September 09, 1985 12:00 PM

The word hopping around Hugh Hefner’s hutch is that he and girlfriend Carrie Leigh, 22, may marry soon. “We’re talking about it,” says Leigh, who will appear soon on a Playboy cover. “We haven’t made any plans yet.” But, according to Hollywood couturier Michael Roche, Leigh has already selected a $4,500 white silk taffeta and lace wedding gown, cut up to the hip on one side. Roche also says that Hefner, 59, approved the dress during a recent fitting and has presented Leigh with a pear-shaped diamond ring.

While Mom and Dad work out with Jane Fonda and Jack La Lanne, kids can get in shape with Olympic gymnast Mary Lou Retton, whose new 30-minute home exercise video ($29.95) will appear in three-minute segments during ABC’s Saturday morning programming starting this month. “Kids in the ’80s are unfit,” says Retton. “They’re playing video games and not exercising.” For her part, Retton, 17, is in training for a tournament and hopes to compete in the 1988 Olympics. As for a career in showbiz, she says modestly, “I’ve gotten a lot of offers to do movies and sitcoms, but I don’t know if I can act.”

Linda Ronstadt has recorded a folk song, The Water Is Wide, for saxophonist pal David Sanborn’s new album. Al Jarreau will also perform a vocal on the LP….

Fashion designer Bill Blass makes his stage debut in the Cincinnati Opera’s September 7 performance of Jerome Kern’s musical Roberta. Appropriately Blass plays the couturier of a Paris salon, a nonsinging role….

Pat Morita will have a lover in Karate Kid II: Japanese beauty Nobu McCarthy, who played his wife in a Happy Days segment 10 years ago.

James O’Sullivan, who had an important role as an attorney in the pilot of ABC’s new series Our Family Honor, has been rubbed out. “I was scheduled to do 10 of the show’s first 13 episodes,” says O’Sullivan. “But they wrote me out, along with Juanin Clay and Tim Gibbs, who play my wife and son. The producers said there were too many characters on the show.” Luckily, O’Sullivan still has One Life to Live—the ABC soap on which he plays Peter O’Neil, also an attorney.

When model-turned-actress Courteney Cox Arquette, 21, heard about an audition for Bruce Springsteen’s Dancing in the Dark video, she recalls, “I knew who he was, but I wasn’t an adamant fan.” Cox adds, “I wasn’t too thrilled about the audition,” in which the video director, Brian De Palma, insisted she dance to the Springsteen tune. Despite her lack of enthusiasm, Cox’s 24-second exposure on the Boss’ video has launched her career. This fall she’ll be a regular on NBC’s Misfits of Science, playing a chicken-takeout delivery girl who has telekinetic powers. Her greatest challenge, Cox says with some understatement, “will be to bring credibility” to the role.

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