When Toronto journalist Maggie Siggins set out to write a biography of John Bassett, she naturally called the famous broadcaster, ex-publisher and former owner of the Toronto Argonauts and asked for an interview. He turned her down, booming into the phone (before he slammed it down): “I’m writing my own memoirs.” Actually, he has appointed his attractive wife Isobel, a television personality at CFTO (the Toronto station owned by Bassett), to be his official biographer. Her potential publisher, McClelland & Stewart, would like her to hustle something out before Siggins’ book is published. But, so far, Isobel confesses: ‘T haven’t written a word.” However, she has, at great expense, hired a researcher and sat down herself for several, cosy, taperecorded chats with her 63-year-old husband/boss/subject. A woman with an inspiring amount of self-confidence, 39-year-old Isobel says she knows the task ahead will be a rough one —“It’ll be difficult to talk about certain relationships he’s had”—but she figures she’s up to it. And what if, at the end of all the work, her big-shot husband does not agree? “If we end up arguing about it, then of course it won’t be published at this time.”
/¡At 49, she is still the world’s most LrsA elegant gamin —and surely the most elusive. Audrey Hepburn, back on the screen to star in Bloodline, the movie based on author Sidney Sheldon’s best-selling novel, reluctantly agreed to a handful of interviews to publicize her movie but steadfastly refused to talk about her personal life. Back in 1969, after a seemingly effortless career as Hollywood’s romantic princess, Hepburn dropped out of the celebrity racket to marry Italian psychiatrist Andrea Dotti and live a life of domestic bliss, which included eating all the pasta she could and never getting fat. She surfaced in 1976 to star with Sean Connery in Robin and Marian, then disappeared from public view until agreeing to make Bloodline, which also stars James Mason, Ben Gazzara and Omar Sharif. Hepburn plays the sole heiress to a multimillion-dollar pharmaceutical fortune who, in her Givenchy wardrobe, roams through various streets in New York, Rome, Paris and Munich pursued by a killer. Hepburn even did a few of her own stunts for the film, which won her raves from Director Terence Young: “She’s absolutely fearless in tricky situations.” At the same time, he says, she manages to look terrified. “No one plays vulnerable ladies better than she does.”
Bn many other countries around the world she would be an object of pity, but because of the good old North American male’s breast fixation, Chesty (73-27-36) Morgan rolled (crawled?) into Toronto a star. During her two-week stint at a downtown burlesque theatre, she did little more than stand around, display her gargantuan pendulums (about eight pounds each) and provide interludes between such hot films as Black Leather. But something about Chesty attracted a lot of attention. Her picture was plastered on the walls of many downtown offices and her pronouncements were the subject of several snickery interviews. A Polish immigrant who is married to an umpire in baseball’s National League, Chesty picked up $9,600 for her “performance.” Despite her obvious attraction as a freak, the middle-aged mother of two accorded herself a more lofty status in the world of celebrity: “It’s like being president of the United States—all the people I meet and the places I go.” And her act is higher class than most: “I
don’t take off all my clothes. I like to leave some things to the imagination.” As Jack Paar once introduced Jayne Mansfield, “Here they are.”
Apart from the fact that he has a dimple in his chin exactly like his famous older sister’s, Bruce Murray apparently has a voice going for him as well —not quite as soft and sweet as Grammy-winning Anne’s, but getting there. The 26-year-old contemporary pop singer has just released his debut album with Columbia called There's Always a Goodbye. With music reminiscent of Dan Hill’s successful bland blend of sentimentality, the album, says Murray, contains a lot more of himself than did his first not very successful attempt three years ago put out by Quality and produced by big sister Anne. Bruce has toured across the country and has been the warm-up act for Olivia Newton-John and Dom Deluise when they were in Canada. Besides taking dance and piano
lessons, Bruce works out in a gym and swims to stay in shape for stardom. Being Anne’s brother, he reflects, has had its advantages and disadvantages. In the beginning, he was “a curiosity” but now “it’s a drag. Because after the first flush, the press says, ‘Prove yourself’. ”
fq3 rom a colleague of those wonderful Li folks who brought you Battle Hymn of Lt. Calley (the U.S. Army lieutenant who was responsible for the deaths of 22 civilians at My Lai in 1968) and the Christmas chart-smasher of 1975, Santa Jaws (“Good King Sharkeslaus spat out the legs and feet of Stephen”), now comes Who Killed Jim Jones?, a jolly little ditty in reggaestyle about the Mr. Nice Guyana who cajoled more than 900 people in Jonestown to do themselves in with a cyanide-laced soft drink last November. Guyanese composer Nicky Porter was delighted when his single was sold out within two days after it was unleashed
on the be-jungled South American nation last month. Now Porter is casting his eye toward the North American market. Surely, then, in some Iranian Tin Pan Alley, an enterprising Shi’ite is musing about the royalties that could accrue from Shah, Rattle and Roll. Or some furtive Ugandan is working up a version of Beat Me Dada, Eight to the Bar. Milton! Thou should’st be living at this hour: English hath need of thee!
hen it comes to hockey, TV’s Bionic Boy Vince Van Patten is
charmingly ignorant. In Montreal recently to star in a Canadian film called Yesterday, Van Patten played an American student with a draft deferment who attends McGill University and does all sorts of fun Canadian things like falling in love with a French-Canadian girl (played by Quebec actress Claire Pimparé) and playing hockey with his
fellow students. The on-screen falling in love came more easily than the skating. Van Patten, who is also a pro tennis player, trained for 20 days for three or four hours a day. He had never been on skates before. Just lacing up, he said, took him 45 minutes. One scene called for Van Patten to fall and slide into the boards (he calls them “walls”). “I hit them so hard I almost dislocated my shoulder. On film it looks like I’m in pain, and I was. I was really hurting when I did that shot. I thought that was the end of my tennis career.” Vince was game enough to allow that he liked hockey “a lot now” but predicted without much regret that he would not have much of a chance to exhibit his board-crashing skills back home in California.
Bf Progressive Conservative leader Joe Clark feels he was unfairly maligned by the press during his recent Aroundthe-World-in-Eighty-Delays trip, he can take heart in the knowledge that the good folks who organize the London, Ontario, Kiwanis Music Festival are watching over his reputation. It seems that one of the compulsory selections for the Grade 6 elementary-school choir category was a little item called Old Joe Clarke, a song about a Tennessee hillbilly with such politically ominous lyrics as:
Round and round, old Joe Clarke, Round and round I say;
Round and round, old Joe Clarke,
I ain Ï got long to stay.
With an election apparently just around the corner, the festival committee members felt the tune was not in good taste, so they took it off the compulsory list and made it an option. Joe Clark will no doubt sleep more easily tonight,
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