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updated 12/07/1981 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/07/1981 01:00AM

Newman's Field day
Though his character gets a royal you-know-what from reporter Sally Field in their new movie, Paul Newman showed a pronounced Absence of Malice toward his co-star at an American Civil Liberties Union Foundation fund raiser (and screening) in L.A. "I loved the role" (of a mobster's son unjustly suspected of murder), said Newman. "It brought a controversial issue before the public in a popular way." A staunch supporter of the ACLU, Newman attended with actress daughter Susan, 28, while Sally kept to a solo byline.

He loves Lucy
If country crooner Johnny Lee is, as the song goes, Lookin' for Love, then he appears to have found it with Charlene Tilton, a/k/a Lucy Ewing Cooper of Dallas. Lee, 35, and Tilton, 22, certainly acted chummy at the L.A. taping (six weeks early) of Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve, which Charlene is co-hosting. The coo-some twosome denied rumors that they are engaged; however, when a photographer asked them to pose backstage, Charlene declined before cryptically adding that she would be happy to comply—"in a month."

Sultry Simon
Her new Torch LP isn't exactly burning up the charts, but Carly Simon still knows how to put some sizzle into an evening. Wearing a high-slit, skintight sarong, the 5'11" singer hosted a dinner party for good friend and producer-collaborator Mike Mainieri at Vanessa Restaurant in Greenwich Village. At 36, Simon needs a new Handyman in her life, now that she's separated from her husband of nine years, James Taylor. Mainieri, 43, is married with seven children, so he's not a candidate, but he's an ardent admirer nevertheless. "Besides having all the qualities that make a great talent," he says, "Carly, as a bonus, throws in a pinch of humor and beauty." And a lotta leg.

McCloskey flips out
The scene was the First Annual Jerry Brown Memorial Waffle Breakfast in San Francisco. "I want to batter him, fry him and hold him up to public view," exclaimed California Congressman Pete McCloskey, 54, who, along with Brown, is running for S.I. Hayakawa's Senate seat in 1982. The San Mateo Republican (whose culinary talents are normally limited to green chili omelets) flipped his breakfast like a pro and told the 125 guests that, unlike Brown, "I don't waffle on the issues, while he is one of the great wafflers of all time."

Vintage Wyman
"The White House is not for me," said Jane Wyman, after ex-husband Ronald Reagan was elected President. But as the strong-willed First Lady of a vineyard empire on CBS' new nighttime soap Falcon Crest, Wyman, 67, will play politics aplenty. Lorenzo Lamas, 23 (son of Fernando and Arlene Dahl), co-stars as her loyal grandson and heir. The 1948 Oscar winner (for Johnny Belinda) is returning to her first TV series after 15 years of touring for the Arthritis Foundation.

Snyder vs. Starr
During a poolside chat while taping an interview in L.A., Ringo Starr chided Tom Snyder for "leading too fast a life. You've got to stop and smell the roses." (Not entirely coincidentally, Stop and Smell the Roses is the name of Starr's new album.) Snyder said he would stop long enough to push Ringo into the pool. But it is actually the big anchor who is taking a dive—as of Jan. 28, there will be no Tomorrow for the $600,000-a-year late-night host. Snyder's time slot is being filled by comedian David Letterman.

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