February 13, 1978 12:00 PM

Poor Girl

Demon fame is wrestling for her soul, but actress Susan Newman, 24, Paul’s girl by first wife Jacqueline Witte, is not ready to yield. “Let’s face it. Hollywood is not making very meaningful movies these days,” says Susan, out next in the Beatlemania saga I Want to Hold Your Hand. “I have a lot of political feelings, especially about ecology and conservation. I’ve gone to parties and turned out the lights if I thought they were wasteful. I have trouble making fun movies while the world is crumbling around our feet. But then again,” she admits, “I wouldn’t mind being a star in lots of ways. For one thing, I don’t want to be working the rest of my life for $900 a week.”

A Better Idea

Since she and Henry Ford II split two years ago, Cristina Ford has been living in their 35-room mansion in suburban Grosse Pointe, Mich. But last October moving vans hauled off many of Henry’s furnishings, including his lifelong collection of French antique furniture, Louis XV snuffboxes, 18th-century Swiss music boxes and Sevres porcelains. Sotheby Parke Bernet then announced that the “extraordinary” collection would be auctioned off in New York this month. Or maybe not. Cristina has filed a “separate maintenance” suit asking that Henry be forbidden “to sell, assign and transfer or otherwise dispose of a substantial part of the marital estate.”

The Tie That Binds

Even though actress Phyllis Davis has been living with Dean Martin (they met on a blind date seven months ago), she doubts he’ll want to see her playing a stripper in The Choirboys. After all, she reports, Dino is the kind of man who “checks to make sure you’re wearing a brassiere before you walk out the door.” But when it came to researching her role (her character’s into bondage), Phyllis, 30ish, just called some hookers who “sent a girl around to my apartment to tell me about it. But she knew less than I did—and it cost me $50.”

Dollar Billing

The Beatles said all you need is love, but Robert Stigwood’s $12 million production of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band makes it clear that money counts too. For instance, the original script called for hero Peter Frampton to bump off the baddies, played by the heavy metal band Aerosmith. “But Frampton can’t kill Aerosmith,” erupted the supergroup’s manager. “Aerosmith is much bigger than he is!” So in the movie’s silliest compromise, Aerosmith lead singer Steve Tyler expires not from Frampton’s hand but when he falls from a platform made of gigantic $100 bills.

Writer’s Cramp

“A writer is temperamental, ruthless, sensitive, impatient, emotional, unreasonable, demanding, self-centered and excessively hard-working,” ticks off Sheila Hailey, 50, who clearly didn’t need a thesaurus to write her forthcoming I Married a Best Seller. Her title character is her 57-year-old husband, Arthur (Wheels, Airport, The Moneychangers), who boils his pots in a hermetically sealed room at home in the Bahamas. “He is precise, pigheaded, fastidious, fanatically clean and maniacally tidy,” Sheila sputters on. “He’s worked at home for 21 years—this alone would send many women running to the divorce court. To stay married 25 years is an achievement,” she concludes. “To stay happily married for that length of time to a writer is a miracle.”

Furthermore

•ABC programming chief Fred Silverman has not moved over to his new job at NBC yet, but he may already be helping his new employer out. In his waning days at ABC, Silverman has ordered up a new pilot about three police canines. Its waggish working title: Charlie’s Dogs.

•Pistol Pete Maravich, 29, who pulls down $650,000 a year with the New Orleans Jazz, replies to the rumors that the club may trade him: “Whenever things aren’t going well, they blame the white boy making the most money.”

•They didn’t create the multimillion MTM Enterprises (or her upcoming September variety show) by chanting OM, but after the Mary Tyler Moore Show bowed out last year, Mary and exec husband Grant Tinker laid back into some self-awareness. “We tried Transcendental Meditation,” gasps busy Mary. “But the 40 minutes a day we had to devote to it were making us so tense we gave it up.”

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