September 14, 1981 12:00 PM

Noh-gun Chamberlain

Since making Sh?gun in Japan, Richard Chamberlain, 46, doesn’t mask his admiration for things Japanese—and the feeling is mutual. Back in L.A. after a summer stint in Arms and the Man in Williamstown, Mass., he caught a UCLA seminar on Japan’s performing arts. There classical actor Kito Nagayo explained to him and Paul Michael (Starsky and Hutch) Glaser the masks used in Noh and other forms of drama. Nagayo noted that even without a mask, Chamberlain “has many fans among the ladies in Japan.”

Willowy Reeds

Nureyev and Fonteyn needn’t feel threatened, but Caroline Reed, 18, finds her actor-uncle Oliver, last seen in Lion of the Desert, surprisingly agile in a pas de deux. Caroline, who’s with the British dance troupe Torque, visited Oliver, 43, at his vacation hideaway on the isle of Guernsey. Also on hand was Reed’s 17-year-old love, Josephine Burge (“We’re happy, but I’m too shy to propose”). Mused Caroline of her decidedly earthbound uncle, “Actually, I think I could prepare some ballet exercises for him.”

Ringo’s heady deal

When erstwhile Beatle, Caveman and Portrait/ CBS artist Ringo Starr, 41, on switching to Neil Bogart’s new Boardwalk Entertainment Company, asks where to sign, the answer—as in the case of the 800-pound gorilla’s sleeping place—is: anywhere he chooses. Ringo chose Bogart’s head, for yuks, then settled down to sign a long-term contract, the first flowering of which will be Ringo’s album Stop and Smell the Roses next month. Among the LP’s credits are no less than Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones.

Updike’s coup

Wearing his second hat, as book critic for The New Yorker, author John Updike, 49, has flung many a barb. So it was no surprise when, accepting the prestigious Edward MacDowell Medal in Peterborough, N.H., he threw another—albeit playful—punch at his profession. “It’s strange we heap praise on writers,” said Updike, whose third Rabbit Angstrom tale, Rabbit Is Rich, appears next month. “They get to sleep late in the morning…are late to bloom and early to decay.” Over the picnic lunch, his stepson Teddy, 10, delivered a more favorable critique. Said he of the medal: “You’ve earned it.”

Spicy Shirley

The birthday cake backstage at Chicago’s Drury Lane Theatre was shaped like a gingerbread lady and had seven candles. But that’s Shelley Winters’ lucky number, not her age (59). Starring in Neil Simon’s comedy, The Gingerbread Lady, Shelley decreed that “The years after 30 are the best.” Before that, she explained, “If the guy doesn’t call, you go crazy. But after 30, when the phone doesn’t ring you take off your girdle and settle down to enjoy TV.” And have another slice of cake.

Sanders’ fair lady

As WKRP in Cincinnati’s occasional farm news reporter Les Nessman, actor Richard Sanders should know a sow when he sees one, and at the California State Fair in Sacramento, he lifted a glass of the bubbly to the show’s official mascot, Miss Pattie Pig II. Sanders, grand marshal of the fair, presumably wanted to claim he had swined and dined Miss Piggy’s rival, though he professed no love similar to that which Charles Grodin showered on Miss P. in The Great Muppet Caper. Of his 220-pound lunch date, Sanders blushed: “We’re just good friends.”

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