People

People

Jane O’Hara March 12 1979
People

People

Jane O’Hara March 12 1979

People

Although he didn’t want to rain on her parade, actor Michael Sarrazin called Valerie Lett’s dream come true “the stupidest thing I ever heard of.” Lett, a Gormley, Ontario, interior designer who, three years ago, bid $400 in the Toronto Symphony Dream Auction to become a movie star for a day, cashed in on it last week playing an extra in Double Negative, a movie starring Anthony Perkins and Sarrazin ( They Shoot Horses Don’t They?). Although she was pleased that Secretary of State John Roberts showed up for her debut, and surprised at how helpful Director George Bloomfield proved to be, Lett was mildly perturbed when she didn’t get more to do. “I thought that as a movie star I should at least get to speak . . . at least to say hello.” Relatively undaunted, Lett, 35, plans to take out her ACTRA card in the near future.

fhe rumor had surfaced two or three times since the war, but only last week was Joseph Luns, secretary-general of NATO, publicly accused of having a blot on his record. The director of the Dutch War Documentation Institute, Lou de Jong, said records show that the much respected Luns had been a member of the Dutch Nazi party between 1933 and 1936 while attending university in Amsterdam. While the news stunned Luns’s NATO associates in Brussels, it drew a denial from the lanky, 67year-old statesman who served as Dutch foreign minister from 1956 to 1971. “That’s an ugly old story that keeps popping up,” he said, at the same time admitting he had attended a few Nazi rallies in the mid-’30s. “The institute has clearly confused my name with somebody else’s.” That, however, appeared unlikely. De Jong claimed the institute had long known of Luns’s connection with the Dutch Nazi party, NSB, but said he spoke out only when the NATO chief denied the accusation printed in the Rotterdam daily, Algemeen Dagblad. As the initial shock of the revelation wore off in Brussels, the consensus in official circles was that if the story proved true, Luns’s denial of his past would be more damaging to him than the fact he once flirted with fascism.

FUI e worked with Bob Hope and Bing LflJ Crosby in The Road to Utopia (1946) and The Road to Hong Kong (’62), and has written for Groucho Marx, Zero Mostel, Mary Martin, Phil Silvers and Lucille Ball. So there’s little doubt that after 37 years in the movie trade, producer/director Melvin Frank, 61, knows

slick .schtick when he sees it. That’s why Frank is rather high on the comedic chemistry of George Segal and Glenda Jackson, whom he directed in A Touch of Class and who will star in his latest film, Lost and Found. The movie, which deals with the college tenure system and was shot at the University of Toronto, features the supporting cast of Canadian actors, Hollis McLaren (Outrageous), Martin Short and Barbara Hamilton. But through “bitter experience,” Frank has learned not to take too professorial a stance when dealing with his lead actors. “The one thing I’ve learned is that you never tell Segal or Jackson to sit here and do that,” admitted Frank. “Directing Glenda is like driving a Rolls-Royce compared with a truck. You merely touch the controls.”

they may be a little short on personal freedom, but selected inmates at the Guelph Correctional Centre are at least experiencing artistic freedom under the direction of Ken Danby (Images of Sport), one of Canada’s major realists. In conjunction with the centre’s painting instructor, Ike Vanderweit, Danby is helping the inmates repair and repaint a turn-of-thecentury carousel, which was saved from the junkyard last year after Danby and a local citizen’s group raised $10,000 to restore it. Although Danby has designed and color-coded the framework and decorative panelling on the merrygo-round, he has left the hobbyhorses in the hands of the cons. “I’d like to see them put quite a bit of themselves into the painting,” said Danby, who expects the project to be completed by May. “So far, it’s worked well for them and us. They have the facilities—and, goodness knows, the time.”

hen his voice changed, it was news. When he started shaving and threw away his jumpsuits, it was revolutionary. So it’s little wonder that René Simard, Quebec’s boy sopranoturned-superstar, felt like celebrating

when he reached the age of majority last week. Fittingly, Simard commemorated his 18th birthday at Régine’s disco in Montreal where he was presented with a birthday cake, “legally” drank champagne and boogied into the wee hours of the night. Of course, he did come chaperoned. After proving his age by showing his ID card at the door, Simard took a few turns on the dance floor with his No. 1 girl —his mother. Commenting on the momentous occasion, the child star said: “Wow. C’est bon ça,”

Ij ts reputation may not have preceded ¡1 it, but Toronto’s Downchild Blues Band is being welcomed like a bunch of long-lost friends by American audiences as it tours the eastern seaboard. And without a trace of false modesty, Downchild’s brainchild and leader, Donny Walsh, admits the success has little to do with him and his sidemen. Why, then, are Yankee audiences turning out to hear the original versions of Downchild’s songs Almost, Flip Flop and Fly, and Shotgun Blues'? Mainly because the songs are featured on one of the hottest selling albums in the U.S., Briefcase Full of Blues, by Saturday Night Lives Blues Brothers, Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi. Aykroyd, who chummed around with songwriter Walsh when he was a cabaret performer at Toronto’s Second City, bought the rights to use the Downchild tunes last summer and after four weeks on the charts, Briefcase Full of Blues had gone platinum (one million copies). Although the recognition has certainly been nice, Walsh admits the remuneration has been even better. No wonder. He gets 4.3 cents for every Briefcase sold.

®ften described as “spaced out,” this time the Canadian rock group Rush proved it when the three-man band of Alex Lifeson, Geddy Lee and Neil Peart became the first rockers to be honored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for their efforts in “making people aware of space travel.” The group, which writes music and lyrics about constellations, black holes and other celestial subjects, was taken on a tour of the Kennedy Space Center, where the space shuttle will be launched. Although they were also treated to drinks at the astronauts’ beach house, the trio was most impressed by the regulation hard hats, which were mandatory apparel on the site. The Rushers were told the hats would be presented to them when they return as guests of NASA for the spaceshuttle launching Nov. 9.

Jane O’Hara