May 24, 1976 12:00 PM

California Dreamin’

When 8-year-old Chynna Phillips, whose Mama and Papa are singers Michelle and John Phillips, landed herself an audition for The New Mickey Mouse Club TV show, her mother made her cancel it. Ignoring the success of her ex-husband’s other daughter (Mackenzie Phillips of One Day at a Time), Michelle told Chynna amiably, “There’s only one star in this family—and that’s me!” But then Michelle, who’s co-starring with Rudolf Nureyev in the bio-flick Valentino, relented a bit: “I told her when she’s old enough to get herself to the studio, then she’s old enough for film work.”

Title Wave

At a time when the British press would normally have been jostling for the latest poop on Princess Margaret’s separation from Lord Snowdon, Fleet Street found its front pages preoccupied equally with the sudden resignation (just three days before the royal split) of Prime Minister Harold Wilson. Now Wilson’s acknowledging in private that he timed his exit to “take the heat off the palace.” Nor does it seem coincidental that Queen Elizabeth then attended Wilson’s farewell dinner at No. 10 Downing Street (her first such bash in 21 years) and also knighted him posthaste.

Close Brush

She’s 42, but Kaye Stevens, now of the soaper Days of Our Lives, says cellulose shots at the Bahamian spa Renaissance keep her younger than springtime. She’s such a devotee (along, she says, with Brigitte Bardot, Burt Reynolds and Ed Mc-Mahon) that she laughed off an incident on the clinic’s beach some years back. “I had my backside to an old Spanish-speaking gentleman with a young chicky-poo who spoke French,” Kaye recalls. “Suddenly, I felt a pinch. The man was carrying on in Spanish, obviously about my posterior. The girl told me he does it all the time, to just forget it.” Instead, Stevens “demanded the nurses tell me who that old man with the funny cap was. They all said they had black-and-blue marks from being pinched too—by ‘Mr. Picasso,’ who was 84 at the time.”

Slipped Mickey

Not even Rooney would suggest that “Dear Abby” be replaced by “Dear Mickey,” but the actor, married seven times in his 55 years, thinks that the press is often unfair when reporting on domestic entanglements. “You never hear the stories about how actors and actresses feel when their marriages to someone outside the business break up. When it’s happened to me, it’s always ‘Oh, the poor woman.’ I’ve been brokenhearted a lot, but no one prints that.” So how does he explain his track record? “I think that people in the motion picture business are the most stable people you’ll find anywhere,” chirps Mickey. “They just have the tendency of marrying unstable people.”

The Way It Is

Harry Reasoner no longer publicly fumes about ABC’s hiring of Barbara Walters, but he’s decorated his New York office with a pointed piece of artwork. It’s a collage—entitled “Humility”—assembled by an anonymous staffer from photos of Reasoner and his co-anchor-to-be, with press quotes ballooning from their mouths:

Harry: “I’m making more than I’m worth.”

Barbara: “I’m worth $1 million, and I’m proud I’m worth it.”

Furthermore

•”Those pelvic gyrations are almost a self-parody,” wrote a critic after Elvis Presley’s recent gig at Long Beach (Calif.) Arena—but at least Presley remembers how to wriggle. After fluffing lyrics to some of his own goldies that night, he admitted to his fans that “If you wonder why I have such a big backup group, it’s because they cover for me when I forget the words.”

•Down in Atlanta flogging her D.C. roman à clef, Making Ends Meet, Washington socialite Barbara Howar (PEOPLE, May 3) confessed she’s flattered to be referred to as a writer: “I’m really just a professional bigmouth.”

•Even as she negotiates for the lead in the film A Little Night Music, Elizabeth Taylor has rejected another offer to earn at least quintuple the money for about a week’s work. But even as she forewent starring in a one-hour hard-core porno flick, Liz giggled, “If I’m worth $5 million, I wonder what Jackie Onassis is worth!”

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