with all the chutzpah of a ham sandwich, navel goddess Cher keeps coming up with something slightly new. This year she legally dropped the last names of former husbands Sonny Bono and Gregg Allman so that she could guarantee four-letter billing. She also joined the stream of disco crossovers with an album titled Take Me Home. It gets a lot of play at disco roller-skating rinks like the one in the San Fernando Valley that Cher likes to rent every Monday night for daughter Chastity, 10, and a revolving crew of friends including Lily Tomlin and Olivia Newton-John. Currently on a continental tour which will see her flashing 32-year-old glitz and home movies in Toronto later this month, Cher has a wardrobe that knows no bounds. Still long and lean, she is showing the benefits of a recent “bos-
om-firming” operation which is sure to draw attention away from the famous belly button. If that doesn’t grab all eyes, Cher also has a “laser dress.” It’s said that her wardrobe man doubles as her electrician.
Back in Canada for the bar mitzvah of broadcaster Larry Zolf’s son David, Rabbi Abraham L. Feinberg was talking up his current project, a book tentatively titled Sex and the Pulpit. “All sexual problems relate to religion—it’s no wonder sex has always bothered ministers a lot,” said the man who, first as rabbi of Canada’s second-largest reform congregation, Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto, and then as peace delegate to Hanoi, became the country’s best-known vociferous clergyman. Feinberg now lives in Reno, Nevada, where he hosts a radio show focused on senior citizens and writes his book—in longhand. The idea for Sex.. . began to form in 1964 but work didn’t begin until 1976. This fall Feinberg will mark his 80th birthday with a pilgrimage to Israel before returning to his book, in which he plans to cover women’s lib, extramarital cohabitation (“Nothing wrong with that”), aging and the humanity of clergymen themselves. “It might be very interesting,” he mused. “I’m thinking of titling one chapter, Ts the Penis Obsolete?’ ”
First wed in 1957, Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner disbanded after four years when she became involved onand off-screen with Splendor in the Grass co-star Warren Beatty. Remarried in 1972, Wood and Wagner have settled into routine Hollywood bliss. Their conjugal stability, says Wood, has helped her “get into” her most recent role, as the wife of George Segal in The Last
Married Couple in America. A comedy, the film is about a contemporary couple’s struggle against the trend toward divorce. “Me and my lady live for ourselves and our family first, that’s the most important lesson you can learn in life,” says Wagner, 48. Though Wood, who turns 41 this month, has limited her career in an attempt to follow the family credo, she couldn’t resist a recent project that involved exploring the treasures of Leningrad’s Hermitage museum with Peter Ustinov.
There aren’t many 25-year-olds who have Rolling Stones guitarist Ron Wood’s home phone number. Even fewer have been invited to view his etchings. But Calgarian Debby Chesher has not only called “Ronnie,” she has also persuaded the shy Stone to participate in a book she has assembled which features the art of musical luminaries Joni Mitchell, Commander Cody, Klaus Voorman, Cat Stevens and John Mayall. Relying on “faith and persistence,” the entrepreneurial Chesher spent three years tracking the stars, interviewing them and laboring over the production of all phases of the 240-page book, Starart, due out this fall. Along with an initial printing of 50,000 hard-cover copies, Chesher is also binding 300 in leather; that limited edition, signed by the artists, will sell for $1,000 U.S. ($1,160 Canadian) and advance sales have already been made to Ringo Starr, Graham Nash and John Belushi. Stones’ guitarist Keith Richards, whom Wood depicts in the book in a portrait titled Suspendered Sentence, was one of the first to sign up for a copy. “They are all really excited,” says Chesher. “People are going to be surprised by the range of talent.” For instance, who would have thought that British blues rocker Mayall spends his off-hours sewing quilts?
After six years of “dyn-o-mite” on the sitcom Good Times, Jimmie (J.J.) Walker is trying to shed his teen-age wisenheimer image and get back on the stand-up comic circuit which spawned his bigmouthed success. A veteran of Laugh-In and The Jack Paar Show, Walker is taking his Borscht-Belt black humor to comedy clubs in Ottawa and Montreal this summer. As he explained to a Toronto audience last week, Canadians are ready for his “ebony genius.” The “J.J.” tag is not easily forgotten, however: “People expect me to get up on stage and say ‘dyn-o-mite’ for half an hour.” A cameo appearance in Airport '79-Concorde should help his image shift and, if all else fails, Walker is willing to consider a return to the tube— “but only if there are megabucks involved. After all, I am a bronze god.”
Two years ago, French show-biz impresario Jacques Morali walked into a New York disco and saw a man dressed like an Indian boogeying for all he was worth. Something clicked and the result was The Village People, six
macho stereotypes who have parodied their way to the top of the record charts with four hit albums which have sold 12 million copies worldwide. Enter Allan Carr, the man who gave celluloid life to the Broadway musical Grease, and you’ve got Discoland—Where the Music Never Ends. Billed as a “romantic comedy musical like Singin' in the Rain
circa 1980,” the film will see the cop, cowboy, leather man, hard-hat, soldier and Indian acting out their rise to stardom. “Discovering” the motley group is Valerie Perrine (Lex Luthor’s mucho mistress in Superman), who provides the romance in the story by falling in love with the group’s lawyer, played by Olympic gold-medallist Bruce Jenner. Adding order to the wild and crazy lensing, which begins next month, is first-feature director Nancy Walker, who played Valerie Harper’s Jewish mama on Rhoda. At least there will be chicken soup amid the heavy-metal hustling.
It is said that Renato Vallanzasca looks like Alain Delon and has the charisma of Svengali. He is also Italy’s No. 1 criminal, with a history of murder and mayhem which has reaped him sentences of 100 years and counting. This month, as he makes his courtly rounds adding years to his sentence with each judge he encounters, Vallanzasca is being trailed by chestnut-haired Giulana Brusa, who petitions each prosecutor for a marriage permit. “It’s a tragedy which has stricken our honor and name,” says Brusa’s mother, outraged that her 20-year-old daughter would want to bring the 30-year-old “public threat” into their middle-class family. But Brusa is determined. She has loved Vallanzasca since they first met while she was attending school near Milan. The Roman Romeo has a history of infecting his women with undying loyalty. When he kidnapped heiress Anna Maria Trapani in 1977, they fell in love and she was reluctant to testify against him. Vallanzasca will not receive any romantic reprieve this time, however, and Brusa may have to content herself with a marriage by mail.
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