People

People

Jane O'Hara December 11 1978
People

People

Jane O'Hara December 11 1978

People

The Rockettes, New York Radio City Music Hall’s leggy art deco dance troupe, have long been strong on glamor. But with the recent infusion of Ann-Margret into the line, the girls have never looked so good. Ann-Margret, who got her first glimpse of the Rockettes when she was six—just two days off the boat from her native Sweden— never forgot the sight. Which was why she decided to relive her childhood fantasy and become a Rockette on her upcoming TV special to be aired Dec. 14. (Also featured in the show is actor Gregory Peck, a former Radio City tour guide himself.) After her four-day stint with the Rockettes, the girls gave AnnMargret a Gold Disc, the traditional

gift for a departing dancer, and this promise: “They told me I’d always have a job,” said Ann-Margret.

HJ} efore the Grey Cup kickoff, Valerie I ö) Harper, aka Rhoda, rose in the stands at Toronto’s Exhibition Stadium and, with a slight Bronx twang, belted out the words to 0 Canada. It might have been a nice theatrical touch, but the Canadianization of Valerie should^ come as a surprise to no one. After all, her mother was born in Saskatoon. Her father, although an American, played^

hockey for Oakland and met his wife in Calgary when he was there for a game. The Canadian connection will continue for Harper (who still has relatives in British Columbia and Ontario) when she stars in an upcoming Canadian production called Scot Free, a movie about Nova Scotia and Scotland. Ironically, the title of the film is exactly what Harper, 37, is these days. Following her recent divorce and CBS’s cancellation of Rhoda, Harper happily admits: “I’m free.”

Por Prince Edward Island’s New Democratic Party leader Acquinas Ryan, life at the political top is, quite literally, a vale of tears. At the NDP’s recent leadership convention in Charlottetown, Ryan countered a move to have him ousted by breaking into a bleary-eyed monologue citing his love for wife, family and party. Upset at seeing a grown man grovel, the party faithful declared the meeting unconstitutional. Although Ryan gained a reprieve until January (when the next leadership meeting will be held) one party wag had this to say: “It’s hard to know whether he was crying to save his job, or because the NDP has never held a seat in the legislature.”

Former comedian and black pacifist Dick Gregory, who has elevated consciousness-raising fasts to a political art, is at it again. This time Gregory has sworn off solids to dramatize the “many hidden facts” in the mass suicide of the People’s Temple cult in Guyana. Claiming the American Central Intelligence Agency was behind the tragedy, Gregory alleges that cult members

weren’t poisoned by cyanide-laced KoolAid but were “gassed by the CIA.” He bases this on two things: “You can’t make dogs drink Kool-Aid,” asserts Gregory. “And as a father of 10 children myself, my human feelings tell me no mother could poison her children and not be shocked back into reality by the sight.”

Vf\fl ith a gleam in his eye and a little Uu spit and polish on his boots, Canada’s nationalist-naturalist author, Farley Mowat, showed up recently during a Canadian Armed Forces exercise in Cape Breton. After telling Colonel Kent Foster, commanding officer of the Canadian Airborne Regiment, that he was planning to write a story on the military, Mowat invited the CO into his car. Foster, a Mowat fan, was delighted—no doubt hoping he’d appear in Farley’s next book. As soon as Foster got in, however, Mowat pulled a gun on him and the car sped off. Moments later, the CO had been “shot.” With blanks, of course. Get it? It was a joke. An example of air farce humor, aided by members of the Royal Canadian Regiment from Gagetown, New Brunswick, who acted as the enemy in the exercise. Well, maybe you had to be there.

[P or 15 years now, Harvey Kirck and Li the crew have been getting together for a little late-night news, making Kirck, CTV’s anchorman, the longest running face in the history of North American television news. (CBS’s stalwart, Walter Kronkite, has actually logged more airtime, but it hasn’t been

continuous.) Ever on the lookout for a good story, Kirck has been closely following the saga of CBC’s beleaguered new newsreader, Knowlton Nash. In fact, Kirck and his sidekick Lloyd Robertson (once The National’s anchorman himself) made sure they caught Nash’s debut. “Of course, we’re on at the same time,” explained Kirck. “But Lloyd and I raced out of the studio just in time to see the tail end of Nash’s first show, his first sign-off and his first apology.”

aving given a commanding performance before Monaco’s Prince Rainier and Princess Grace on the occasion of his nobleness’ 50th birthday party, guest dancers Karen Kain and Frank

Augustyn (The National Ballet), Leslie Browne (The Turning Point) and Peter Schaufuss were ready to cut up the cake. After the gala show at Monte Carlo’s Opera House, the dancers waited backstage for the princely couple to come and bestow their approbation. No show. Failing that, the dancers gowned and tuxedoed themselves in anticipation of going to the Prince’s after-theatre soirée. Again they got the royal snub. No invitation was extended to the foursome who had danced so ably for their supper. “We were disappointed,” was the consensus. “Not amused.”

Jane O'Hara