10/08/1979 at 01:00 AM EDT
Jimmy Carter may no longer be a deacon of the Plains Baptist Church, but he's still a Deacon to the Secret Service. The entire Carter family, in fact, has code names starting with the letter D. Rosalynn is Dancer, Amy is Dynamo, and grandson Jason, a sandbox daredevil, goes by Digger. Jack (Derby), Jeff (Deckhand) and Chip (Diamond) follow alliteratively. The Mondales have the Cs, but Fritz is not the Cat; he's Cavalier. Artistic Joan is Cameo and daughter Eleanor, a cat-lover, is Calico over the walkie-talkies. Richard Nixon is an inappropriate Searchlight. Pardoner Jerry Ford retains the Ps: he's Passkey and Betty is Pinafore.
Contemplating Jean Seberg's tragic end, Bette Davis, 71, said, "I think all sensitive people have at one time contemplated suicide. I know I have." The star of so many melodramas recalled "one serious time, I felt so low, I decided, 'I'll do it.' I had the sleeping pills—I planned the whole operation. I would put on my most glamorous negligee, go up to bed, and when they came to make me up for the first shot, I'd be there, dead." So what happened? "I just cracked up with laughter. It all seemed so ridiculous I forgot about committing suicide."
In 1972 Sen. William Proxmire tried a hair transplant to stop his fleece from fleeting, and the Wisconsin Democrat's scalp got more public scrutiny than his legislation. So when colleague Warren Magnuson, the owner of a full head of brown hair, admits, "I don't want to go bald," he means it. Magnuson, 74, says he shampoos only once a month, just to be sure. "I mean, Eskimos don't wash their hair," reasons Washington's senior senator. "And did you ever see an Eskimo who's bald?"
She's 5'11", flat-chested and close-cropped, but Grace Jones assumes by now everyone knows that. So when someone in the ladies' room at Bloomingdale's asked, "What's that man doing in here?" disco's daringest diva didn't chuckle. She swung around, lifted her coat and asked, "Have you ever seen a man who's pregnant?" Indeed, Jones expects her first child (by photographer Jean-Paul Goude) in December. Meanwhile, she's working on an LP and learning to let it all hang out, even to the point of appearing in public hatless. Grace may have exposed practically everything else but, she says, "I don't usually show my hair. I have a thing about hair being private."
Life Is a Whatever
The play based on his stories of pre-World War II Berlin—which became the musical Cabaret—was titled I Am a Camera, but Christopher Isherwood, 75, has admitted I am a, well, something else. "I don't like the term homosexual," he said during a Gay Rights fund raiser in San Francisco. "It's too medical. And I don't like the term gay, because we're not always gay. I really prefer faggot, much as blacks used to call each other niggers as a compliment. It's important that whenever they throw abuse at you, you should wear it in your buttonhole." But the creator of the divinely decadent Sally Bowles concedes, "When I'm with close friends, I use the term queer."
•David Janssen took up acting because "It was better than babysitting or delivering newspapers," and at 49, the star of Inchon says he's had enough. "It's getting harder and harder to get up in the morning," he confesses. "I think I'll take to the life of a film producer, get up at 10, have two-hour lunch breaks, fire everybody in the afternoon and be ready for cocktails at 4:30."
•Colorado Congresswoman Pat Schroeder may have uncovered the truth behind Russia's presence in Cuba. After she exchanged chitchat with a Soviet general, he handed her a Havana cigar for her husband. "Wonderful, he loves them," beamed Pat. "We like them too," shot back the general. "We figure they cost us $20 apiece."