Once voted the world’s most beautiful woman, Ava Gardner is now 56, looking slightly doughy around the mid-
dle, and during the Montreal filming of her latest disaster flick City on Fire (she did Earthquake in ’74) she was so near-sighted she couldn’t read the cue cards without her glasses. It seems moviedom’s grande dame of the ’40s and ’50s (The Killers, ’46, The Barefoot Contessa, ’54) has become a femme fatality in the ’70s. Attending what she said was her “first press conference in 20 years,” the thrice-married Gardner (Artie Shaw, Mickey Rooney, Frank Sinatra) asked for her second scotch, then talked of her life in London and her hate-hate relationship with the press. “I’ve been lied about a great deal,” she said. Hardly taking a breath, Gardner went on to describe her role in the movie ... she plays a television reporter.
her was there. So were Halston \k? and Bill Blass and Dina Merrill... Ah yes, it was an intimate gathering. Only 800 of New York’s glossiest were invited aboard The Peking—a fourmasted ship turned floating disco—to launch French designer Yves St. Laurent’s new perfume, Opium. Included in the cost of the $300,000 soirée were 3 thousands of orchids flown in from Ha| waii, a 1,000-pound Buddha, and Studio g 54’s seven-foot bouncer, who was em«
ployed to keep such members of the literati as Truman Capote (he’s five-footsix in heels) in line. Capote, who in getting on the ship appeared off the wagon (he has often publicized his battle with the bottle) said of the scent: “Opium? I’ve never tried it. But I’ve taken a lot of other stuff.”
H t’s enough to drive you to drink. Night U after night of playing a cannibal (he eats his fellow prisoners) in Judgment—a one-man, 105-minute tour-deforce—Montreal-born actor Richard Monette finds it hard to unwind. Following a ritual not unheard of in the theatre, he hits the sauce. “I end up drinking myself into a stupor after every performance,” admits Monette, who started the show in June at Stratford and will close it on Oct. 13. “One thing that it’s proven is that my brain cells haven’t been destroyed. I still have my memory.” There’s no report yet from his liver.
11 the world’s a stage and one man ZrvA plays many parts. Exactly. In the beginning Eldridge Cleaver was a Black Panther with a militant spirit. But it appears his Soul on Ice has become a Soul on Fire—at least that’s the title of his newly published book on becoming a born-again Christian. Moving right along, Cleaver (who still has a six-count indictment pending from a 1968 shootout with Oakland police) is also out flogging a men’s fashion line fea-
turing trousers which come equipped with codpieces. What vistas possibly remain for this urban guerrilla gone good? Cleaver, now 43 and a convicted rapist, would like to start a boys’ finishing school. “I’d teach them etiquette and how to chase a woman. And ... what to do when she’s caught.”
Il est you think Quebec chanteuse Gira nette Reno is trying to do her bit for national unity, relax. True, the 32-yearold Reno has just made her first English recordings in five years (one album, one single), but it isn’t a strategically timed sociopolitical statement. Fact is ... two years ago, while studying drama and comedy at the Lee Strasberg Institute in Los Angeles, Reno (who’s separated from her husband) had a fling with a Californian songwriter named Deke Richards. Although Reno and Richards are now just friends, they must have made beautiful music together. “I’ve finally met a man,” said Reno (whose upcoming show at Montreal’s Place des Arts set a single day— $136,000—box-office sales record), “who understands my heart and soul in English.”
fhe fact she didn’t get a billing wasn’t about to bother her, but pop singer Maureen Duncan, a neophyte to the big time, was somewhat worried about being dubbed “Maureen Who?” when she made her debut at Toronto’s Imperial Room last week. To make mat-
ters worse, she opened the show for veteran comedian Myron Cohen, who, at 73, has been treading the boards since they were corduroy. Although the 26-year-
old Duncan won $7,000 in this year’s Du Maurier Search for Talent and recently appeared in the cabaret By Strouse, her previous gigs included working at a bank and playing one-night stands for Rotarians. Fortunately her openingnight jitters were allayed when she heard one voice in the crowd yell “more.” Said Duncan, “I checked ... it wasn’t anyone I knew.”
anada’s high poetess Margaret At\c7 wood had her day in court before flying off on a year’s leave to Edinburgh last week. Atwood, Canadian filmmaker Allan King (A Married Couple, Who Has Seen the Wind) and drama dean Mavor Moore appeared in a Toronto courtroom as character witnesses for their literary soulmate Rick Salutin. Playright Salutin (Les Canadiens and 1837) was appealing a charge of assaulting a Toronto policeman during the Artistic Woodwork strike in 1973. Atwood, who plans to complete her fourth novel—a comedy—while away with
Graeme Gibson and their daughter Jess, added no levity to the legal proceedings, saying of the accused’s character: “If anything, he’s too honest.” After five years of waiting, Salutin was awarded an absolute discharge.
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