Though they are both more than 40, Brigitte Bardot, 45, and Sophia Loren,
44, can still cause havoc among the European paparazzi whenever they publicly disrobe to an indiscreetly revealing degree. This summer provided a field day for watching shutterbugs in St. Tropez, where Bardot cavorted seminude with her 19-year-old son, Nicolas Charrier (from her second marriage to actor Jacques Charrier), and Loren lounged at poolside after removing the top of her bikini in the company of a group of friends including a plastic surgeon and a fur designer. Aside from her misadventures with the Canadian seal hunt, Bardot has been keeping a markedly low profile in middle age, but Loren seems quite content to continue revealing all. Last spring her memoirs, Sophia: Living and Loving, were published amid much fanfare due to the revelation of a love affair between Loren and Cary Grant which began on the set of The Pride and the Passion in 1957. Loren ultimately married director Carlo Ponti, 22 years her senior, to whom Loren admits she was drawn because of her search for a surrogate father. For those who missed the psychoanalytic scandal of it all in hard-cover, the paperback version will appear next month.
The latest star on the international religious personality scene is the Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of six million Buddhists, who is making a sixweek tour of the U.S. and captivating
audiences wherever he goes with his laid-back charm. Two hundred Canadian Buddhists visited him in New York and, though a Canadian tour was cancelled, his holiness says he will visit Canada next year. At 44, he claims he feels “part of the younger generation” and, as he treks around the U.S. in his purple and gold robes, he plans to spend some time getting acquainted with young people. Though the “wish-fulfilling gem” has refused to discuss the political overtones of his trip, his press kit includes a pamphlet titled The Independent Status of Tibet, and the Chinese are reportedly interested in having him end his 20-year exile in India and return to mountainous Lhasa where 13 Dalai Lamas before him have held court. “Anger, hatred, jealousy—it is not possible to find peace with them. Through compassion, through love, it is possible to become a true human family,” says the apolitical leader whose name means “oceans of wisdom.” “Through love we can solve many problems. We can have true happiness, real disarmament.” In the U.S. next month, it’s Pope John Paul M’s turn to be disarming.
In reel life, bionic man Lee Majors can be repaired by an electrician, but in real life Majors is as vulnerable to the slings and arrows of mortal existence as any other 40-year-old man. With his own salvation in mind, the brawny actor has been taking a few driving lessons recently to prepare for his role in The Last Chase, a futuristic thriller in which he plays a renegade racing-car driver who rebels against a society that
bans all automobiles because of a fuel crisis. Majors claims the racing bug has not affected him as totally as it has Paul Newman and Steve McQueen, but he has
been tempted into participating in a couple of races to get his feet wet before taking on the Mosport Park track in Ontario next month. While he confesses that high-speed stunts are not his “bag,” Majors has picked up some racing savvy even though he has failed to finish in the top 10 in any of his races: “The first thing you learn about competitive racing is that whenever you lose, you blame it on the car.”
When Morris passed away last year he left a hard spot to fill in catlovers’ hearts, not to mention cat-food makers’ coffers. But a sloe-eyed Burmese temple puss named Mitten the Kitten may ease the mourning. An accomplished actor, 14-pound Mitten has appeared on TV’s Fantasy Island and Baretta and did a cameo role in Movie Movie with George C. Scott. With production companies willing to insure him for $50,000 a day, Mitten will probably never have to cha-cha for his chow and he even has his own Hollywood vet on 24-hour call. Animal trainer Karl Mitchell says the feline Benji’s “favorite animal” is his dog-valet Ziggie Stardust but Mitten likes people too. Fifteen-
year-old Lesleh Donaldson (Running, Stone Cold Dead), who is working with “The Mitt” on a Canadian horror flick called Cries in the Night, was so smitten by the four-legged star’s charms that she is sharing her dressing-room trailer with him. Though Mitten plays a heavy in the film, his professional snarls and hisses turn to purrs and kisses as soon as Director William Fruet yells “Cut.” Next, Mitten hopes to become a poster cat, and trainer Mitchell is teaching him to drive a car. “The only remaining problem,” says Mitchell, “is explaining to him that he can’t get a licence.”
Wide-eyed actor Malcolm McDowell
had never met soft-spoken actress Mary Steenburgen before the two were paired in the H.G. Wells-meets-Jack the Ripper historical fantasy Time After Time. However, during that filming they developed a mutual admiration society. “He’s a great actor,” smiles Steenburgen, and she is “undoubtedly the best actress I’ve worked with,” oozes McDowell. Now all but inseparable, they plan to work as a team in “sophisticated comedies.” To prepare for the future, McDowell says, they have screened the 1952 Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy classic Pat and Mike at least 20 times. “It’s a little hard to find Arkansas-Liverpool combinations, but we’re going to give it a go,” says Steenburgen, 24, who was raised in North Little Rock and worked as a New York waitress until her film debut in Jack Nicholson’s 1978 indulgence, Goin
South. McDowell also admits that their efforts as a duo will be “a bit weird,” but neither of them would have it any other way. “We like to work together and he’s great fun, so why deprive ourselves of that?” asks Steenburgen, who figures that anything she does with McDowell will be successful because if the per-
formance doesn’t grab you “the accents will.”
It’s enough to make the Village People sign up for ballroom dancing lessons as the topsy-turvy disco world welcomes 70-year-old Ethel Merman to its rocky-steady ranks. The bold and brassy heroine of countless Broadway musicals has set seven of her “top tunes” to a thumping disco beat which she hopes will provide her with a younger audience, as well as giving older folks a chance to boogie to songs they grew up with, such as Alexander's Ragtime Band and I Got Rhythm. Merman admits that disco is “the other side of the railroad tracks” to her and she hadn’t even heard of Donna Summer until the disco diva was introduced to her, but she’s hopeful about her disco future and has discolated her old standby They Say It's Wonderful in case a sequel album is demanded. In Hamilton, Ontario, recently, the septuagenarian took a tumble while filming a segment of Jack Jones’s TV variety show The Palace Presents, but trouper Merman was soon back on her feet and raring to go, saying, after almost 50 years of song and dance: “Either you’ve got it or you ain’t.”
The story you want is part of the Maclean’s Archives. To access it, log in here or sign up for your free 30-day trial.
Experience anything and everything Maclean's has ever published — over 3,500 issues and 150,000 articles, images and advertisements — since 1905. Browse on your own, or explore our curated collections and timely recommendations.WATCH THIS VIDEO for highlights of everything the Maclean's Archives has to offer.