Chatter

UPDATED 12/17/1979 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 12/17/1979 at 01:00 AM EST

La Rondo, Part 4
Producer Jack Haley Jr., 46, didn't shed a tear when his ex-wife, Liza Minnelli, 33, hitched up last week with beau Mark Gero. Haley has announced he's madly in love with Lindsay Wagner, 30, herself freshly divorced from actor Michael Brandon, 34. "I can't believe how lucky I am," sighs Haley. "She's the most wonderful woman in the world." It's almost like being bionic.

The Sound of Anguish
While discussing acting, Laurence Olivier explained how he developed that heart-shattering scream for his classic performance as Oedipus. "To make the pain sound real, I had to think of animals," he said. "I thought of foxes screaming, with their paws caught in the teeth of a trap. And then I heard about how they catch ermine in the Arctic. They put down salt and the ermine comes to lick. And his tongue freezes to the ice. That's what I thought about as I screamed." Incidentally, Olivier found the perfect vowel sound for screaming "wasn't an 'ah' or an 'ugh'—more an 'err.' "

W/Pool, Nr. Schools
Many of those moneyed Iranians who bought bits of Los Angeles recently now have them up for sale again. The Shah's elder sister, Princess Shams, has tacked a $4.2 million price tag on her Calle Vista mansion, which she snapped up for a mere $550,000 three years ago. The house stands on less than an acre of land. It's not the delicate political situation between nations that's got the homeowners restless. Their lawyers are telling them that although resident foreigners with no U.S. income can sell this year without paying a capital gains tax on all that profit, that cushy situation may not last.

Famous Last Licks
After conquering Broadway as a quadriplegic in Whose Life Is It Anyway? (a role soon to be taken over by Mary Tyler Moore), British actor Tom Conti fearlessly agreed to direct another New York play, Last Licks. Then he got an offer to direct a film and, he said, "At first I thought: 'Hello, I couldn't direct a film to save my life!' But then I thought: 'Of course I can. Just get the right people and it's like directing a play.' I've worked with a lot of stage directors who haven't a clue," Conti went on. "They survive because the actors pull their weight. My attitude is that I haven't any less of a clue than anybody else, so I might as well get stuck into it." About Last Licks, it was the critics who had a clue. It closed after two weeks.

Sugar Pusses
The hot new Hollywood gift is a custom sculpture from artist Glen von Kickel, whose medium is cake. He used fudge cake for a mock antique bookcase and rolling library ladder for Richard Burton's birthday. Candice Bergen has commissioned a sphinx cake big enough for 60 (people, not candles). Vegetarian Cloris Leachman got a giant carrot. Big-spending record companies are fond of the recording-mixing board, which is a cake that looks like a computer bristling with buttons. But portraits, rendered in icing, are von Kickel's big item. Cher had cakes decorated with portraits of Kiss members to please her pal Gene Simmons. The artist has also done Valerie Perrine and the Village People. And for the Doobie Brothers 10th anniversary: a group shot at $600, or $100 a Doobie. The dentist's bill is extra.

Furthermore

•Though it was the first flick to try to cash in on the jogging craze, Michael Douglas' Running has been playing to smaller and smaller houses since it hit the big screen last month. "It's one thing when you know a picture is a dog," sighs leading man Douglas. "What happened is that nobody showed up."

•Opening Ted Kennedy's headquarters in Boston, his wife, Joan, recalled his 1964 Senate campaign. Hospitalized after a plane crash, Ted was immobile but, with Joan and volunteers stumping Massachusetts, he won 74 percent of the vote, his biggest margin ever. "So you see what we can do," quipped Joan, "if we can just keep him in bed."

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