Star Tracks

updated 11/24/1980 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/24/1980 AT 01:00 AM EST

Meet the new Muppets
These 16 bright-eyed, bushy faces will join Bert and Ernie & Co. when Sesame Street begins its 12th season November 24. Posing for their official portrait are (bottom row, from left) Deena, Pearl, glamorous Countess Von Dahling and her doggie, Masha, TV newsman Warren Wolf and Dr. Nobel Price. Looking over Wolf's shoulders are Elmo and Poco Loco. And in the top row, sandwiched between two sets of Honkers (to teach children cooperation), are Telly Monster, Clementine, Buster and Forgetful Jones. This may be the only cast on TV whose stars do not jiggle, live in Dallas, or have agents who tell them to hold out for fatter contracts.

Tomlin is belittled
If critics thought Lily Tomlin's love scenes with John Travolta in Moment by Moment were mechanical, now she really has problems. In her forthcoming The Incredible Shrinking Woman, Lily plays a housewife who finds herself getting smaller and smaller until she is attacked by a wind-up robot toy. No wonder: She's wearing her daughter's Barbie doll wardrobe. She gets into other pinches too—like dropping into a garbage disposal unit. Unlike Moment, however, Lily does not face an Incredible Shrinking Box Office. Her studio is holding up release of Woman until after the December premiere of Nine to Five, in which she co-stars with the bankable Jane Fonda and the incredibly expanding Dolly Parton.

Eyes on Nureyev
At 6'6" and 275 pounds, George Roberson is a heavyweight with leading ballet troupes. His job is not as a dancer but as a bodyguard. When the Boston Ballet visited New York to perform La Sylphide, the producers hired Roberson, a devoted balletomane, to protect guest star Rudolf Nureyev. Roberson completed a smooth pas de trois, accompanying Nureyev and the company's co-artistic director, Violette Verdy, to a post-show party. Alas, George couldn't shield Nureyev from a critic, who labeled the production "a grounded turkey."

Baez's interreaganum
Playing hostess in her Woodside, Calif. living room to Ireland's 1974 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Sean MacBride, folksinger Joan Baez entertained the 76-year-old pacifist's view that President-elect Ronald Reagan may prove a stronger and more effective advocate of human rights than Jimmy Carter. Explained MacBride, "Reagan is older and cannot be accused of being ultra-liberal, a Communist or a coward." Baez was not exactly won over, but she agreed, "Reagan should be given a chance."

Play it again, Burgess
Within Burgess Meredith, 71, there has always been a singer struggling to escape. "He's like George Burns," says an old pal, "always singing at parties." After 47 years in the business, Meredith will finally make his musical debut in ABC's Mr. Griffin and Me early in January. A bearded Burgess plays a onetime film director who leaves his wife and turns up 20 years later tickling the ivories at a seedy piano bar. At least that beats tickling weirder things on his ABC zoo series, Those Amazing Animals.

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