The Last Word
Legend says they feuded and he brooded, but CBS newsman Harry Reasoner has kind, even gallant words for his former ABC co-anchor Barbara Walters. "We weren't close friends, but the intense dislike you read about really wasn't there," said Reasoner, speaking in Denver. As a woman reporter, he went on, Barbara is caught in an image trap. "If Mike Wallace gets tough in an interview, he's an aggressive reporter," shrugged Harry. "If Barbara does the same thing, she's bitchy."

Too Late Rich
Sean Connery, 49, grew up tough and poor in Edinburgh. He toiled in his native city as a milkman's helper and a coffin polisher, but since stardom struck nearly 25 years ago he has worked all over the world. As a man in motion, he's reached some conclusions about celebrity and the arts. While performers in England are treated as everyday folk, he asserts, "The Italians and French consider actors sort of hookers." And in the U.S. he says, "There are many perks for a personality—free cars and gifts—at a stage when you need them the least."

Thanks for Coming
Hunter Thompson's peculiar brand of expression may work in gonzo journalism, but not out on the lecture circuit. At California's College of Marin, Thompson showed up 40 minutes late in a baseball cap and sneakers, accompanied by his lawyer. Instead of giving a speech he answered questions. His most lucid answer concerned his chronic appearances (as Uncle Duke) in Garry Trudeau's comic strip Doonesbury; "I wonder who else in the history of this country has had to be a comic-strip character and try to work at the same time," he groused. (One answer to that would be practically every currently active politician.) "I've never met Trudeau, but if I ever do I'm going to set him on fire." Thompson charged a $3,000 fee for his Marin appearance, and all the next week indignant members of the audience were demanding their $4 admission back. Public Events Director Sydney Goldstein refused, on the basis of style-for-hire. "He was totally in character," she asserted, "except that he showed up."

Bad Old Days
Now that he's off cocaine, country singer Hoyt Axton {Delia and the Dealer) can talk bluntly about the age-old affinity between musicians and the white powder. "I've seen entire recording sessions grind to a halt while the musicians get on the phone trying to score some coke," he recalls. "I've walked into a producer's office and he's got a big pile of coke on his desk, and there's some guy named 'the Hawk' with a gun in his belt. On the street outside is a car with four guys with guns. That's the pusher's backup unit while he's making his delivery. It's kind of like a grade B detective movie. Just crazy, silly games."


•British actress Jenny (Logan's Run) Agutter says she's finally discovered how to tell what season it is in Southern California. "You drive down Sunset Boulevard until you find a billboard with a Marlboro cigarette ad," explains Jenny. "If it's a snow scene, you know it's winter."

•Actor Steve Guttenberg, who between movies is a dental student at UCLA, finds himself more popular with classmates now that he's making Can't Stop the Music with Valerie Perrine. "The guys all show up on the set the days Valerie is doing one of her musical numbers," says Guttenberg. "They like her teeth."

•Bookworm Amy Carter was a logical choice to play hostess at a White House party to kick off Reading Is Fun Week, and emcee John Chancellor announced his support of her habit of reading through formal dinners and other official events. "Through the years," said the newsman, 52, "there have been many White House functions to which I wish I had the good sense to bring a book."