11/16/1981 at 01:00 AM EST
What becomes a legend most? For Frank Sinatra, apparently, a Maximilian mink. The occasion was a Beverly Hills jewel-and-fur show, benefiting the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. When emcee Polly Bergen apologized for the lack of male models, Sinatra and Johnny Carson disappeared backstage. Soon Frank was sashaying down the runway in a $10,000 coat and seven-carat sapphire ring.
"I know when I'm in the ring with a champ," said the No. 1 heavyweight contender, Gerry Cooney, 25, trading punches with Nathan Cohen, 8, at Gleason's Gym in Manhattan. Nathan, who was born with spina bifida, is the New York City Easter Seal Child; Cooney co-chairs the National Easter Seal Sports Council for 1982. (Its slogan: "Back a Fighter.") Gerry, training for his March challenge of Larry Holmes, was unabashedly TKOed by Battling Nathan. Such kids, said Cooney, "have to train harder than I do." Beamed Nathan, "I hope he wins."
Patti's cuddly bear
Peter Strauss' Broadway debut as a reclusive writer in Einstein and the Polar Bear was deep-sixed after four performances. But the handsome Masada star has not been left out in the cold romantically. At the opening-night party at Sardi's the 34-year-old Strauss, who was sued for palimony last April by exroomie Shana Hoffman, showed up with First Daughter Patti Davis, 29. She had been rumored to be his flame for three months; this marked their going public. Said a longtime friend of Patti's: "She's always looking for love. I hope she's found it with Peter."
A stage director's gaffes come home to roost. But Charlie the cockatoo was no booboo, just a member of the cast of Ned and Jack, which Colleen Dewhurst is directing. The show, at Broadway's Little Theater, is about the relationship between playwright Edward Sheldon and actor John Barrymore, and Charlie is a gift Sheldon presents to the Great Profile. In rehearsals Dewhurst did without the bird, but shortly before opening she managed to cast the part.
"It's not dignified," admitted Erica Jong as she slid into a comfy coffin at Manhattan's Underground disco. "But on Halloween, everything goes"—especially when one has a book titled Witches coming out. Jong, 39, who arrived in a black cape and conical hat, became bewitched by the project—a mix of history, poetry and myth—while researching her 1980 novel Fanny, whose heroine joined a witch coven. Estranged husband Jonathan Fast brought daughter Molly, 3, meticulously gotten up as a tiny witch, to the party. Molly took one look at the coffin and burst into tears. So she spent the rest of the evening at a nearby McDonald's with Pop and her grandparents.