People

Marsha Boulton June 11 1979

People

Marsha Boulton June 11 1979

People

In the beginning there was “Grok,” the Martian password that united groupies of science-fiction writer Robert Heinlein’s 1961 novel, Stranger in a Strange Land. Then came the Trekkies, who lobbied vigorously for the big-screen revival of their beloved Star Trek. And now it is time for the rise of the Dunies, fans of Frank Herbert’s sci-fi classic, Dune, which has sold more than 10 million copies in 12 languages. Herbert, 58, is optimistic about the project and recently told a Vancouver science-fiction convention that he expects the movie to be “every bit as powerful and enduring as Gone With the Wind.” While no one has been selected for the leading role of Paul Atreides, Muad’Dib, the young conqueror of the universe, Orson Welles is up for the role of the evil baron, Vladimir Harkonnen, a villain so immense that his belt is equipped with levitation devices. Special effects are shaping up to be the biggest headache of producer Dino de Laurentiis (King Kong) who has a $25-million budget with which to create the sandy planet of Arrakis and the gigantic all-devouring worms that terrorize its people. Playing down the prospect of a jerky Hollywood worm, Herbert says the script will concentrate on character development. “It’s not going to be the story of the worm that came in from the cold.”

Last January John Lennon bought 103 cows from a farmer in Virginia. Since then not a peep has been heard from the bucolic Beatle who has been sequestered with wife, Yoko Ono, and three-year-old son, Sean, at his upper New York state farm or Manhattan coop. Apparently the retreat into pastoral hermitage caused friends to fuss. Not to

worry, according to a recent full-page “love letter to people who ask us what, when and why” which the Lennons paid The New York Times $18,240 to publish, the odd couple of Beatlemania is alive and well and—wishing. “The things we tried to achieve in the past by flashing a V-sign, we now try through wishing. Wishing is more effective than waving flags,” explains the cryptic pair who once crusaded for the Black Panthers, not to mention their 1969 “bed-in for peace” in Montreal. Concentrated wishing has also been directed at their domestic life. “The house is getting more comfortable. Sean is beautiful. The

plants are growing. The cats are purring.” Well-wishers’ “vibes” are welcome but no visitors, please. “We hope that you have the same quiet space in your mind to make your own wishes come true. Remember, we love you.”

A derelict lying on the roadside caught the eye of gas station attendant Melvin Dummar one dusty afternoon in 1968 as he drove along a Nevada highway. A Good Samaritan, Dummar said he picked up a tall, shaggy desert rat and found himself transporting millionaire Howard Hughes to one of the many hotels the reclusive eccentric s owned in Las Vegas. Dummar was so £ poor at the time that even his toaster g had been repossessed, but when Hughes ^ died in 1976 one of the multitude of wills 5 that surfaced named the impecunious £ Mr. Nice Guy as a major beneficiary. Though the will was ultimately ruled a forgery, Dummar’s near-Cinderella tale is being made into a $4.5-million movie featuring two-time Academy Award winner (All the President's Men, Julia) Jason Robards as the enigmatic Hughes and Paul Le Mat (American Graffiti, Aloha, Bobby and Rose) as Dummar. Titled Melvin and Howard, the film will deal primarily with the wacky life of Dummar, high points of which include winning the big prize of the day on Let’s Make a Deal in 1975 and composing the long-forgotten song about his relationship with “Uncle Howie,” A Dream Can Become a Reality.

With good reason, Naomi Buemi decided to get rid of the “camel hump” in the middle of her 32-year-old Sicilian nose. Her children were starting to crack schnozzle jokes and the Toronto actress found the mammoth mound was restricting her to roles slated for female Jimmy Durantes. “Gee, what a great idea for a movie,” said her husband, part-time film-maker Merrick Engel, and before you could say rhinoplasty, the couple had written a docu-drama script and raised $200,000 to finance the one-hour movie entitled Nose Job. Completed last week, the filming proceeded both in and out of the operating room with Buemi starring as an unhappy housewife who raids the family nest egg to bankroll a new $1,200 nose in hopes of saving her marriage. Also featured are pert-nosed Catherine O’Hara, a Second City TV veteran who appears in a rare dramatic role, and zany Luba Goy of CBC radio’s equally zany Royal Canadian Air Farce who has quite a nose of her own. The most traumatic moment of filming occurred when Buemi stripped her bandages be-

f ÍI was experiencing what I put other ■ people through,” recalls Richard Gwyn, the Toronto Star’s nationally syndicated Ottawa columnist, who is used to watching people in the news but hardly accustomed to being watched himself. But the shoe was on the other foot as Toronto film-makers Peter Raymont, 29, and Simon Riley, 31, trailed the media trailing Trudeau, Clark and Broadbent on the campaign stump. While Vancouver scribe Clive Cocking wrote a Canadian version of Tim Crouse’s 1972 U.S. presidential election exposé, The Boys on the Bus, Riley and Raymont videotaped 22 hours of media wheeling and dealing in the 21 days preceding last month’s federal election. Their as yet unnamed documentary, to be completed by next fall, is Raymont’s third look at what goes on behind the political scenes, following films about Tory MP Flora MacDonald and Premier Bill Davis of Ontario’s Big Blue Machine. Flora is no longer talking to Raymont, but it’s unlikely the press will turn a cold shoulder after the film’s debut. Says Riley: “They’re not a wild and crazy bunch. The campaign was a dull 5 job, almost routine. Our hats are off to ^ the reporters who covered it.”

fore the lens. “I felt like mourning for a central part of me that had vanished forever,” sighed the newly smoothed star, “but they can’t call me banana nose anymore.”

In a world gone mad with disco, where Donna Summer emerges from a cloud of dry ice in painstakingly tight gowns

and ex-country singer Dolly Parton strains her seams to the beat of the Nashville Hustle, Joan Armatrading is an odd survivor of a generation that seems to prefer glitz to gut issues. A confessed feminist, 29-year-old Armatrading doesn’t wear sequins, or even skirts, onstage and prefers sneakers to spike heels. As Armatrading wrapped up her cross-Canada tour last week, her producer, Glynn Johns (early Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton), was busily taping her next album live at Toronto’s O’Keefe Centre and nearby Hamilton Place where audiences are noted for their politesse. Among the fans who turned out for the performances were Rolling Stone magazine photographer Annie Leibovitz, who was snapping potential album covers, and a young man who raced on stage to give the West Indian Gloria Steinern a rose and a peck on the cheek. “That was my first kiss,” Armatrading told her audience, and she followed it up with a song about the inadequacies of most male lovers. A standing ovation rounded out the performance. Shades of the ’80s, perhaps?

ÍÍpoliticians are like artists—they ■ nave no security and so must be fantastically dedicated people.” With that in mind, abstract expressionist William Ronald set out to paint a “portrait” of every Canadian prime minister. With a $16,000 grant from the Canada Council, the enterprising artist spent a year researching his subjects and so far has completed versions of Louis St. Laurent, John Diefenbaker and his favorite, Mackenzie King. “I was around when King was in power. We knew he was strange even then,” says the 52-year-old Ronald,

The Shah, whose energetic lifestyle has greatly impressed his hosts amid the languors of Paradise Island, Bahamas, will be almost certainly jogging off to a new destination this week. His eight-week tourist visa expired on May 30 and, as Bahamian government sources told Maclean’s, it will not be extended because the Shah represents a major security risk to any host country. His presence on Paradise Island has drawn vigorous protests from opposition political parties alarmed by reports that the Palestine Liberation Organization was set to kidnap Iran’s deposed ruler and that some oil suppliers were just as keen to turn off the tap on any country that shelters him. At the weekend, the Shah’s children had already been spirited away by CIA and state department aides to stay with Princess Chams, the Shah’s sister, who lives in California. When the self-styled successor to Cyrus the Great and his wife Empress Farah join them—probably in Mexico—they will leave behind a trail of broken rumors. One is that they have separated. They have not.

whose three-panel representation of Canada’s 10th prime minister looks more like one of King’s famous nightmares than the mystic politician himself. In fact, the only immediate clues to the identity of Ronald’s subject are a large human skull (symbolizing King’s interest in the “afterlife”), a dog (King’s faithful Pat) and a female nude (King was fascinated by prostitutes). The work, according to the artist, is a lot more realistic than the “chocolate box” art now hanging in the House of Commons. While that point may be debatable, Ronald is sure the eccentric former PM would approve: “He’d love it. I know he would.”

Marsha Boulton