updated 02/18/1980 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 02/18/1980 AT 01:00 AM EST
Larry Pressler, 37, is a freewheeling bachelor who likes to boast that he's the poorest U.S. senator in Washington. Yet the South Dakota Republican, who recently declared and then undeclared for the presidential nomination, wasn't ready to accept a badly needed campaign donation proffered last fall by a pair of Arabs seeking legislative favors. They were, of course, part of the FBI's ABSCAM sting team. Pressler may be the only member of the Senate approached who did not take the bait. Says the now lionized Pressler: "I do not consider myself any kind of hero for doing what I'm supposed to do."
Hutton In Gere
Richard Gere and Lauren Hutton, who link up for some steamily explicit love scenes in American Gigolo, also seemed intertwined at a private screening of the film in Manhattan. But they're only good pals. Both are pledged to others—Lauren to her steady of 15 years, stock speculator Bob Williamson, and Gere, at least for now, to Brazilian painter Sylvia Martins. Actually, Lauren serves as Gere's last resort—in travel matters. The actress-model spends lots of her Revlon bucks journeying to exotic locales, and last year touted Gere on a trip to Bali.
Hollywood historians insist Marlon Brando, 55, has never attended a funeral in town. But he showed, along with Bob Hope, Danny Thomas and Angie Dickinson, to pay his respects to Jimmy Durante, the much-adored comedian who died at 87. The portly Brando arrived carrying a single white carnation, knelt during the requiem mass at Good Shepherd Church and exited still clutching the flower, stopping only to peck Dickinson's cheek. Why this unusual appearance, inquired a reporter. Replied Brando: "I loved him because I was a fan."
Belushi sits in
The fat guy on the skins during the Dead Boys gig at L.A.'s Whisky wasn't a new member. It was John Belushi sitting in for the punk band's drummer, Johnny Blitz. Belushi had once told the group, "If you guys had been born sooner, you coulda been the band at Animal House." And two years ago he drummed with them to raise hospital money for Blitz, who nearly became a dead boy in a street fight. Backstage in L.A., Belushi was uncharacteristically somber with DBs (from left) Jimmy Zero, Blitz, Stiv Bators and Jeff Jones. But his beat on Sonic Reducer, the earsplitting lead track of the group's Young, Loud and Snotty LP, was lively. "He sounded," said Bators, baiting Belushi, "just like we do on the album."
Hats off to Ginger
At 68, Ginger Rogers took to the French stage for the first time, and soon the dukes and marquises crowded into the Moulin Rouge for its 90th-birthday celebration were stomping in their seats. She belted out tunes from Dolly! and Mame and even risked a song in fractured French. The night's other performers—Jerry Lewis, Peter Ustinov and the Village People—were forgotten. "It was an exceptional evening for my heart and my head," glowed Ginger, who was presented with one of the old music hall's heirlooms: a Maurice Chevalier straw hat.
Polanski plows on
He'd just returned from the Himalayas, but, no, that's not the Abominable Snowman. It's movie director Roman Polanski enjoying some R&R in the French Alpine resort of Avoriaz. He had been off in Asia photographing peaks over 20,000 feet. (Some of his shots will appear in a European photo magazine.) But in the Alps the challenge was less, and Roman placed high in the annual one-man toboggan race. Off the slopes, he made tracks almost as impressive as the yeti-like ones his sledding boots left. His new film, Tess, copped three Césars—French Oscars—for best movie, direction and photography.