June 19, 1978 12:00 PM

First Ladies redux

In the middle of a dress rehearsal of their musical revue about presidential wives, the all-star cast stopped by for coffee with Rosalynn Carter, honorary chairman of the event sponsored by the Woman’s National Democratic Club. Lining up with her (from left) were Rep. Lindy Boggs as Lady Bird Johnson, club ex-president Mary Munroe as Jacqueline Kennedy, D.C. pol Polly Shackelton as Eleanor Roosevelt, Rep. Pat Schroeder as Edith Wilson, White House secretary Gretchen Poston as Frances Cleveland and Consumer Affairs’ Esther Peterson as Dolley Madison. Quipped Rosalynn: “I feel naked not being in costume.”

Buddy’s pick: fair Rita

While reclusive Mary Pickford, now 85, remained in her upstairs bedroom, 400 guests rubbernecked through Pick-fair, the estate “America’s Sweetheart” bought with her second husband, Douglas Fairbanks Sr. The occasion was a benefit for the City of Hope Medical Center and, though they were Hollywood’s Old Guard, most of the visitors had never breached the gates before. “Mary says the public gave her this and she wants to give something back,” explained Buddy Rogers, 73, Pickford’s third husband. He chose as a stand-in Rita Hayworth, 59. She performed her hostess chores shyly, then bowed out “exhausted” after about an hour of the six-hour event.

The Fly meets Kong

At scaling Manhattan skyscrapers, they’re the tops. But when urban alpinist George Willig, conqueror of the World Trade Center, met up with King Kong, it was on Kong’s original 1930s turf, the Empire State Building. There to judge a King Kong-Fay Wray lookalike contest for a local cable-TV system, Willig reports, “It kinda bombed.” Only 15 spectators showed. As for the Kong competition, well, the judges went ape over actor John Nichols’ brute strength in hefting the 155-pound Human Fly.

Warners aweigh

When former Secretary of the Navy John Warner threw his hat into the ring for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination in Virginia, wife Elizabeth Taylor loyally put it on. But when the tempestuous six-month campaign ended two weeks ago at the GOP convention in Richmond, Warner was deep-sixed, after as many ballots, losing to the party’s former national committeeman, Richard Obenshain. (Adding insult to the defeat was one snide vote from the floor for Eddie Fisher.) The gallant Liz now heads for L.A. to shoot a TV movie called Return Engagement. Warner may have one too. Says his missus: “We’re not quitting. I don’t know what office it will be, but I’m sure something will come up.”

The Bowie blockade

Even without androgynous cosmetics or spacey costume, rocker David Bowie commands attention. But when the groupies became intolerable outside the Cannes Film Festival party for his upcoming picture, Just a Gigolo, Bowie recruited as bodyguards the tuxedoed extras cast as his co-gigolos. Affecting glowers, the heavies spirited the star’s precious bod into the party through the kitchen—after which David was free to enjoy the evening unencumbered not only by the Pretorians but also by any consort. Queried about wife Angela, Bowie declared: “We don’t live together anymore.”

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