• U.S.

People: Jan. 13, 1986

4 minute read
Guy D. Garcia

Not many comedians can get the President of the United States to warm up the audience. On the other hand, not many comedians are senior to Ronald Reagan. Besides, says George Burns, “we fellows in show biz have to stick together.” Reagan’s 90-second videotaped routine will kick off a one-hour CBS special titled Kraft Salutes George Burns’ 90th Birthday, to be broadcast next week. Did the nonagenarian jokester have any pointers for the Great Communicator? Explains Burns: “I don’t tell him what to do, and he doesn’t tell me how to sing the Red Rose Rag.” Also doing their schtik are Milton Berle, Bill Cosby, Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Walter Matthau and Billy Crystal. Burns will sing a song or two, puff his omnipresent cigar, and maybe even dance. But do not expect him to wax nostalgic. He has just signed a five-year contract with Caesars Palace and has booked the London Palladium for Jan. 20. 1996, his 100th birthday. “I’ve lived a very exciting life,” cracks Burns. “I expect the second half to be just as exciting.”

On questions about sex, she has always seemed impossible to embarrass. But last week Dr. Ruth Westheimer, 56, was red-faced about one of her own answers. In First Love: A Young People’s Guide to Sexual Information, the country’s most famous sex therapist missed an error that would make a publisher blush. The book, in the second paragraph on page 195, informed her teenage audience that it is “safe” to have sex the week before and the week during ovulation. The mistake, undetected until a New Jersey librarian pointed it out, forced Warner Books to recall all 115,000 copies issued since October. Warner will put out a new, corrected edition this month, with a red cover. “I had more than one sleepless night about it,” says the New York City therapist about the misguiding misprint of “unsafe.” “I’m certainly not happy, but I’m not going to waste time blaming somebody.” In other words, it is better to have had good sex and lost than never to have had good sex at all.

She was just a wide-eyed ten-year-old Maine schoolgirl when she sent a letter in 1982 to then Soviet Leader Yuri Andropov, asking that the superpowers work toward a more peaceful world. After Andropov responded by inviting her to visit the Soviet Union, Samantha Smith became America’s youngest goodwill ambassador. Even before her tragic death in a plane crash last August, the Soviet press had portrayed Smith as a symbol of peace-loving American people at odds with the policies of their Government. In the U.S.S.R., a diamond, a flower, a street, a poem and a book have already been named in her honor. Now comes a Samantha Smith stamp, worth 5 kopecks, or about 7.5¢. The wave of official adoration sweeping the Soviet Union shows no sign of abating. Schoolchildren in Tashkent have formed an international friendship club and set up a museum in her memory, and students from more than 100 Soviet schools competed for the chance to have their school renamed Samantha Smith.

Viscount Althorp, brother of the Princess of Wales, says, “She’s got a big, fat bottom.” Her grandmother put on earplugs when she sang. Hardly the way to treat a lady. Unless she happens to be Lady (Helen) Teresa Margaret Manners, 23, daughter of Charles John Robert Manners, the tenth Duke of Rutland, and lead singer of the British aristo-rock band, the Business Connection. Despite the group’s white-collar name, Lady Teresa’s connections are strictly blue blood. Her father owns Belvoir Castle, one of Britain’s most imposing homes; her 15-piece band includes the Marquess of Worcester on vocals and the 19th Duke of Somerset on drums. A horsewoman and London-educated artist, Lady Teresa found her latest calling after she was invited to sing backup vocals for the one-year-old band, which counts Rolling Stone Mick Jagger and Diana among its fans. True to her class, Lady Teresa remains unmoved by critics (“Not always in tune,” said the Daily Mail). “I don’t have to rely on my looks,” she sniffs. “I rely on character.” –By Guy D. Garcia

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