OPENING NOTES

Margaret Kemper visits an old friend, Amy Madigan endures a cattle call, and John Turner gets pain relief

January 23 1989

OPENING NOTES

Margaret Kemper visits an old friend, Amy Madigan endures a cattle call, and John Turner gets pain relief

January 23 1989

OPENING NOTES

Margaret Kemper visits an old friend, Amy Madigan endures a cattle call, and John Turner gets pain relief

PRESIDENTIAL CYCLES

Nancy Reagan redecorated the White House in 1981 and, as a result, Barbara Bush has said that there is no need for her to refurbish the presidential residence. Instead, the incoming First Lady had a much more homey project in mind as her predecessor guided her through Bush's new home last week: laundry.

During her husband George's eight-year stint as U.S. vicepresident, Bush said that she kept the washing machine and dryer in the basement of their residence—and regarded trips up and down the stairs to do laundry as one way of getting regular exercise. Still, Bush added that she wanted to continue washing and drying the clothes of her 10 grandchildren when they visited her—without tourists who were visiting the public areas of the building encountering the First Lady carrying a load of dirty washing. Spokesman Elaine Crispen said that Reagan had occasionally done laundry herself in a washer and dryer in the third-floor private quarters. Declared Crispen: "If Mrs. Bush wanted to throw in a load, she could."

A name for the Conservatives

As tour director for Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, Toronto lawyer John Tory played a key role in engineering a Progressive Conservative victory during the 1988 federal election campaign. And while Mulroney’s longtime friend resumed his law practice after the Nov. 21 election, many influential Conservatives want him to make a swift return to the political arena—as a candidate for the leadership of Ontario’s once-powerful provincial party.

According to one supporter, such party heavyweights as former Ontario premier William Davis, Senator Norman Atkins and former Ontario PC campaign secretary Hugh Segal want Tory to succeed interim leader Andrew Brandt at a party convention, which will likely be

held next year. Still, Tory declined to say last week if he will try to lead a political organization that already bears his name.

RUMORS AND APPEARANCES

During the presidential election campaign, George Bush denied that he had engaged in a lengthy affair with 56year-old Jennifer Fitzgerald, a veteran staff aide. Indeed, the unfounded speculation even caused a brief drop in the Dow Jones industrial average last October. Bush has again shown his contempt for that whisper campaign by making Fitzgerald the administration’s deputy chief of protocol. Now, it is Fitzgerald who will have to worry about appearances: her job is to ensure that the visits of foreign leaders to Washington run smoothly.

Low profile in a high office

Dan Quayle is scheduled to become U.S. vice-president this week, but the former Indiana senator has made few public appearances since the Republican victory last November. As a result, there is widespread speculation in Washington that presidentelect George Bush has muzzled the stumble-prone Quayle. By contrast, Bush was highly visible just before he became vice-president in 1981. But Quayle spokesmen say that their boss is busy studying his new, largely ceremonial position—not lying low in order to improve his image. Lesson 1: out of sight, out of mind.

MEETING THE MAN IN HAVANA

Toronto-based Stornoway Productions, the makers of a forthcoming documentary on Cuba, devised a novel way to gain access to President Fidel Castro during an eight-day visit to Havana in December, 1987: they hired Margaret Kemper, the ex-wife of Pierre Trudeau, to interview him. Richard Nielsen, the producer of The Shattered Dream, a one-hour film that will air on U.S. public broadcasting stations in March, said that they took the action because Kemper had achieved a warm rapport with Castro

during a state visit to Cuba in 1976. The Cuban leader granted Kemper an interview—but at a time when he knew that the team’s two camera crews were unavailable. Still, when Kemper complained at an offcamera interview that mechanical problems had delayed the crew’s departure aboard a Cubana flight from Toronto, an embarrassed Castro guaranteed a punctual return. Indeed, passengers on the return flight had to be at the airport one hour earlier than scheduled— and the plane took off precisely on time.

FOREIGN GARBAGE ON THE CABINET TABLE

The closure of a municipal incinerator in Toronto last July created a nagging new problem for the federal cabinet: how to dispose of garbage at Pearson International Airport. Under federal law, refuse from international flights has to be burned to guard against the spread of hoof-and-mouth disease. But other Ontario incinerators refused to take the garbage. Indeed, almost 2,000 tons of garbage had collected at the airport before a Niagara Falls, N.Y.-based incinerator—105 km away by highway—accepted the waste last October. Now, federal officials are evidently hoping an experimental system that will sterilize the waste at the airport and compress it into bricks for landfill will provide a permanent solution to a jet-age garbage problem.

Lining up for stardom

For many actors, one of the hallmarks of success is no longer having to attend casting sessions that are crowded with rivals. Still, several leading Hollywood actresses had to endure an aptly named cattle call audition last winter when they tried out for two juicy roles in the recently released movie The Accidental Tourist. Indeed, when Amy Madigan arrived at director Lawrence Kasdan’s office, she joined a crowd of such established actresses as Mary Steenburgen, Laura Dem, Kate Capshaw, Victoria Tennant and JoBeth Williams. According to Madigan’s personal manager, Alan Somers, his client took the unexpected encounter with good grace. Declared Somers: “It is a buyers’ market except for a few stars—especially in the women’s area.” But that is cold comfort: the roles went to Kathleen Turner and Geena Davis, two actresses who did not attend that cattle call.

As John Turner underwent a successful operation to relieve back pain in Toronto last week, the exodus from the

Office turnover

opposition leader’s office continued in Ottawa. In the latest personnel change since the Nov. 21 federal election, press secretary Jane McDowell becomes interim director of communications—replacing Ray Heard, who is seeking a new job. Turner himself plans to recuperate in Jamaica early next month before returning to a revamped staff roster on Feb. 22.