March 24, 1975 12:00 PM

Ethel without caviar

The dinner Iranian Ambassador Ardeshir Zahedi gave for the Kennedys’ Special Olympics for Retarded Children benefit in Washington had nearly all the family present except Joan, from Mother Rose on down. But no caviar! Several guests complained, and even Ethel Kennedy appears skeptical at the oversight. So the diners made do with Persian delicacies like mast-va-esfe-naj, which translates as yogurt, spinach and pepper. Dyspepsia, anyone?

Muhammad challenged

Asserting that his succession was “God’s plan,” Wallace Muhammad, eldest of the late Elijah Muhammad’s six sons, assumed control of the Black Muslim religious sect and financial empire, estimated at over $70 million. But already the 41-year-old, thrice-married Wallace has been challenged by his nephew, Herbert Muhammad Jr., 25. Guarded by police in New York, Herbert charged Elijah “did not groom Wallace or name him his successor.”

Baez razzes grapes

Nobody can accuse Joan Baez of obfuscation. The folksinger-activist even had an accompanist as she brought a Bronx cheer to Modesto, Calif. Baez and an estimated 6,000 joined Cesar Chavez for a United Farm Workers’ rally protesting alleged management-Teamster collusion in the grape fields of California’s wine country.

Walton downcast

The next path Bill Walton hopes to blaze is the comeback trail. Portland’s 6’11” rookie pivotman has called it quits for this season, claiming that his tender left ankle—troubled with bone spurs and possible ligament and tendon damage—would also hurt his teammates in their scramble for an NBA playoff berth. But to prove he is a loyal rooter, The Redhead, his foot encased in plaster instead of sneakers, still shows up with assistant coach Tom Meschery to buoy the Blazers.

Ford and Funny Lady

It was everybody out for Barbra Streisand’s ABC-TV special, Funny Girl to Funny Lady, at Washington, D.C.’s Kennedy Center. Ex-McGovernite Barbra held hands with Jerry Ford. Not so funny was the situation of leading man James Caan, who gave Susan Ford a polite squeeze with his left hand, favoring his right. And for good reason: the week before, as he played cowboy at a rodeo, a steer fell on Caan’s thumb, neatly dislocating it.

Bertie Hemmings

I say, old chap, who is that fellow with the monocle? Why, it’s British film star David Hemmings, who has moved to the stage to play Bertie Wooster, that paragon of patrician eccentricity, in Jeeves, an upcoming London musical based on the work of the late Sir P. G. “Plum” Wodehouse. The show is still in early rehearsals, but Hemmings is obviously in first-night form with his look of veddy proper befuddlement.

Sonny’s kicky friend

“Take that, you little goombah!” is pro wrestler Susan Sexton’s message to funnyman Sonny Bono. The flying drop-kick to la pànza during the paesano’s stint as co-host of the Mike Douglas Show is only the latest in a series of boots—including those from ex-wife Cher and his late TV series—that Sonny has recently received. And Rodney Dangerfield complains that he don’t get no respect.

Benchley v. jaws

Having ridden out 44 weeks on the best-seller list, Peter Benchley is right back again, this time with his seaside shark thriller Jaws the top paperback seller. With the movie, filmed on Martha’s Vineyard, now finished, Benchley decided on a busman’s holiday as part of ABC-TV’s The American Sportsman to film great white sharks off Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The bait worked all too well, and Benchley, in a shark cage, found himself for a few dreadful moments facing the very fate of his Woods Hole ichthyologist in the closing pages of Jaws.

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