People

Jane O’Hara March 5 1979

People

Jane O’Hara March 5 1979

People

In what gossip columnists would call a journalistic coup, the Washington Star last week leaked the partial contents of Margaret Trudeau’s autobiography Beyond, Reason, in which the PM comes off smelling like the rose in his lapel and Margaret comes off sounding like Reefer Madness. According to the gossip column The Ear, Margaret tells all about heavy dope communes in Morocco where, in the pre-Pierre era, she tried every kind of drug except opium. Moving right along to their courtship, everything was “idyllic” except that “Pierre, a good Catholic, insisted she get off the pill.” Once they’d moved into 24 Sussex Drive, “poor Maggie had to sneak up and smoke dope in her room” only to be troubled one day by a “Canadian mounted cop who handed her a stick of incense and said, ‘You’d better burn this, we can smell it all over.’ ” Of Fidel Castro with whom she flirted under Pierre’s nose, Maggie admits, “He was the sexiest man I ever met.” And of Prince Charles, the column adds, “He whisked her onto the dance floor during the official ball and proceeded to leer down the front of her décolleté frock.” For further detail, stay tuned to April 2 when the world wide serialization of the book will begin.

fter 20 years of acting in the shadow of such supernovas as Jack Nicholson in The King of Marvin Gardens, Robert Redford in The Great Gatsby and John Wayne in The Cowboys, Bruce Dern, 42, has secured something of a cult following but suffers somewhat from stellar eclipse. And although he received an Oscar nomination last week for best supporting actor in Coming Home, Dern has decided to try life at the top of a billing. In what will be his first stage role in 20 years, Dern will play the part of American author Sinclair Lewis (Babbitt, Main Street) in Strangers, a play about the eccentric Nobel Prize-winning novelist, which opens March 4 at Broadway’s Golden Theatre. Actress Lois Nettleton will star as Lewis’s journalist wife, Dorothy Thompson. In researching the role, Dern discovered that he and Lewis had at least one thing in common—both had journalism backgrounds. “He was more successful than me,” admitted Dern, a veteran of 35 movies. “He held a job with a paper. I never made it past the first year of journalism school.”

fit was not an auspicious beginning, i After a three-hour car ride through a recent western Ontario blizzard, New York stage and film director Mike

Nichols (The Graduate, Carnal Knowledge) arrived at Listowel’s community hall to see Eric Peterson in Billy Bishop Goes to War, in what could only be described as an “alternate” theatre. The hall, a converted railway station, wasn’t built for viewing and Nichols was forced to stand in order to cast his directorial eye on the show’s first half. Although he didn’t catch the cold which was spreading through the company, Nichols did come down with the assessment that he would like to take the play to New York after its Canadian tour. Said Vancouver producer Chris Wooten: “He thought it was a gem.”

ETp here’s one noticeable absence in the U White House’s presidential portraiture. Richard Nixon, the only U.S. president ever forced to resign from office, is also the only former chief executive officer not framed and hanging in the White House corridors. Although the task of commissioning a portrait usually falls to the succeeding president, Gerald Ford obviously didn’t want to push his luck after pardoning his hastily departed predecessor. However, in the continuing effort by the Democratic White House to rehabilitate the image of Nixon, President Jimmy Carter is considering asking Nixon to sit for a portrait. Having recently shown up at a White House dinner for visiting Chinese Vice-Premier Teng Hsiao-ping, Nixon is not likely to refuse the invitation.

f~V j ontreal dancer Margie Gillis, 25, LAMJ has been compared to Isadora Duncan, yet considers herself spiritually closer to Janis Joplin. That occasionally makes for problems in cities where people consider dance to be either ballet, striptease or disco. But having completed a critically successful first national tour at Vancouver’s Western Front last week, Gillis plans to take her at-times bare-breasted, attimes bars-blues solo dance show out of the smaller Canadian dance halls and into the U.S. Although she comes from an athletic family—her parents Gene Gillis and Rhona Wurtele were Olympic skiers, her brother Jere Gillis

plays hockey for the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks—Gillis didn’t exactly follow the eight-fold path to health and happiness. As a child, she had a nervous breakdown and as a teen-ager, she admits, “I used to spend all my time in bars with a quart of beer in one hand, a pack of cigarettes in the other, pretending I was Joplin.”

r\n ight after night for the past 18 LKJ months, Jessica Tandy and Hume

Cronyn have been squaring off around a

Broadway-stage card table, giving one another a rummy deal in D. L. Coburn’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, The Gin Game. Since the play is slated to go to London in the summer and a tour of U.S.S.R. next December is also in the cards, the husband and wife duo do have a few hands yet to play. So it’s little wonder that in their offstage hours, life doesn’t mirror art. “He won’t play cards at all,” said Tandy, 69, while in Toronto last week, performing at the Royal Alexandra Theatre. “I only play canasta with my dresser.” While Cronyn, 67, admits the difficulty of keeping the vitriolic two-hander fresh after such a lengthy run, Tandy is at least grateful for the fact that Coburn rewrote the play eliminating her death in the final scene. “Originally, Weller [Cronyn] was supposed to beat me to death,” said Tandy, turning to her husband. “Think of all the aggression you could have gotten rid of.” Replied Cronyn: “I still do.”

/T\ lthough the debut of the Winnipeg irü Symphony Orchestra at New York’s Carnegie Hall wouldn’t normally be considered a “musical event” by anyone outside a c’aque, the orchestra’s March 3 appearance will attract such notables as President and Mrs. Jimmy Carter, United Nations Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and assorted ambassadorial and musical personalities from around the world. No doubt some of the allure is due to the fact that WSO will be sharing the stage with guest artists of the magnitude of violinists Yehudi Menuhin and Ruggiero Ricci, guitarist Andrés Segovia, flutist Jean-Pierre Rampai, singer Maureen Forrester, dancer Jose Greco and actors Peter Ustinov and José Ferrer. The concert is a fund-raising benefit in aid of the Symphonicum Europae Foundation Limited, a 15-year-old organization set up to “achieve greater spiritual fusion of Man through the Arts.” Why was the WSO chosen to provide the background music? Piero Gamba, the WSO’s musical director and conductor, just happens to be the founding president of the organization.

Edited by Jane O’Hara