June 12, 1978 12:00 PM

Cher and Cher-alike

Dating Cher tends to become a public act, but Gene Simmons, the fire-breathing lead rocker of Kiss, still refuses to be photographed without the ghoulish face paint the group affects onstage. The hide-and-seek continued in L.A. when word leaked that the couple were having an all-night his-and-hers haircut. Pals Dolly Parton and Kate Jackson were invited to the cut-up. Yet the lovebirds would reveal themselves to their public locked only in the same old peekaboo style.

Hope springs eternal

A former Navy man who described himself as “the only person in the Armed Forces who never met Bob Hope overseas” finally got to grouse about it as Commander in Chief. “Every Christmas Eve we’d put cookies and a bottle of Scotch under the periscope of the sub,” quipped Jimmy Carter, “but he never showed up.” This time, lured by a USO fund raiser and White House salute on his 75th birthday, Bob did show as D.C.’s elite, including Rosalynn and Amy and the Marine Band, said thanks for the memory.

Bubbles’ blow-out

When there are 49 candles, even soprano Beverly Sills has to use maximum lung power. While performing in Don Pasquale with the Opera Company of Boston (she will sing the role of Norina for the first time at the Met this winter), Bubbles almost burst with delight when the cast and orchestra switched from Donizetti to Happy Birthday and rolled out a cake. With equally molto gusto, she downed her favorite dessert presented by co-star Donald Gramm: a butterscotch sundae.

Who’s the top poppa?

With Father’s Day upcoming, it was time to pick the Big Daddy of ’78. Yul Brynner, the King of Siam, was a candidate for his brood of 80 plus four more offstage. Brynner was top poppa among theater folk. Similarly, the Rev. Martin Luther King Sr., with three offspring, was cited in the spiritual realm. The overall winner in the 43rd annual vote was Tip O’Neill, 65, who has laid down the law to five kids, not to mention a sometimes juvenile House of Representatives.

Kreps sets sale

Hello Mr. and Mrs. North and South America and all the ships at sea, as radio’s late Walter Winchell used to declaim. Let’s go to press! The U.S. Cabinet has its first Betty Grable. So it’s up against the bulkhead for pinups of shipshape 57″ brunette Juanita Kreps, the Secretary of Commerce. Juanita, 56, after posing whimsically in the new T-shirts of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, dispatched glossies suitable for posting to boost the morale of the little-known 24-ship exploration fleet under her command.

Barbi swings again

After striking out with Hugh Hefner, Barbi Benton began to touch other bases including her showbiz. So it was not surprising that she took her turn at bat along with such other heavy swingers as Pat and Debby Boone, Joan Rivers, Alice Cooper and Steve Martin in the Kenny Rogers celebrity softball tournament in Vegas. Barbi played right field instead of the more obvious centerfold—er, center field—as the all-stars defeated a local media team. She also gained points with the Great Scorer for playing in 95° heat to raise $15,000 for the Nevada Special Olympics.

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