Looking to add some Hollywood glitter to its recent all-star game festivities in Boston, the National Hockey League staged a celebrity shinny match featuring, among others,
B.C.-bred actors Michael J. Fox of Back to the Future fame and Jason Priestley of TV’s Beverly Hills 90210. When the NHL recruited Friends
star Matthew Perry from Ottawa, however, it got more than it bargained for. Perry, 26, was joined in Boston by onetime Pretty Woman, Julia Roberts, a guest star on a Friends special filmed earlier this year for broadcast after the
NFL Super Bowl. Roberts, 28, avoided public scrutiny during the celebrity hockey game, and missed seeing Perry score a goal. But she was much in evidence when she joined him in his seats during the first period of the all-star game. From their public demeanor, it was clear that Perry and Roberts, separated since last March from country singer Lyle
Lovett, were more than just friends. “They were all over each other, right there in their seats,” said an NHL official. “It was amazing.” The couple retreated to a private box for the remainder of the game.
AN UNTOLD TALE OF ROMANCE
As one rumors sort of or romances another of swirled around Buckingham Palace in recent years, affecting most of its royal residents, Queen Eliz-
abeth ll has appeared above the fray, doggedly carrying on despite the reported peccadillos of
her husband and children. Last week, however, the Queen herself was at the cen-
tre of the rumor mill. A retired Scottish clergyman, Douglas Lister, 75, told newspapers that his old friend, Earl Spencer, the late father of Diana, Princess of Wales, had a romantic fling with Elizabeth in 1947, when she was a 20-year-old princess and not yet married. But the Royal Family ended their secret love affair, Lister said, because it did not deem Spencer a suitable mate. Nine months later, she married Philip. Lister said he was breaking his silence about the liaison because he wanted it known that not just Diana, who is at odds with the palace over the terms of her divorce from Prince Charles, but her father as well, who died in 1992, had his life adversely affected by demands of the Crown. There was no comment from the palace.
Elsewhere on the royals beat, a duchess was in distress. Bills mounting, creditors complaining, reporters hounding, she had left Britain for the United States. Then in New
York City, an intrepid little helicopter named Budgie flew to her aid. The Duchess of York, 36, better known as Fergie, the estranged wife of Prince Andrew, signed a deal
for an undisclosed number of millions of dollars, selling rights to market the Budgie character that she created
for a successful series of books in Britain. The books
and spinoff ventures ranging from fridge magnets to a television
series have already earned Fergie millions in Britain—but not enough to keep her out of the red. Her lavish lifestyle has left
her facing debts reportedly as high as $6.25 million, and the Queen has made it clear that there is to be no aid forthcoming from the palace. The U.S. deal, brokered by reclusive New Jersey philanthropist Raymond Chambers, gives rights to the Budgie character to a youth-assistance program that he created, called ready—for Rigorous Educational Assistance for Deserving Youth. One British newspaper also reported that Fergie was considering a $1.4-million proposal from CBS to
host a talk show.
Budgie first appeared in a book in 1989 and, although critics point out that the character closely resembles another heroic little helicopter, named Hector, that was popular in Britain in the Sixties, Fergie’s creation has gone from success to success. And as in his adventures, Budgie came to the rescue last weekjust in the nick of time.
STIRRING UP A SYMPHONIC STORM
When claimed Seiji conductor Ozawa, the of the acBoston Symphony Orchestra, returned last week from a skiing holiday in Japan, he discovered that he had missed the Great Blizzard of ’96 that paralyzed most of the U.S. northeast. But other storms will be on his mind as the orchestra kicks off its eight-city North American tour with its only Canadian stop in Toronto on Feb. 6. Ozawa, 60, who was musical director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra from 1965 to 1969, will conduct An Alpine Symphony by Richard Strauss. The rarely performed 1915 tone poem, in which the composer describes a day in the stormy Swiss Alps he viewed from his studio in Garmisch, is one of the loudest orchestral works ever composed. To perform it, Ozawa is travelling with a “maximum orchestra” of 120 musicians, complete with wind machine, pipe organ and extra brass. Says Ozawa: “Strauss wanted to ‘paint’ the mountain and a real storm.” Music to bring the winter indoors.
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