Joanne Woodward wants husband Paul Newman to give up car racing, and a close friend says Paul will comply either next season or in a year. The youthful-seeming Newman, who just had a medical procedure to remove fat from his arteries, runs greater risks on the track as he nears 60. When he retires, one of Paul’s major sponsors, Budweiser, wants to back a new celeb racer. They’re already trying to reach reclusive truck racer John Clark Gable, 22, son of Hollywood’s King Clark, and Chad McQueen, the Formula Ford-racing son of Steve.
That preppy mom on Skippy peanut butter ads, Annette Funicello, recorded some 21 albums during her heyday as a Mouseketeer and big-screen beach bunny before quitting to be a mother and TV pitch-woman. Now Annette has made her first recording in some 18 years, The Annette Funicello Country Album. To make sure the LP gets attention, Starview Records will hard sell it on TV in April (for $9.95, or $15 for a signed collector’s edition). What’s more, Funicello returns to Malibu in May to produce and star in another beach movie with Frankie Avalon: This time they’ll play the protective parents of an all-American college gal. Annette promises a PG rating and “great surfing footage.”
Last year World Dolls introduced a $6,000 diamond-studded Marilyn Monroe doll. In May, Tristar International will offer this year’s miniature celeb when they ship two kinds of 11½” vinyl Elizabeth Taylor dolls, one in the black cocktail dress she wore in Butterfield 8 and another in her famous white frock from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Both dolls cost $20 but Liz won’t get a dime. Her contract for those flicks assigned the toy rights to MGM/UA, which made the deal. The film company also sold the rights for two Grace Kelly dolls. They will wear her princess garb from The Swan and a safari suit from Mogambo.
They call him only Phoenix—the so-far-unseen murderer on NBC’s Days of Our Lives. Now, after six months of excruciating mystery, Phoenix will unmask himself on Friday, March 2. Viewers have been given two clues to his identity: They saw a man’s hand at one murder, and the killer’s mythological name suggests he is someone who died but lives again, as soap characters so often do. Now here are a few new, whopping hints: Phoenix loves fancy clothes, art, music, drink and power. For true fans, that narrows it down to only one person. His name is…
Chas Peate, who runs Blake Edwards’ new BEE record label, has scheduled an April release for a pop album, Catch Me When I Fall, by a well-known newcomer, Patti (Reagan) Davis. Because he and Patti hope to launch her career with this disc, they destroyed all tapes of an unfinished album she began in 1982 for an independent label. Those early tracks failed to thrill the music biz, but Patti means to market herself with more success this time by taping radio and TV spots in Europe, Japan and probably the U.S. British musicians Clive Scott and Des Dyer, who once composed for Englebert Humperdinck and Tom Jones, helped write the songs, played in the band and will follow on tour. For security reasons Peate won’t let the President’s daughter perform live, and even in studios she will be surrounded by her band of Secret Service guards. Jokes Peate, “It would be nice if they tested them for musical ability so we could use the best in the backup group.”