Star Tracks

updated 04/06/1981 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 04/06/1981 01:00AM

Joel walks tall
Joel Grey clambered to stardom as the hero in NBC's Jack and the Beanstalk back in 1956, and remarkably he still looks the part. But his performance for an audience of little patients at the Minneapolis Children's Health Center was a giant-sized treat for the kids. The 5'6" Oscar-winning star of the 1972 film Cabaret received an enthusiastic Willkommen from his diminutive fans when he sang Randy Newman's Short People while perched on makeshift stilts of string and old juice cans. Grey, 49, in town to perform at the Guthrie Theater, drops in on hospitalized kids often when on tour. "It's something worthwhile," he says, and the short people seem to agree. Announced one beaming youngster scheduled for surgery: "When my leg is better, I'll be able to dance like he does."

Cooley's all heart
When Denton A. Cooley was a Johns Hopkins medical student in the '40s, the former University of Texas basketball star discovered his new school's only athletic facility was a street where would-be doctors played stickball. So three years ago, when his medical alma mater asked the renowned heart surgeon to co-captain a fund-raising drive for a new recreational center, Dr. D was ready and willing. His Cooley Foundation of Houston pledged $750,000, then the good doctor put the arm on former patient Leonard Tose, owner of the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles, for another $25,000. The $2.6 million Denton A. Cooley Center was dedicated last month, and its eponym was on hand for the first double dribble. "Athletics," he said, "has helped me in the strenuous specialty of heart surgery. It has taught me stamina, self-discipline and sportsmanship."

Bum Hand Falk
The party was at producer Hilly Elkins' West Hollywood home after the L.A. opening of British singer Georgia Brown's one-woman show. And there was Peter Falk, looking downright genteel for a fellow who used to show up in a disheveled raincoat. Songs from Georgia Brown & Friends were still in the air, but Falk's wife, actress Shera Danese, wasn't kissing off her husband's cast-bound hand with a flippant Is That All There is? The object of her affections, recovering from surgery on an old golf injury, required something more tender, like Brown's hit from Oliver!: As Long As He Needs Me.

Le Clan Belmondo
Tout Paris—the likes of François Truffaut, Régine, Jordan's Princess Ferial and the Guy de Rothschilds—helped the world-famous Lido celebrate its 50th anniversary with a new show, Cocorico (French for cock-a-doodle-doo). Actor Jean-Paul Belmondo, 47, brought his mother, Madeleine, and Paul, 17, the youngest of his three children. Missing, as the feathers and bare poitrines passed in review, was Belmondo's recently uncloseted love of 10 years, Italian actress Laura Antonelli, who was, alas, in Rome.

Denver's new high
Heaven only knows what Joseph Smith would say, but latter-day Mormon Tabernacle Choir conductor Jerold D. Ottley was delighted to have his 325-member chorus join John Denver in singing I Want to Live at a recent World Hunger symposium at Utah State University. "For his own style, he's extremely effective," said Ottley. Denver said he was thrilled too. He came down from his Rocky Mountain high to write the song prior to the two years he served with President Carter's Commission on World Hunger.

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