Robert DeNiro knows the most pleasurable way to flesh out a part: with pasta. That's largely what he ate to put on some 60 pounds for his role as The Raging Bull, 1950s middleweight champ Jake LaMotta. DeNiro started out his usual trim self in the fight scenes, shot first. Then, eschewing props like padding to make the weight as the aging Bull, the realism-obsessed actor took a three-month break to gorge. His diet made him more fatted calf than raging bull, but LaMotta, 58, technical adviser on the film, says DeNiro packs a punch as well as a paunch. In rehearsal matches, DeNiro blacked Jake's eyes three times.
Sammy Davis Jr., who once caused himself some embarrassment by embracing Richard Nixon before network cameras, bestowed some less controversial affection on the brow of Dr. William Berkowitz, founder of the heralded Dialogue forum series at Manhattan's B'nai Jeshurun Synagogue. The entertainer, celebrating the 25th anniversary of his conversion to Judaism, had been invited by the rabbi as a participant. Davis' esteem was reciprocated. Rabbi Berkowitz praised his "tone of tremendous spirituality," then added: "Having dealt with things plastic, I can say this was not. Sammy was never so moved in his life."
John Belushi isn't warm under the collar about the mixed reviews he received for his performance in Steve Spielberg's 1941. By the time he turned up at L.A.'s Palladium for the premiere blast, he himself was saying the film was only so-so. Except for the de rigueur formal attire, he was feeling loose and, for Belushi, jovial as he table-hopped among Establishment figures like Peter Falk. And, to show he can go along with promotion when he has to, John arrived with wife Judy Jacklin and co-stars Dan Aykroyd and Penny Marshall in a 1941 Chevy.
Pelé and pal
Regine and Pelé both belong in the hall of fame of footwork: She dominates disco dance floors the way he commanded the soccer field. Alas, the similarity stops there. The bash at which they embraced was thrown by Regine at her New York club to celebrate the 10th anniversary of her marriage to her former secretary, Roger Choukroun. Ironically, the only reason Pelé (now based in his old home of Santos, Brazil) was in town was to appear in court in the drawn-out process of being divorced from wife Rose.
Hoffman by a nose
It takes more than acting genius for even a Dustin Hoffman to keep a movie from being swiped out from under his nose by the formidable Meryl Streep and, particularly, a winsome kid actor like Justin Henry. Yet the critics pretty much agree that Hoffman manages that feat in Kramer vs. Kramer. So it may be significant that at the Manhattan party after the film's opening, Hoffman, besides kissing lots of women, nuzzled his colleague on the movie, Jerry Greenberg. For those who don't read credits, Jerry's the film editor.