Connecticut's exclusive Indian Harbor Yacht Club is tough to get into, but that's only the half of it, as member Walter Cronkite lately discovered. Deciding to sail out of another mooring upcoast, Cronkite dispatched a letter of resignation. Too late for this year, came the reply. And not only membership fees, but also minimum dining charges still were due. "It's a great place," cracked Cronkite, "but it's harder to resign from than the Mafia."
"The original Rich Man, Poor Man was not only written by a great novelist but was five years in preparation," says Peter Strauss, who changed his own bracket from the latter to the former by playing Rudy Jordache in the ABC serialization of the work by Irwin Shaw. On the other hand, Strauss adds, "Book II was put together in about three months." And Book III would have been "more of the same, only even more absurd." Book III? Wait a minute! Didn't Rudy get killed in the last episode of TV's Book II? Well, the denouement was obfuscating. Though he's "grateful" to Rich Man, Strauss has found, "If the people don't want you to die, you don't die on TV." Except that Peter decided to die this time. Heretofore he's had a price, but he won't return for a third season, even for the $1.5 million he likely would have gotten.
Jockey phenom Steve Cauthen was laying down tracks recently for a new record—only this time the tracks weren't on turf and the record was vinyl. Shortly before a chilling spill at Belmont Park sidelined the 95-pound 17-year-old (probably for six weeks), he broke his showbiz maiden by recording an album of specially written C&W material which will be released this month as And Steve Cauthen Sings Too. His producers, Steve Metz and Alan Rosoff (who doubles as a horse breeder), suggest, perhaps wishfully, that he sounds like a cross between Gilbert O'Sullivan and Crosby, Stills & Nash. Not that their label has much experience with such thoroughbreds. MetzRosoff call the company Bareback Records.
Though every lady he's approached—including the likes of Farrah Fawcett-Majors, Susan Ford and Barbara Walters—has ignored his $1 million offer for a nude spread in Hustler magazine, for a while it seemed as if the bluff of publicity-mongering porn merchant Larry Flynt had been called. Press reports had it that rocker sexpot Linda Ronstadt thought the price was about right but wanted to check out whether Playboy or Penthouse might up the ante. Truth is, the story was yet another PR plant. Ronstadt had crumpled Flynt's letter, let fly some unprintable blue notes and stuffed the proposition in the trash. "It's things like this," she fumed, "that make me forget I'm an ultraliberal."
Why Not the Second-Best?
To hear George McGovern tell it, Jimmy Carter's political future once was in his hands—1,000 percent. During the 1972 Miami convention that nominated him, McGovern reminisced to reporters recently, Carter aides twice tried to pitch the then-Georgia governor as his running mate. "I simply told them that if I wanted a Southern governor, Reubin Askew of Florida was my man," was McGovern's put-down. "But you missed a great opportunity, senator," one of the newsmen responded. "On your ticket, you could have finished off Carter's political career right then and there."
•What Jon Peters once was to women in Beverly Hills, Jim Markham has become to men. Only more so. The town's toniest tonsorial artist has an unlisted phone, and the only way to get an appointment is by referral from his established clientele—the likes of Jim Garner, Paul Anka, Paul Newman. Even William Holden was shaved from the list for dousing a new coif with Vitalis. Markham's price: $55 a clip.
•Earl (Police Woman) Holliman, playing "the director" at a Santa Monica benefit parody of A Chorus Line, demanded the name of Eurasian actress Neile Adams McQueen, then queried brusquely whether she was Mrs. Steve McQueen. "Once," replied the actor's former wife. "Oh, The Great Escape," he quipped. "No," Neile shot back, citing the film in which her ex met Ali MacGraw, "The Getaway."