Failure does not rest lightly on Russ Jackson’s shoulders. Jackson, the all-Canadian quarterback, who became an all-Canadian chump when he coached the Toronto Argonauts to two consecutive (1975-76) seasons in the CFL Eastern Conference cellar, is back in
the coaching business. Trying until he gets it right. His latest squad is the girls’ basketball team at Brampton Centennial High School, where he’s also the principal. (The team has a 5-1 winloss record and it helps that Olympic high jumper Julie White is the group’s
leading scorer.) Speculating on the differences between tutoring musclebound footballers and his weaker, but sexier “girls,” Jackson says: “Women are very attentive. They learn quickly and adapt better. But they aren’t all competitive. We go out there to win and although I’ve occasionally had to yell at them, no one’s cried on me yet.”
/jjXuthor Kitty Kelley’s newly pub/r\Alished biography of Jackie Kennedy Onassis, entitled Jackie Oh! is not so much a hatchet job as a poleaxing of the onetime first lady. Based on interviews with Jackie’s family, Kennedy intimates and U.S. politicians, the book leaves no dirt unturned, revealing Jackie as a “neurotic, tormented woman who wanted to become a part of history.” There’s the story of Jackie’s wedding day to JFK (when, according to Kelley, her father was too drunk to give her away) and assorted anecdotes about Jackie’s miserliness. (“She scrutinized White House gifts as though she were a Turkish bazaar hustler.”) Although at first shy about attempting to shatter the Jackie myth, Kelley now maintains: “I wouldn’t be afraid to go up to Jackie on the street and introduce myself.” Jackie might not return the compliment. Says her half-brother, Jamie Auchincloss—who’s oft-quoted in the book—“Jackie doesn’t intend to read it.”
Ot was two for tea when author Robertson Davies (Fifth Business, The Manticore) met director Roderick Cook (Oh Coward! and Present Laughter) in
the master’s private chambers at the University of Toronto. The artsy confab was arranged when Cook, who has been living in New York for the past 17 years, confided to friends that he was longing to meet Davies. According to Cook, Davies is the darling of the New York literati—a fact substantiated when Women's Wear Daily, the glossy gossip sheet, declared the professor “IN.” Following a brief autograph session, where Davies signed first-edition copies of his six novels, Cook exclaimed: “I’m the unofficial president of the Robertson Davies fan club—New York chapter.” Replied the master: “Only a chapter? Couldn’t you make it a volume?”
fhe Canadian Brass, a classical quintet of blowhards, discovered a new listening audience on their recently completed whirlwind tour of Saskatchewan. Billed as a cultural junket through the Prairies, the group played 18 shows in 18 nights, driving by ranch wagon to such outposts as Lanigan, Wynyard and Moosomin. At the outset, the five-member band wondered if anyone had heard of them, let alone listened to them. Needless to say, they were pleasantly surprised. “It was gratifying,” said Chuck Daellenbach, a tubist whose speciality is Flight of the Bumblebee. “We
Luft: all in the family
had one farmer who told us he listened to us all the time. Not on the radio. The guy had an eight-track tape player in his tractor.”
?he disclaimer at the top of singer Lorna Luft’s conversation runs like this: “No. I don’t drink or take drugs. I’m not like my mother or my sister.” Which is all very well, except that Luft’s mother happens to be Judy Garland, making Liza Minnelli her half-sister. Talk about a royal family. After living and performing in England for the past two years, Luft finally got homesick and recently returned to the bosom of the Big Apple, with her nightclub act intact. While sitting in her New York apartment, alongside one of the ,red-sequined slippers Judy wore in The Wizard of Oz, Luft, 25, talked about her rave reviews. Not all of them, however, wére impartial. “Liza was just amazed. She loved it.”
Ç-phe elusive and reclusive Bobby U Fischer made a brief stop in New York recently before setting off to Belgrade to engineer his re-entry into the world of international chess. Dressed in one of several $400 suits he owns, Fischer dropped in to chat with his former chess teacher, John Collins, who runs a chess academy in Manhattan. Although Fischer is preparing to end his six-year exile with a $l-million exhibition match against Yugoslavian grand z¡ master Svetozar Gligoric in 1979, it’s g considered only a warm-up for his F planned match against world champion g Anatoly Karpov. According to Collins, Fischer, who’s been known to have a few eccentricities around a chessboard himself, wasn’t too impressed with the recent Karpov-Korchnoi marathon in Baguio. “He wasn’t interested,” said Collins. “All that stuff about gurus and parapsychology. He thought it made chess look ridiculous.”
Free at last, Lord. Free at last. With a smirk on his face and a glass of gin in his hand, Keith Richards, the Rolling Stones guitarist, met the press in Toronto last week, hours after being sentenced on a possession of heroin charge. Richards, who was put on a year’s probation and ordered to give a benefit concert for Toronto’s Canadian National Institute for the Blind, described the judgment as “strange,” but added that he would assemble the Stones for the springtime charity gig. Admitting he kicked the heroin habit 18 months ago because it was “boring,” Richards stated he was “now a lush.” When asked if he had met his probation officer, Richards replied, “Yeah, he’s very sweet. I don’t know his name, but we’ll build up a relationship over the years.” And what was the Stones’ reaction when they heard their buddy was free? “They were mad I wasn’t put away for 30 years.”
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