Whatever multimillionaire Michael Jackson wants, he doesn’t always get. Jackson, who is becoming curiouser and curiouser, had hoped to buy the remains of John Merrick. Merrick is better known as the “Elephant Man,” the Englishman who died in 1890 from the disfiguring disease, neurofibromatosis. Jackson had twice visited the museum of the London Hospital Medical College to view the remains before putting in a reported $500,000 bid last week. Jackson’s manager Frank Dileo said Jackson doesn’t want to exploit Merrick; he only wants to add to his collection of antiquities. (God knows what else he’s got.) But officials say Merrick isn’t going anywhere. “The relics of the Elephant Man are categorically not for sale,” says Paul Hockney, the college librarian. Museum curator David Nunn pointed out: “We don’t like it being a freak show. Merrick had enough of that in his lifetime.” But Michael doesn’t want to take no for an answer. Dileo says he’ll keep trying, most likely by upping the offer.
George C. Scott, star of Fox Broadcasting’s struggling sitcom, Mr. President, ordered some changes made. “George was not thrilled with the quality of the scripts,” says spokesman Sean Mahoney. “In fact, none were particularly loved by George…Parts of the scripts have been brilliant, but those parts haven’t wound up in the shows.”
Can mayoral candidate Sonny Bono do for Palm Springs, Calif. what Clint Eastwood did for Carmel? Frank Bogert, the mayor of Palm Springs, who isn’t seeking re-election, doesn’t think so. “Comparing Bono to Eastwood is like comparing chicken [bleep] to chicken salad,” says His Honor. Now boys.
George Michael, the phenomenally hunky ex-WHAM singer, says he wants to explore monogamy. And he’s encouraging everyone else to do so, too, on his debut solo single, I Want Your Sex. To show just how monogamous he is, he’s cast his own girlfriend, Hollywood makeup artist Kathy Jeung, as his love surrogate in the song’s video and scrawls “explore monogamy” on her nearnaked body. He’s done all this, he says, for the cause of safe sex. However, his record and video have been all but banned in Britain and, to some degree, in the U.S. The BBC won’t show the video, and BBC radio will only play the song after 9 p.m. Here, MTV has refused the video in its original form and they have asked him to re-edit it for a third time. A number of American radio stations have also refused to play the record. “I think there’s an alarming amount of censorship creeping into American media in general,” says Michael, “and I would have thought by now that those working in the interest of young people would have realized that censorship makes any subject twice as attractive.” They looked more like live bait than American film stars to the thief who robbed Rae Dawn Chong, who was vacationing in Rome with her boyfriend, C. Thomas (Soul Man) Howell. While the lovebirds were passionately snapping pics, a man offered to watch her bag. “He watched it all right,” Chong recalls, wryly. “Watched it right away with my money, my passport…” Instead of calling American Express, they rang up producer Franco Zeffirelli, director of Howell’s next film, Toscanini, who invited them to stay at his villa near Capri. “Americans, they can be so trusting sometimes.” Chong’s new project, by the way, is called Deception.
If you were worried that the $50 million Ishtar is going to lose more money than any film since 1980’s Heaven’s Gate, relax. The 1985 movie Enemy Mine, which starred Dennis Quaid and Lou Gossett Jr., cost $56 million to make and only grossed $12 million. So don’t lose any more sleep.