The critics, the management and the audience all went wild when Michael Jackson delivered a surprise song-and-dance number after a Grand Master Flash rap concert in Manhattan last month. Only thing is, a slew of celebs such as Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye would swear they spent that same evening with Michael in Pasadena feting the 25th anniversary of Motown Records. Well, you guessed it. A look-alike named Laine Lassiter fooled them all back in the Big Apple when his friend the Grand Master invited him onstage to perform a Jacksonesque dance number while mouthing the words to several of Michael's songs, including the current hit Billie Jean. Another reason for the mix-up: Laine spent the evening close to his record producer, who was mistaken for Jackson's bodyguard. Says Laine, who regularly performs his Jackson routine in North Carolina near his hometown of Chapel Hill, "It all happened so fast. If my act had been planned, we would have told them I was an impersonator." Still, from all accounts, Lassiter didn't seem too upset about being treated like a superstar.
Out of Fashion
After singing during half-time of a USFL game in Pontiac, Mich., Tanya Tucker dropped into a nearby bar wearing a fur coat with a label bearing the words "Glen Campbell's Woman." Sounds like false advertising, since Glen and Tanya ended their romance two years ago. Not wanting to make the fur fly, Glen probably decided against asking Tanya to pass the coat on to her successor. In any case, these days he seems to prefer woollens, specifically Kim Woollen, his fourth and most recent wife.
Did you know that Prince Philip likes his coffee black, with sugar? That Prince Charles owns any whale or porpoise washed up on Cornish beaches? That Princess Diana is related to Humphrey Bogart, Gloria Vanderbilt and Orson Welles? You didn't? Then we've got just the book for you. Released last week, it's called The Book of Royal Lists, and it's full of things about the royals that they didn't even know about themselves. Not surprisingly, there is a wealth of info about Diana: One of her favorite TV shows is a British soap called Crossroads; her favorite musicians include the Police, Abba, Neil Diamond; bubble gum and Kit Kat bars are among her favorite sweets. Perhaps most useful is Queen Elizabeth's advice on how to keep one's corgis (she owns six) content. The final of her eight pointers: "At Christmas give each corgi a stocking. HINT: chocolate drops always go down well."
Hats Off to Free Trade
When the younger brother of King Hassan II of Morocco, Moulay Abdullah, wanted a coonskin cap last December, H. Kauffman Saddlery in New York City filled the order. The firm sent Moulay his hat, with a bill for $150. King Hassan soon wanted similar headgear, and the store obliged. Last month the shop received a little token of appreciation from Morocco: payment for both hats and a gold-and-silver-brocaded saddle valued at $25,000. Now, that's what you call a royal deal.
"People think it's fun to provoke me because I'm a star and I'm small," said Hervé Villechaize, 3'11", who reached the breaking point over salary and script disputes with the Fantasy Island folks and says he'll sign off as Tattoo after five years. If he does leave, Herve won't settle for bit parts in the future. "I put on my resume," he reports, " 'Don't call me to do elves or Santa's helpers.' Otherwise, every Christmas or St. Patrick's Day I would get a call."