Whatever Happened To...? An Update on Some 1980 Newsmakers
Her 1977 book Walking Through the Fire recounted Laurel Lee's fight against Hodgkin's disease. A sequel this year, Signs of Spring, told of a relapse and a divorce that left her and her three children (including Mary Elisabeth, 4) temporarily on welfare (June 2). Laurel, 35, is now writing her first novel and another installment of her memoirs—which should be more cheerful. In May, while dining with old friend J.D. Kenneth Bliss, she says, "romance began. It was so natural, like drinking a glass of water." In October she married Bliss, 47, a divorced father of four who produces religious films. More good news: Her cancer has been in remission for two years.
On his 88th game of TV's Tic Tac Dough, Lt. Thom McKee was finally stumped—but not before answering 353 questions worth a record $312,700 (Sept. 15). The Navy pilot, 25, and his wife, Jenny, 22, are now pondering how to shelter the cash winnings of $199,450 and what to do with the $113,250 in merchandise—ranging from eight cars and three sailboats to a piano and a trash compactor (some $33,000 is earmarked for charity). Of the 16 free trips he won, the McKees have taken only one, to Hawaii. Despite the loot and an upcoming eight-month tour sans wife in the Indian Ocean, Thorn is staying in uniform: "I like being a jet pilot."
After discovering she was pregnant at age 43, Ursula Andress admitted, "The decision to have a child is not easy" (May 5). Indeed, since giving birth to a son, Dimitri Hamlin, she says, "I'm nearly having a nervous breakdown. I am Swiss, and I want everything precise, clean, perfect." She and the baby's father, 29-year-old American actor Harry (Studs Lonigan) Hamlin, have been together since meeting in 1979 on the set of the forthcoming Clash of the Titans. They have no plans to marry, but share her apartment in a Rome suburb. Alas, Ursula's vita is not exactly dolce: "Everybody is furious with me; I have no time for anybody. I cry every day, I'm so upset. A baby takes 24 hours out of every 24 hours—I never imagined it would be so time-consuming. Never, never!" Yet motherhood has its own special reward. Says the actress whose previous loves included John Derek (seven years of marriage) and Jean Paul Belmondo (eight years of unwedded bliss), "Affairs and husbands can end, but a child is forever. Dimitri is the only male I will never be able to leave."
Amid charges that cocaine was hampering her performance, Mackenzie Phillips, 21, was ordered to take a six-week leave from One Day at a Time to rest and gain weight. But on returning she was written out of the CBS series (March 17). She quickly segued into rock music, a career move plotted by Jeff Sessler, 26, a former Rolling Stones gofer whom she had impulsively married seven months earlier. Some $100,000 of her earnings went into prepping for an album and for a few L.A. club dates. But, weighed down by a souring domestic life, she packed it in as both chanteuse and wife. Sessler quickly sued for $17,000 in spousal support and legal fees; the court awarded him $1,500, though his share of their property is still in negotiation. Says she of the recent decree, "I'm so glad I'm divorced." Mackenzie's professional woes remain. Her agent blames the dearth of movie and TV offers on the long actors' strike, but the fact remains that she has not faced a camera since February.
Her crime wasn't unique, but her punishment was: Bay Area madam Marlene "Brandy" Baldwin, 40, a four-time loser, drew 90 days in a convent (Aug. 11). Recently released, Brandy has changed professions. She sold the story of her life with the Sisters of the Good Shepherd for a Lorimar-NBC movie, has written her autobiography and hopes to create a slapstick play about the best little whorehouse in San Francisco.
After a titillating ad in the Hollywood trades, Tina Payne, 12, got a role in NBC's swampy miniseries Beulah Land and, concedes her flack, "a lot of really sleazy movie offers from abroad" (Feb. 4). Tina nixed those and has the inside track on an NBC sitcom pilot. Meanwhile she spent part of her Beulah Land pay on a Plexiglas piano—"There's only a dozen in the world." Ain't that grand?
Because the kidneys of famed anthropologist Richard (Origins) Leakey were failing, brother Philip (right) donated one of his in a transplant (Feb. 18). Ten days after the surgery Philip, 31, the first elected white member of Kenya's parliament since independence, was out of the London hospital. Richard, 36, took longer to mend, but says, "I'm better now than ever." He has been "traveling virtually nonstop since March" across Asia, Europe and Africa to film a seven-part BBC series, The Making of Mankind. It airs in the U.S. in 1981.
Thwarted in their plan to quit 10th grade and live together, two Seattle-area sweethearts rammed a car into a concrete wall at 110 mph (June 30). Jason Perrine, 16, died, but Dawn Swisher, 15, recovered with just "a slight limp" and is back at Mercer Island High. She's collaborating on a book about her failed suicide and reports "a new boyfriend—a couple of them, in fact."
For the first time since 1954, Miss America was not serenaded by Bert Parks, 65. Nine months before the pageant he was fired as host (Jan. 21). New emcee Ron Ely, 42, hyped the TV audience 20 percent, but Bert says, "My career has been booming since the South Jersey crisis." He hosted a Manila beauty contest and made TV guest shots and commercials(one for a casino in, yup, Atlantic City). Parks and his wife, Annette, report, "We're considerably richer now."
Why did TV racing commentator Charlsie Cantey crash the winner's circle after the 53-1 long shot Temperence Hill won the Belmont Stakes? To kiss the trainer, Joe—who's also her husband (Aug. 4). This fall Charlsie, 34, gave birth to their first, Joe IV, and returned on-air in a week. Joe, 38, is now a top-ranked trainer, due partly to Temperence Hill, third thoroughbred ever to win $1 million in one year.
Having led 16 hostages through a 61-day terrorist siege in Bogotá, U.S. Ambassador to Colombia Diego Asencio, 49, came home to a hero's welcome and a summer's R&R (June 30). He began a book due next fall ("My style is early Federalese, but it has been good therapy") and applied the advance toward a town-house in D.C., where he has a new post: Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs. His ordeal left no scars, but having "trained myself to hear everything, I can still pick out what people are saying in the next room." On returning to work, Diego found "I'm not recognized anymore—it's great!"
Playing a Saudi noblewoman executed for adultery, Suzanne Taleb was onscreen in Death of a Princess just eight minutes—yet because of that British TV film the Egyptian actress was blacklisted, menaced in the streets and harassed at home (May 12). Though she graduated from a Cairo drama school in July, Suzanne, 23, was dropped from one play and lost other roles because of the wrath of the Saudis and the Arab League. Last month she moved to London, where Princess director Antony Thomas is helping her start anew.
After exposing apparent fiscal misconduct involving ABC and Charlie's Angels producers Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg, network lawyer Jennifer Martin, 33, was fired (May 19). Her career derailed, she filed a $22 million suit claiming breach of contract, libel and conspiracy by ABC, the producers and others. Attorney husband Barry Rose complains, "This town is afraid of anyone who operates on principles." Meanwhile the L.A. district attorney has dropped his probe of "Angelgate"—but the SEC and FBI are still on the case.
The GOP till 1988? Two-day school weeks? Gray Panther sitcoms? So soothsays Marvin Cetron
Last winter Forecasting International, an Arlington, Va. firm founded by ex-Navy planner Marvin Cetron, ranked Poland one of the world's most unstable nations and prophesied—even before Ronald Reagan's nomination—that growing conservatism in America would send a Republican to the White House (Feb. 4). The basis for these dead-on predictions was an Xmark Inc. microcomputer programmed with economic, political, military and social data. PEOPLE recently asked Cetron, 50, to train his electronic oracle on America's domestic future. His forecast:
The Social Landscape.
The conservative trend will last until 1988, when the Democrats will return to power. By then most welfare mothers will be working, freed by industry or government-financed day-care centers. By 1990 students will attend school three days a week, and after that only two, studying the other days at home or in day-care centers equipped with two-way TV. Though ERA will not pass before its 1982 deadline, a similar amendment will be ratified by decade's end as women attain the kind of power they have in Finland (where one-fourth of the parliament is female).
Suburbs will grow as people refuse to return to cities with their bad mass transit and older buildings too expensive to heat. The move to warmer climates will also continue, led by the growing numbers of elderly citizens. They will be catered to with such things as geriatric foods containing no spices or salt and special-interest TV programs.
By 1988 there will be nationwide catastrophic medical insurance for people. Prepaid group health insurance for dogs and cats will be available. By 1990 eyeglasses and contact lenses will be obsolete; faulty vision will be corrected with eyedrops. Blood pressure and temperature will be taken by telephone. Major breakthroughs in genetic engineering will extend lifespans. Babies born in 2050 will live 200 years.
There will be more person-to-person commitment, monogamy and further blurring of marital roles, with fathers and grandfathers caring for children. But divorce will increase because people will no longer put family before self; relationships will last only as long as a couple can keep each other satisfied. People may have as many as three different partners in a lifetime. Children will have more rights, such as picking the parent with whom they wish to live. Paradoxically, the extended family will be reborn, sort of—housing costs will drive divorced and unmarried people back to their parents.
Materialism will become chic again. Until 1985 there will be discounts for paying cash. After 1990 there will be penalties for using cash. Credit cards will be preferred, meaning fewer robberies and muggings because people won't carry cash. Home ownership will remain an American dream, even if two couples must live in one house. Cars will be smaller and lighter—by 1986, half their weight will be of plastic—and powered by fuel cells or batteries. Housework will decrease; there will even be self-cleaning toilets. Entertainment? Cable TV will offer 25 different programs at a time, around the clock.