September 28, 1981 12:00 PM

Annie’s tray chic

What is the erstwhile Little Orphan Annie doing in the lap of luxury? It’s a commercial, sort of. Since her departure three years ago from the Broadway Wit Annie after outgrowing the role she had created, Andrea McArdle hasn’t done much professionally except a TV special, Rainbow, in which she played the young Judy Garland. Even her cameo appearance in the upcoming movie version of Annie was cut. But last week she returned to New York from her hometown, Philadelphia, to join three other performers in the St. Regis Hotel’s cabaret salute to Irving Berlin called “They Say It’s Wonderful.” McArdle, 17, decided this was the time, and the place, to “find out what it feels like to be a star.” Hence the room-service treat: Pepsi Light in style.

Marchand’s other role

Nancy Marchand’s life doesn’t exactly imitate art. The day before she picked up an Emmy for Best Supporting Actress—her third for portraying Lou Grant’s wealthy and regal newspaper publisher, Mrs. Pynchon—Marchand was scrubbing the inside of her oven in the West Side Manhattan apartment she shares with her husband, actor Paul Sparer. “This is typical Nancy Marchand,” she said, sponge in hand. She has three grown children (David, 28, is a lawyer, Kathryn, 25, an actress and Rachel, 20, a college senior), and after a marriage of 30 years, Marchand jokes: “There’s no cooing in the bedroom anymore. You’ll find me in the kitchen.”

Palmer’s China card

During a weeklong visit to Red China, Arnold Palmer took a few divots out of the good earth while showing workmen at the new hot spring resort in Zhongshan how to play the game he may soon implant there. The Palmer Course Design Company would like to build China’s first golf course at the People’s Republic’s showplace playground, which is just a hydrofoil hop and a short drive from Hong Kong. Arnie, 52, doesn’t expect golf to catch on as quickly in China as it has in Japan, where he has built seven courses in 15 years. “In Japan almost every family has a set of golf clubs,” he pointed out during his tour of Zhongshan. “They’re as common as dishwashers.” Now if China can just get the dishwashers.

The Tennessee Connection

Still heady with the success of the location filming of Coal Miner’s Daughter, the Tennessee film commission headed West to woo producers and execs with a cocktail party at Chasen’s. But the real Tennessee waltz came later—at a Mexican-style dinner at La Cantina hosted by piano-playing Gov. Lamar Alexander (above). The event was attended by such Tennessee emigrés as Dinah Shore (Winchester), Alex Haley (Henning), Linda Thompson Jenner (Memphis) and Miles “Tarzan” O’Keeffe (Ripley). It was such fun the ex-Tennesseeans invited the Guv back next year—as a guest.

Hampton’s D.C. vibes

Lionel Hampton can get music out of anything he can lay his mallets on. The jazz vibraphone virtuoso, 68, even played eight bars of the White House fence before going on with his band at the bash President Reagan threw in his honor on the South Lawn. Such jazz greats as Pearl Bailey, Zoot Sims, Dave Brubeck and Art Blakey joined in the tribute, on the Kennedy Center’s 10th anniversary. “There ain’t no bigger show than playing for the President,” glowed the Hamp, who said he was a Republican long before he campaigned for Reagan. “You know the Eisenhower bandwagon?” he asked. “Well, I was the band on the bandwagon.”

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