November 22, 1993 12:00 PM


Actor Ron Howard began directing 16 years ago, but while filming his forthcoming drama, The Paper, on location in New York City, he almost felt as if Happy Days—not to mention The Andy Griffith Show—were there again. “The city is so alive and moving,” says Howard, 39. “People wave and say, ‘Hi, Ron!’ Or they call me Richie. Or Opie. Or Opie Cunningham.” He expects plenty of name-calling at L.A.’s March of Dimes gala on Dec. 10, when Howard and producer Brian Grazer, his Imagine Films partner, will be honored by friends and colleagues such as Tom Cruise, Michael Keaton, Steve Martin and others. Says Howard, who normally eschews black tie events: “I didn’t even own a tuxedo until 1991. I was strictly a rental man.”


Marlee Matlin, who played a hearing-impaired assistant DA on NBC’s gritty Reasonable Doubts until it was canceled last spring, is looking to change her image. “I want to do something lighter,” says Matlin, 28. “I’m not a stand-up comic, but I’m hoping a sitcom will come along.” In the meantime, she’ll settle lor the occasional offbeat part, like playing Jerry’s date on Seinfeld or a friendly bank robber on a recent Picket Fences. “This role let me put out the funny side of me,” says Matlin. “There’s nothing in it about deafness. It just happens that I am deaf; it’s time for me to explore something different. I’m so tired of dwelling on it.”


No matter how you spell it, there’s not a single diminutive of Anthony among the hip-hot R&B trio Tony Toni Tone, whose third album, Sons of Soul, has gone platinum. The three are D’Wayne Wiggins, 31, his brother, Raphael, 27, and their cousin Timothy Christian Riley, 28. So where does their name come from? “There was a guy on TV named Tony who used to dress real fly,” says Riley, “And a friend of ours always had to be looking perfect—his hair looking good and everything—so we gave him Tony as a nickname and started having fun with it. If somebody else came into the house who looked better than he did, we’d say, ‘That’s a Tony Tony.’ When we had our first gig, we were like, ‘We don’t have a name.’ So we just invented it on the spot.”


Ever unpredictable, Sean Young dons a blond wig to play a comic femme fatale in the sexy spoof Fatal Instinct. A natural brunette, she claims it was a stretch for her. “Being blond makes you very ruthless, insane and self-centered,” says Young, 34, who once enhanced her own reputation for eccentricity by appearing on the Joan Rivers Show dressed as Catwoman to win that role in Batman Returns. (The part went instead to blond Michelle Pfeiffer.) “I know a lot of actresses who’d love to have my reputation,” says Young. “One thing that’s consistent is that when my name comes up, people go, ‘Ooooooooh! What’s she like?’ At least that’s what people tell me.”

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