People

People

Jane O’Hara May 28 1979
People

People

Jane O’Hara May 28 1979

People

It’s Participaction with a price. But Vancouver millionaire Nelson Skalbania, who can well afford to indulge his personal peccadillos, has swung a deal with a local YMCA to ensure he gets his daily dose of exercise. Skalbania has been known to dabble in the corporate boardrooms of sport: he was owner of the now-defunct-Indianapolis Racers of the WHA, which signed 17-year-old Wayne Gretzky to a $1.75-million contract, and is now part owner of the Vancouver Whitecaps soccer club. Recently he gave the Y a $200,000 cheque to build two additional raquetball courts. There is a catch: one of the new courts must be reserved at 4 p.m. each day for Skalbania’s use. “It seems like a good deal to me,” said the 41-year-old Skalbania. “They needed the courts and I wanted to be sure I could use one whenever I’m in town.”

His upturned moustache may be a little thinner these days, but Salvador Dali, the 75-year-old Dada of Surrealism, is still being honored as one of the giants of 20th-century art. Dali, who’s known as much for his self-aggrandizing showmanship as for his painting of limp and melting watches, was recently received into the Académie des BeauxArts in Paris for his considerable artistic contribution. As with everything Dali has done, he managed to stamp the investiture with his idiosyncratic hallmark. Accompanied by his wife, Gala, Dali accepted the academicians’ sword, which he had designed himself in an almost punk-baroque style. He then

proceeded to contravene convention by improvising his acceptance speech, to the delight of onlookers. Since the honor tends to confer immortality on its recipients, Dali was, no doubt, pleased to accept it. At his age, there could be few gifts he would rather receive.

Although best known for his portrayal of the young Clark Kent in the movie Superman, actor Jeff East has called it quits playing alloyed adolescents, figuring that one stint as the boy of steel is enough for any aspiring actor. “I plan to have a long acting career ahead of me,” said East, who is glad he’s not included in Superman II, “and I don’t want to get stereotyped in one particular area.” Nonetheless, East’s boyish good looks have not been lost on casting directors, one of whom picked him to play the young Jack London in the $4-million production of Klondike Fever, which also stars Rod Steiger, Gordon Pinsent, Lome Greene and Angie Dickinson. Dickinson, who, as TV’s Police Woman, had a reputation for always getting her man, is cast as a saloon madame who deflowers the virginal London on the banks of Lake Lindemann. And although she admits East is “cute,” Dickinson, 47, was somewhat disappointed to discover her co-star was only 21 years old: “Is that all he is? What a shame.”

It has been a decade since The Mamas and the Papas divorced themselves from showbiz and broke up the act that lulled the 1960s to sleep with such tunes as California Breamin'. But Papa Denny Doherty, a bushy-bearded Nova Scotian, has recently resurrected his somewhat dormant career and turned his Monday, Monday blues into a starring role in Halifax’s country and western musical called North Mountain Breakdown. The musical marks Doherty’s first major gig since his 1978 CBC TV summer series, Benny's Show, cancelled after one season, but it’s by no means his stage debut. In 1975, the 38-year-old singer was lured to Broadway by the other ex-Papa, John Phillips. However, after 4'/2 months of rehearsals and five short performances, the show closed, sending Doherty back home. How does the former star spend his time, apart from counting his royalties? “I’ve been doing nothing,” he said. “Nothing except seeing the province and catching up on the 17 years I spent in the States.”

Since 1974, when she retired from politics to a life of rural routine, little has been heard from Ulster’s angry young woman Bernadette Devlin. But

once a freedom fighter, always a freedom fighter: Devlin is back, having offered to run for one of three Northern Ireland seats in the 410-member European parliament’s first direct elections, which will take place from June 7 to June 10. Since 1969, when, at the age of 21, she became the youngest woman to sit in the British Parliament, Devlin

has been known for her somewhat radical and unorthodox approach to parliamentary etiquette. Apart from spending time as an MP behind bars for participating in illegal civil rights marches, Devlin was also arrested for assaulting Reginald Maudling, the home secretary in charge of Northern Ireland. Although, as the mother of a seven-year-old daughter, whom she had by schoolteacher Michael McAliskey before they were married six months later, it would be understandable if time had tempered her— don’t bet on it. Devlin-McAliskey is running as an “antirepression candidate.” Her platform? It attacks Britain for recent charges of violating civil rights in Ulster. Plus ça change.

One of the little sacrifices Pope John Paul II had to make when he became the 264th leader of the Roman Catholic Church last fall was to forgo such sporty pastimes as skiing, tennis and swimming in the face of putting in a 17hour day. But all work and no play has given John Paul II a bit of a papal paunch, a fact that slightly concerns the 59-year-old once-fit pontiff. In order to remedy the situation, construction is under way to build the Pope a 40-by-82foot swimming pool at his summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, 15 miles south of Rome. Vatican sources allow that the pool should be ready for papal use by mid-June. And not a minute too soon. On June 10, the Pope will come back ê from visiting the 30 million Catholics in | his native Poland, a visit which ob° servers feel could spark conflict between the socialist state and the church.

Should the Pope find himself in a heated position there, he’ll no doubt look forward to cooling off on his return.

America’s Paper Lion, George Plimpton, did it first, but featherweight folk minstrel John Allan Cameron thought he could do it better when he challenged some of Canada’s top athletes in order to prove he was no paper guitar-picker. Cameron, a 40-year-old Maritimer, went toe-to-toe with such stars as Ottawa Rough Rider Tony Gabriel, hockey’s Eddie Shack, Olympic swimmer Nancy Garapick, tennis’ Don Fontana and Canadian heavyweight boxer Trevor Berbick while taping a 12week CBC summer series. The shows will feature music as well as Cameron’s macho masochism, but should his strumming be not as hot as his scrumming, you’ll know why. After a bout with Halifax’s Berbick, the singer was gingerly nursing a swollen right hand. Although admitting Berbick was “very kind,” Cameron obviously left the ring with his ego intact. “I’ve been a boxing fan much longer than Berbick,” said the closet jock lamely. “I know more about boxing than he does. It’s just that he has the technique, the strength and the build.”

Jane O’Hara