ROBERT TOWNSEND: FILM FLAM
Actor-director ROBERT TOWNSEMD, best known for Hollywood Shuffle, says that during his formative years, his cultural tastes never quite matched those of his peers. "I watched Danny Kaye movies," says Townsend. 34, whose film about a '60s soul group, The Five Heartbeats, opens March 15. "I never told anyone in my neighborhood what movies I liked. I would just go, 'Yeah, Shaft was good. Yeeeaaahhh, Shaft.' I was a double agent: We'd go to the ballet on a field trip, and afterward the kids would say. 'Man, did you see that garbage?' And I'd be saying to myself, 'I kind of enjoyed it. It was beautiful and poetic.' "

BRIAN MAY ON ICE-CAPADES
The lead guitarist for Queen, BRIAN MAY, gave the cold shoulder to rap sensation VANILLA ICE after Ice boldly borrowed a riff from the 1981 Queen-David Bowie hit "Under Pressure" and injected it into his No. 1 smash single, "Ice Ice Baby." "The first time I heard the record, I was in a club," says May, 43, whose band has just released the album Innuendo. "And I thought, 'This is interesting. Somebody took a piece of our record without our permission, but it doesn't matter, because no one's ever going to hear it. It ain't very good.' A short time later it was No. 1, so I changed my opinion." Indeed, Ice's record company is now paying royalties on the riff. "Everything is out there for stealing," May says, "but you've got to give credit where it's due—and you've got to pay up."

MARY TYLER MOORE: HORSING AROUND
MARY TYLER MOORE, who celebrated the 20th anniversary of her classic Mary Tyler Moore Show with a retrospective on CBS last week, says the brief lives of her two subsequent TV series have convinced her that another regular show is not in her future. "I'd like just to continue doing what I'm doing, which is an occasional movie-of-the-week for TV, though an occasional feature film would be great," says Moore, 54, who, accompanied by her husband, cardiologist ROBERT LE-VINE (at left), spoke during a break at a Manhattan dance marathon benefiting SAGE, a gay group that, among other things, helps senior citizens with AIDS. "My life is so full now. I don't want to work full-time anymore. I've got a country house and horses. And I'm going to be made a grandmother by one of my horses in May—life is really good."

JODIE FOSTER: WHAT'S SO FUNNY?
Actress JODIE FOSTER understands the importance of being earnest. "The films that influenced me the most were definitely dramatic films," says Foster, 28, who stars as an FBI trainee in the dramatic new thriller The Silence of the Lambs. "I don't see as many comedies as dramas. Sometimes I go in the video store and I look at the drama section, and I've seen every single movie. Then I look at the comedy section and I haven't seen a single one."