OPENING NOTES

Clyde Wells registers with his fans, Kitty Kelley takes on Nancy Reagan, and Jacques Parizeau gets a new look

April 15 1991

OPENING NOTES

Clyde Wells registers with his fans, Kitty Kelley takes on Nancy Reagan, and Jacques Parizeau gets a new look

April 15 1991

OPENING NOTES

Clyde Wells registers with his fans, Kitty Kelley takes on Nancy Reagan, and Jacques Parizeau gets a new look

A PLUG FOR A POLITICIAN

As last summer's Meech Lake failure fades into the annals of history, New-foundland Premier Clyde Wells continues to attract supporters from across the country—and from some unusual sources. Recently, the owner of a Shoppers Drug Mart outlet in Ottawa programmed his cash registers to print the message "Clyde Wells for PM" on all sales slips. The store owner, Elmars Sebrins, was reluctant to discuss the incident, but he insisted that his decision was not politically motivated. Still, a store employee, who asked not to be identified, said that her boss admires Wells, who came to national promi-

nence with his steadfast opposition to the Meech Lake accord. Shoppers vicepresident of public affairs Arthur konviser told Maclean's that executives at the company's Toronto head office asked Sebrins to remove the message after someone from Finance Minister Michael Wilson's office called to complain. Said konviser: "The store owner was reacting to the implementation of the GST and did not intend to offend or compliment anyone." He added: "This is not company policy, and we do not get involved with politics." Wells's public ^ relations director, Judy Foote, said that i the premier is aware of the incident, 9 but that he has no interest in entering I federal politics. Said Foote: "He doesn't g want to add fuel to the fire by discuss| ing the speculation that he may run for “ prime minister." But now he knows where to get the prescription filled.

The writer and the odd couple

In Tinseltown, behind-thescenes battles are frequently just as raucous as the action on the big screen. A case in point: The Marrying Man, the new, $26-million comedy starring Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin. Veteran playwright and screenwriter Neü Simon says that working on the project was an “unhappy” experience—caused largely by the onset behavior of the two Hollywood stars. Said Simon: “They just took over. They demanded rewrites, cuts, new dressing rooms, times they could come in.” And he added: “They didn’t want to hear what I had to say.” Matters got even worse when Basinger and Baldwin began a torrid affair soon after the filming began last May. At times, they even usurped novice director Jerry Rees’s authority by issuing their own instructions to the crew. Simon, who has written 23 screenplays since the

mid-1960s, abandoned the project in disgust just two weeks after production started. Now, the movie, which advertisements had billed as Neil Simon’s The Marrying Man, no longer bears his name. Simon’s screenwriting credit remains.

COURSE

CANCELLED

Provincially funded Durham College of Oshawa, Ont, has drawn criticism from Premier Bob Rae, who called its Buffalo Shopping” course “bizarre.” The noncredit course was actually a weekend shopping trip to the American border city’s stores and discoimt malls. But now, negative publicity appears to have killed it. According to Durham College’s Cheryl Bird, students will no longer be able to shop until they drop. Earlier, she had said that because of the recession, the course was merely under “review.” Another boom that went bust.

A WINDOW DRESSING

As Quebecers prepare for a possible referendum that will determine their future, Parti Québécois Leader Jacques Parizeau is making himself over in preparation for leading the separatist campaign. During his political career, the 60-year-old former economics professor has shunned the dictates of fashion. Indeed, Parizeau is known for his

conservative three-piece suits and his slicked-back hair. But last week, on a trip to Washington to persuade U.S. opinion leaders that they could work with an independent Quebec, Parizeau had a stylish new haircut and he wore a well-tailored suit. Still, René Blouin, assistant director of the leader’s office, said that Parizeau has not deliberately changed his image. But Blouin added that he has received some comments about the new look. Declared Blouin: “Yes, for quite a while he kept wearing the same kind of suit and now he’s wearing a new kind of suit, but there’s nothing so odd about that.” He added: “Everyone has the right to decide how they will style their hair, and he just decided to change the way he did his. There’s nothing incredible about that.” Times change.

Baby business is booming

The so-called mother of all battles may produce some new mothers. Officials at pharmaceutical giant Warner-Lambert are planning a radio ad campaign for home pregnancy tests, especially in areas that have military bases, in anticipation of a mini baby boom following the return of Gulf War troops. Thomas McMillian, a product manager in the company's New Jersey head office, says that while the ads do not mention the war, they will include a “welcome home'' message. Declared McMillian: “With the war ending, we feel there's a mini-boom coming. "

First family

Biographer Kitty Kelley has written sensational, noholds-barred biographies of Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor and Jacqueline Onassis. Now, in the anxiously awaited Nancy Reagan:

The Unauthorized Biography, which is being published this week, she turns her attention to the former first lady. The 603-page book is filled with titillating revelations about both Reagans. According to Kelley, former president Ronald Reagan married Nancy in 1952 only because she was pregnant. In fact, Kelley claims, he was in love with actress Christine Larson at the time. When Nancy gave birth to their first child, Patti, Kelley writes, “Reagan was not with her in the hospital because he was with Christine Larson. In tears, he told her [Christine] that he felt his life was ruined.” And Kelley reports that Nancy physically abused Patti when she was a child. An unnamed source recalls: “Her mother just smashed her face in with a hairbrush because she hadn’t done her homework or cleaned her room.” But Nancy was fiercely protective of her husband. Kelley writes that she had a direct hand in the firing of at least 22 people connected with the White House. One casualty, writes Kelley, was U.S. ambassador to Vienna Helene von Damm, “for too much cleavage and too many husbands.” Clearly, “Dragon Lady” is a well-earned nickname.

A RECIPE FOR DISASTER

London, Ont., publisher David Lambert says that the hashish-laced brownies recipe in the latest edition of his London Restaurants and Bars guide is a joke. But it is no laughing matter to the RCMP, who have charged him with illicitly promoting drug use under a section of the Narcotics Control Act. The offending recipe, which calls for either 10 g of hash or one ounce of marijuana, promises to feed "both mind and body in a delightful way that will leave you longing for more." Said Lambert: "I don't even cook. It's not like people were supposed to try it." He added that the charges have upset members of his family. "People come up to my mother in church," he said, "and ask if I've gone to jail yet." Old highs and new lows.

NEUTRALITY

/'"'eorge Holliday, the man vJTwho videotaped last month’s brutal beating by Los Angeles police of a black man, has hired a publicist and a lawyer to deal with television and movie offers to buy his story. Last week, his story and elevation to star status took a bizarre twist. The 31-year-old, Torontoborn plumbing-store manager

was the guest of honor at a luncheon given by a group called Citizens in Support of the Chief of Police. Holliday, who says that he neither supports nor opposes the group, accepted an award for outstanding community service—presented by ^ Daryl Gates himself, g The L.A. police chief a was suspended last Ç week by the police ^commission, al| though the city - council later voted against that move. Said Holliday: “The - man has a lot of pressure on him due to my actions. I feel for the man—he’s in a very stressful position.”