• U.S.

People: Jul. 29, 1996

3 minute read
Belinda Luscombe

WHAT I DID THIS SUMMER

Everybody needs a break occasionally, even the infallible. So when POPE JOHN PAUL II wants to unwind, he helicopters to Italy’s Dolomite mountains and kicks back in a chalet near Lorenzago di Cadore. His shaky health has curtailed his once half-day walks, but he still manages to get around. Since a Pontiff’s work is never done, he preached to the local flock last week, enjoining them to be inspired by the mountains “to establish a more respectful rapport with nature.” In a line that the local tourist bureau may want to use, John Paul described the area as “the right place to relax.”

WHY, IT HATH HIT WRIT ALL OVER IT

Acknowledged geniuses are often known to be crusty, but Arthur Miller is almost, well, gushy when describing the new movie version of The Crucible, due out in November. It’s not surprising he likes it so much, since he wrote the screenplay and his son produced the film. “It was a lot of fun,” says Miller. “There were one or two things I’ve wanted to change about the play, and I could do that.” One of those was completing the story of Abigail, played by WINONA RYDER. “I think she’s a marvelous performer,” enthuses Miller. “She’s up to the role, and yet she looks like a teenager. She’s as good as it gets.” Ryder, who is once again co-starring with her Age of Innocence partner, Daniel Day-Lewis, will undoubtedly be dispensing with the bodice-and-bonnet look for her next project, the fourth installment of the Alien series with Sigourney Weaver.

DOWNEY GETS IN DEEPER

ROBERT DOWNEY JR., it can be safely said, has never been considered the most wholesome of actors. But even seasoned Downey watchers were alarmed when he was found, mere hours after being charged with drug possession, asleep in a stranger’s house four blocks from his home. The homeowner, who discovered him when she put her children to bed, called the police, and Downey spent the night in a hospital-jail ward. He left the next day wearing slippers and a hat fashioned from a T shirt. By week’s end, damage control was in full swing: Downey was in rehab and had a brand new publicist, and his lawyer issued a statement: “Mr. Downey has a problem. He’s taking care of it.”

SEEN & HEARD

Garry Shandling and Tracey Ullman have both been nominated for Emmys in the writer, producer and performer categories this year. But she has five Emmys already, while he, despite 19 previous nominations, has none. “I think we need to do more medical stories,” says Shandling, referring to the number of nominations garnered by ER (17) and Chicago Hope (15).

Nelson Mandela, fresh from an adulation-filled trip to London, got royal treatment of a different order when Michael Jackson showed up at his 78th birthday party. Oddly, Jackson didn’t join in during the singing of Happy Birthday. No loss for Mandela, who likes to dance (he does a mean toyi-toyi) but whose taste leans more toward ’50s township music than Bad.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com