People

Maureen Piercy June 16 1980

People

Maureen Piercy June 16 1980

People

Robert Shields, half of the look-alike husband and wife mime team Shields and Yarnell, insists that he is a mime artist, not a carbon copy. “I had a scholarship at Marcel Marceau’s school in Paris but I left after two weeks,” says Shields. “He’s fantastic, but everyone was him.” Shields developed his own style of “non-classical” street mime directing traffic, and staved off the pantomime hunger pangs by passing the hat. In 1972 he met Lorene Yarnell, and their offbeat act with the windup doll actions has been a hit ever since. Yarnell recently filmed her first solo project, Clown White, a one-hour television drama that explores the world of the deaf. Torontonian Mark Dillon, 10, plays a deaf boy with whom Yarnell develops a special relationship. The duo’s next project is a “mime-orama” retrospective on vaudeville which will open on Broadway in December—including the non-mime talents of juggling Russian folk dancers and an inebriated horse.

Norman Elder—former Canadian Olympic equestrian team captain, architect, painter, former art gallery owner, author (This Thing of Darkness) and free-lance explorer—was back home in Toronto recently just long enough to have a chat with Prince Philip, who wrote the foreword to his book, and pick up a fresh pith helmet. Elder was returning from Tierra del Fuego and the deserts of Patagonia, where he strolled through areas not visited by man for the past 80 years. Elsewhere in Argentina he found that 25 Canadian beavers, imported 30 years ago, have bred like rabbits and created huge swamps. “The image of the Canadian beaver is as low there as anywhere on earth,” he says. Now heading off for a tour of New Guinean villages, he expects the worst: “Last time I went back to visit the people I’d stayed with, I found a giant mud slide had buried them.” Undaunted, Elder concludes: “Sometimes the best parts of the trips are the things that go wrong.”

"There are fewer sex queens than talented actresses—you’re just glad you have something,” says Angie Dickinson. At 48, she is still being cast in romantic-interest parts rather than as strong personalities, but seems resigned to her gams-’n’-grin status. “We’ve all lived with people putting down sex symbols,” she says sagely. “It’s kind of like saying Frank Sinatra can’t sing.” Dickinson says shows like Charlie's Angels owe her Police Woman’s Sergeant Pepper Anderson a debt of gratitude: “You can’t do a subtle spoof without a serious back ground.” After she played a serious role recently with Lee Marvin in Death Hunt, her next film definitely qualifies as a spoof— Charlie Chan will come out of retirement after 19 years, played by Peter Ustinov opposite Angie as the Dragon Queen. “I put a curse on Charlie Chan when he sends me to prison for someone’s murder,” Angie says, with the tinge of a cop in her voice. “I don’t take it lightly.”

He narrated Bob Dylan’s ill-fated cinematic opus Rinaldo and Clara, Joni Mitchell reportedly named her album Blue after him, Neil Young featured him in his film Human Highway, and when Leonard Cohen needed an alter ego to play himself in Montreal’s Centaur Theatre’s current production, The Leonard Cohen Show, he chose Los Angeles performer David Blue. Blue first met Cohen in 1968, “chasing women together in New York City.” His biggest problems in playing Cohen? He had to dye his brown locks black, “learn to say ‘out’ like a Canadian” and deal with the unexpected dearth of Montreal ladies in his life. “Playing Leonard Cohen,” he says, “you’d think I’d find more women here.” During the show he sings songs of the adult Cohen from a tree house and comments on scenes from The Favorite Game, enacted by London, Ontario’s Michael Caruana playing the young Cohen. Blue’s praise for his benefactor is boundless: “He is a very loving, incredibly compassionate and generous man ... besides, he got me a job.”

The porn classic Deep Throat attracted a crowd of 75 women to a downtown New York screening recently—ironically, they were there defending the star of the flick with antiporn slogans: “Deep Six Deep Throat” and “Lovelace was a Slave Name.” Linda Lovelace, now Mrs. Larry Marchiano, sat a few blocks away, not at the rally because she is expecting her second child. She was joined by Valerie Harper (Rhoda) and Susan Brownmiller (Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape) at a press conference held by Women Against Pornography. Lovelace and Harper enjoyed instant rapport: “She was very nice,” says Lovelace. “Her credibility took it from being a radical women’s movement event to being a very human event. She told me she was proud of my courage and strength.” Harper was referring to the astounding tale Lovelace tells in her book Ordeal of years of brutalization by her first husband. Looking back at the “fictitious character” who was Linda Lovelace, Marchiano reflects with a swallow: “When porno comes knocking at your door, it doesn’t knock gently. It knocks the door down.”

It was the kind of gathering anyone bad with names dreams about. For his season closer, CBC talk-meister Bob McLean chose an all-McLean lineup including a studio audience of 160 namesakes plucked from the Toronto-telephone directory. Guests on The Boh McLean McLean Special, to be aired June 27, included the head of the Clan McLean Association in Canada, Prince Edward Island Premier Angus MacLean, singing group Edward, Harding and McLean, taped interviews with Shirley MacLaine and war hero Sir Fitzroy MacLean, and a reporter from Maclean's. After the taping, the show’s tartaned and kilted host munched on that grand old Scottish food called pizza, drank wine with the clansmen and swapped family trees.

"I’ve always felt myself to be more operative than decorative,” says John Black Aird, 57, who will become Ontario’s 23rd lieutenant-governor next September. “Maybe my wife will make up for that,” adds the affable millionaire whose qualifications for the job include affiliations with the boards of a dozen influential Canadian firms, fundraising for the Liberal party, a10-year tenure in the Senate and a “lifetime in business,” including the law firm of Aird & Berlis. He announced that he will be severing all his powerful connections except for the chancellorship of Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont. Aird has showered incumbent Lieutenant-Governor Pauline McGibbon with praise, and says: “She’s a tough act to follow.”

You meet the strangest people in French post offices. Recently, Penny Marshall (Láveme & Shirley) and Art Garfunkel (formerly of Simon and . . .) got embroiled in French bureaucracy while they frantically tried to rid themselves of eight boxes of old clothes in Aix-en-Provence. The pair had been riding European rails and'roads since they met in London at the opening of The Empire Strikes Back in May. “I have no idea how long we’ve been on the road,” said the travel-weary Marshall after the 700-kilometre motorcycle ride from Paris to Aix. Three hours and 32 forms-in-triplicate later, Garfunkel’s limited French and patience were strained to the limit. As he and Marshall sped off toward the, south coast of France to visit with Eric Idle, who is hard at work on another Monty Python movie, Garfunkel was heard to mutter, “I’d hate to think how long it takes to fill in a French postcard.”

It has all the poténtial of another 1938 War of the Worlds broadcast fiasco— so an album called No Questions isn’t being released in the United Kingdom because it includes an actual voice clip from Britain’s modern-day Jack the Ripper, who has claimed the lives of 12 women to date. The singer and composer of the song is Saskatchewan-born Brian Plummer, 30, a former Toronto radio technician. While working for the CBC, Plummer taped a BBC communiqué sent by the Ripper to Scotland Yardone of several in which the killer has talked with Scotland Yard detective George Oldfield, challenging the police to find him before he strikes again. Plummer’s album, including the song Jacky Boy, is getting airplay in Canada. “I wanted to write a song that would stick in people’s heads. Since the album is about craziness, the Ripper’s tale seemed a natural,” explains 'Plummer, adding nervously, “I just hope Jack doesn’t come around looking for his share of the royalties.”

Edited by Maureen Piercy