By People Staff
Updated April 07, 1986 12:00 PM

The latest head turner in Los Angeles, where tonsorial reigns are shorter than crew cuts, is Michael Tovar, 28. And oh, the treachery of it. Tovar is a former employee of big-deal Hollywood stylist Jose Eber, who is losing clients to the brash upstart. The growing number of lovelies flocking into Tovar’s glossy Wilshire Boulevard salon includes Tanya Tucker, Dolly Parton and Suzanne Somers. Tovar, known simply by his last name, gave Barbara Carrera electric-blue spikes, and he planted a synthetic fuchsia lock in Erma Bombeck’s tresses when she appeared on Good Morning America.

The San Diego-born son of a construction company owner, Tovar quit the University of California at San Diego after one year and got a job sweeping the floor and washing heads at Jon Peters’ salon. Working his way up to stylist, he was hired by Eber in 1981. “He never spoke to his employees,” Tovar says. “He’s very cold.” Can you blame Tovar for whispering to client Jane Morgan Weintraub late last year that he dreamed of opening his own salon? Weintraub spoke to her husband, producer Jerry (The Karate Kid) Weintraub, and Tovar was in business.

Meanwhile the Eber-Tovar hair war is steaming like hot rollers. “His goal is to be me,” Eber sniped in a recent interview. Retorts Tovar: “That’s an insult.” One wonders who will have the final cut.

She comes from a family with political and journalistic clout. Her grandfather, “Big Hodding” Carter, owned a Greenville, Miss, newspaper and won a 1946 Pulitzer for his editorial writing on civil rights. Her father, Hodding III, was Jimmy Carter’s State Department spokesman during the Iranian hostage crisis. Yet Elizabeth Fearn Carter, known as Finn, has chosen neither family calling as a profession. Finn, 26, plays the much-victimized Sierra on CBS-TV’s As the World Turns.

Carter landed the role more than a year ago. “When she read the audition script,” recalls the show’s casting director, Phyllis Kasha, “it came alive.” Finn came to acting by way of ballet. She began modern dance classes at age 5 and at 13 spent a summer studying with the San Francisco Ballet Company. When a bad knee ruled out a dance career, Carter turned to drama, first at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. and then at Tulane University in New Orleans. Later, Carter moved to New York and worked as a staff assistant at a consulting firm and studied dance until she got the part in ATWT.

Carter views ATWT as “a great first step” and would like to do Broadway and films. “As a Southerner,” she declares, “I have a need to do Tennessee Williams. I sort of get upset when I hear that other actresses are doing it. I think, ‘But no! How can they?’ ”