“There isn’t much competition, really,” explains starlet Fiona Lewis about her seismic social calendar while in Hollywood to film Drum, the sequel to Mandingo. “Most of the girls here have baked brains. It’s all that sun.” What about stories that back in Britain she fraternized her way to the top? Retorts the lanky 29-year-old, who’s best known for showing all in Ken Russell’s Lisztomania and in Playboy: “If I did, I couldn’t have been much good—it’s taken me 10 years to get this far.”
It’s been 15 years since ballet star Rudolf Nureyev defected spectacularly from Russia and last saw his mother. And now that Farida Nureyev, who’s in her 70s, has moved back to Ufa, a rail center in the Bashkir Republic, she doesn’t have a telephone. So recently Nureyev appealed to two Western heads of state for help in persuading the Kremlin to allow his mother to leave Russia for a visit. British Prime Minister Harold Wilson reportedly agreed—but has since resigned. That leaves Gerald Ford, who, states Nureyev, “has promised me he will help—but nothing has happened so far.”
At 30, Hayley Mills is about to fall into the parent trap for the second time—but her baby, due in July, won’t be by her estranged husband, British producer Roy Boulting. The father is actor Leigh Lawson, whose wife recently shredded what remained of Hayley’s Pollyanna image when she named her the corespondent in a divorce suit. Though Lawson concedes that “there is no movement with regard to Hayley’s divorce,” he maintains that “we’re very delighted” about the baby. Then, perhaps with a backhand reference to Boulting’s 62 years, the actor, 32, adds, “We’re just two young people incredibly happy together.”
The Son Never Sets
To show that after 200 years there’s no hard feelings, a British exhibit of Bicentennial minutiae is opening at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England. The show’s highlight, a tableau depicting a 1785 meeting at which John Adams presented his ambassadorial credentials to King George III, features a taped re-creation of their dialogue. Reading Adams’ lines is another Boston lawyer who’s served at the Court of St. James’s, Elliot Richardson. And dubbing the monarch’s words is one of the “Mad King’s” admirers—and descendants—Prince Charles.
Body and Soul
Before making it as a rock impresario, Bill Graham aspired not to book acts but to act himself—yet he never advanced past Lee Strasberg classes, summer stock or B-flicks. Not, that is, until San Francisco neighbor Francis Ford Coppola offered Graham, now 45, a role in his Vietnam film, Apocalypse Now, previously nixed by Robert DeNiro. “I’d take his leftovers anytime,” says an exultant Graham, who does admit he “had second thoughts, because the character will not be liked by anyone.” Only after reassurances from friend Jane Fonda, Coppola and star Marlon Brando, though, did Graham accept. His fear of typecasting is understandable: he’ll portray what Coppola describes as “a sleazy Hollywood agent.”
•A dogged defender of Richard Nixon, Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz (previously a dean at Purdue University says that if he had to put a grade on the past seven years, it would be A-minus. In the long term, Watergate, according to Butz, was like blowing a 10-minute pop quiz: “It was stupid—like General Motors breaking into Ford to steal Edsel plans.”
•To some stars, success is sinking appendages into the cement at the old Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood. But to Broadway-spawned TV headliner Hal (Barney Miller) Linden, it’s always been to appear in a New York Times crossword puzzle. Recently, he made it: as 24 Across.