zoo, the museums. And FAO Schwarz: That’s a big one for us.” Pollan says her own close-knit family is an inspiration. “I’d like to have more children. I liked the size of our family. If we can find the time to have that many kids, it would be a blast.”