• U.S.

People: Aug. 17, 1998

5 minute read
Belinda Luscombe

THE CATCH IS IN THE WRITING

Reclusive lovers of talented youngsters, beware: one day they may get a publishing deal. JOYCE MAYNARD, who lived with J.D. SALINGER for nine months when she was 18 and he 53, has written about it. Surprise, surprise–it turns out that the J.D. she knew back in 1974 was odd and not very congenial. In excerpts from At Home in the World in September’s Vanity Fair, we learn that Salinger was a picky eater who didn’t like his food cooked at more than 150[degrees]F, who made himself throw up after he ate junk food and encouraged Maynard to do likewise. He wore a blue jumpsuit every day to write and meditate. And he enjoyed American sitcoms like The Andy Griffith Show. “The worse the television–the more American–the more I love it,” he told Maynard. If he’s really lucky, she already has a TV deal.

THE REALITY HOUR

In basketball, 44 is a remarkable score for one player. In TV, however, 44 shows isn’t so hot. MAGIC JOHNSON, whose famous friends and sweet nature couldn’t make up for his dread of the camera, has been axed after nine weeks. He was good about it but still not funny. “You know what they say, it’s not over until the fat lady sings,” he said on Thursday night’s show. “Well, she’s gonna have to sing tonight…” With that, a woman began to sing. Never mind, Magic, there’s always UPN.

THAT YOU, JACRILYN?

In 1981, when MARILYN MONROE’s favorite photographer, Bert Stern, moved to a new apartment, a manila envelope of color transparencies of his last photographic session with her disappeared; he claims they were stolen. “I sat down on the bed and practically cried,” he says. “It was nearly all the photos for a book I was working on.” He called the police and the press and put up a reward, and he got a packet with most of them from a construction worker who said he’d found them. Now, 18 years later, the rest have shown up. A New York collectibles dealer, Al Schrimm, says they were in a box he bought at a flea market. He has supplied some to a few publications (including the New York Post, inset) in hopes of selling more. He has had many offers, largely on the basis that Schrimm and others think Marilyn was trying to spoof Jackie Kennedy. But Kenneth Battelle, the hairdresser on the shoot, which was for Vogue, says she wasn’t. “I would have refused to do that,” he says. The controversy’s not over. Stern says Schrimm can’t sell the photos. Schrimm says Stern didn’t shoot the ones he has. Lawyers, please.

FEUD OF THE WEEK

COURTNEY “GIMME” LOVE AGE: 33 OCCUPATION: Singer, glamorized grungess BEST PUNCH: Said it was “silly and sexist” that Billy Corgan was being given so much credit for his work on her band Hole’s latest album, Celebrity Skin.

BILLY “BALDY” CORGAN AGE: 31 OCCUPATION: A Smashing Pumpkin BEST PUNCH: Said Love had turned the situation into an ugly incident because “she’s embarrassed that she needed someone to help her.”

THE WINNER Love, because her return to bad-girl land is long overdue

ODD BOD SQUAD

GIOVANNI RIBISI, right, has been in good movies, like Saving Private Ryan, and bad movies, like The Postman. He’s had more than a few flings with TV. (Who could forget the immortal My Two Dads?) But The Mod Squad is his first experience with a movie made from a TV show. His approach? Take it all very seriously. “Even if I do a porno movie, I want it to be profound,” he says. But he and co-stars CLAIRE DANES and OMAR EPPS, left, have their work cut out for them if they want profundity from a remake of The Mod Squad, one of the most delightfully cheesy shows ever to grace our blinking blue screens. How serious can one be with that happenin’ ’70s wardrobe? “It became a lot more serious since I was involved,” insists Ribisi. Then he confides he’s doing the phone interview in a kung fu outfit. Solid.

WITH A SPLASH

At the Atlanta Olympic Games, Irish swimmer MICHELLE SMITH DE BRUIN won three gold medals and became a national hero, brushing aside poolside murmurs that her sudden triumph at the advanced age of 26 might be drug aided. But last week, citing a surprise urine test, the international governing organization for swimmers, FINA, banned De Bruin for four years, effectively ending her career. The tests found no steroids but did detect “unequivocal signs of adulteration” that would mask the drugs, by means of an after-the-fact addition of alcohol, probably whisky. De Bruin, promising “I’m not going to crawl under a stone,” said she would sue FINA and appeal. Many doubt she will prevail. Says five-time U.S. Olympic coach Mark Schubert: “Experienced people know the telltale signs of doing illegal things to get fast.”

JONBENET JUMBLE

Although long suspected, the wild dysfunctionality of the JonBenet Ramsey investigation was documented last Thursday when lead detective STEVE THOMAS resigned. Writing that the case was “crippled” by a “compromised” district attorney’s office, he called for a special prosecutor. The implication was that the D.A. favored Ramsey’s parents’ lawyer, a prominent state Democrat. The prosecution called Thomas’ letter “outrageous.” JonBenet would have been eight last Saturday.

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