Getting the Picture
In his hiss-and-tell memoirs, The Ends of Power, H.R. Haldeman snickers how John Ehrlichman used to try to get Henry Kissinger’s goat by dispatching forged presidential memos with “bizarre demands” clipped to nude photos of former Hollywood consorts. Tain’t so, reports Hank the K, who says that the glossies were all just of one sometime date, actress Jill St. John—who was properly clothed. Far from being rattled, Kissinger yawns, “I wouldn’t have minded even if they had been nude.”
Fear of Frying
Can it be that Gene Simmons, 27, the blood-spitting, fire-eating bassman for the rock group Kiss, is a latent pyrophobic? During two months of concert-hopping by private plane, Simmons left his plane seat only once. “The stewardess was melting some butter for the lobsters, and it started smoking,” recalls an eyewitness. “Then Simmons came flying out of his seat, screaming, ‘We’re on fire!’ ” Otherwise, “He never budged, not even to go to the John. And there were some long flights.”
The “sexual diamond” that Gail Sheehy wrote about in her best-selling Passages might as well have come from Cartier’s and been as big as the Ritz. In any case, it’s made her too rich for the blood of her editors at Dutton, and Sheehy, 41, has jumped to William Morrow and Bantam with her follow-up, a general study of adult development and behavior after 40. She received $35,000 upfront for the first tome; this time Morrow, sight unseen, advanced her a reported $1.3 mill.
Oy in the Family
After his first visit to Israel in 30 years, producer Norman (All in the Family) Lear returned undaunted by students who bristled at Archie Bunker’s Jew-baiting histrionics. Israel has “tremendous potential” as a market, Lear proclaimed, which prompted Variety to speculate on a possible export version of the Bunkers. Meathead, you see, would become a hard-hat type with anti-Arab prejudices. Edith would be a typical Jewish mother. And Archie would be “the arrogant, self-defined intellectual and expert on national problems and crises.”
The trauma of making A Night Full of Rain left Candice Bergen ambivalent about Italians in general and mercurial director Lina Wertmuller in particular. “All they do is yell about this and that, gesticulate, and shriek about Euro-communism,” notes Bergen. “But they’re all wearing Gucci, Pucci and Bulgari.” Italian women, Bergen continues, “do a great opera, but I don’t care how charming, sexy, seductive, funny or raucous they are. Italian women are treacherous. I’d never turn my back on them because I’d end up crumpled on the floor with a fettuccine fork in my back.” Et tu, Lina?
The late Janis Joplin had one of showbiz’ most celebrated tattoos—a heart on her breast—and she may have started something. Cher has flowers tattooed on her derriere, while her estranged husband Gregg Allman sports a coyote on his forearm. Joan Baez had a flower put on the small of her back the day ex-husband David Harris got out of jail. Sean Connery’s “Scotland Forever” and “Mum & Dad” on his forearm have to be camouflaged with makeup before filming. Peter Fonda has dolphins, and Flip Wilson got a cross and a winged No. 13. Pearl Bailey wears her heart not on her sleeve but tattooed on her thigh. The latest showbiz type to get needled—on the advice of Ringo Starr (whose arm bears a half-moon and shooting star)—was Elton John’s lyricist Bernie Taupin, who added a tiny bat to the back of his shoulder.
•How does it comport with John Travolta’s new important self-image that his next movie, Grease, will be released in Italy as Brilliantino and in Mexico as Vaselina?
•It doesn’t figure to be la spécialité de la maison for Polo Lounge lizards at the Beverly Hills Hotel. But at his morning business meetings, Charlton Heston, 53, slathers English muffins with it. At his wedding reception there three months ago (to actress Shera Danese), Peter Falk, 50, had gobs of it. And Tina Sinatra, 29, Frank’s girl, orders baked potato skins piled high with it. The chic eats? Peanut butter.