How 1981 Treated Some Personalities Since We Saw Them Last
After Secret Service agent Tim McCarthy was hit by a bullet intended for President Reagan (April 13), he received 15,000 get-well letters and a $10,000 Treasury Department award. Although the slug ripped through his right lung, his liver and his diaphragm, McCarthy was hospitalized only 11 days and returned to work July 1. "I'm back running five miles a day," he says, "and I feel just about recovered except for pains in the abdomen." And, yes, he confides, "I'm wearing my bulletproof vest more often."
Since designing the wedding gown in which Lady Di was turned into a princess, David and Elizabeth Emanuel (May 4) have seen their careers transformed almost as dramatically. Now represented by the high-powered Mark McCormack organization, they are branching out into perfume, sunglasses, towels and wallpaper. "But we will never take on more than we can manage," says Elizabeth. "If we did, we would lose our magic."
Four years and 14,000 miles into his hike from the tip of South America to northernmost Alaska, George Meegan (Aug. 10) is wintering near Toronto with his wife, Yoshiko, and their two children. He'll be back on the road again in March. "I want to reach northern British Columbia before the snow comes," he reports, "so I'll have to go farther [2,500 miles] and faster than ever before."
In September, a year after returning to the leadership of the National Urban League following a near-fatal 1980 sniper attack, Vernon Jordan (April 27) announced he would leave Dec. 31 to become a partner in the law firm of former Democratic chairman Robert Strauss. "I'll miss this," he says, "but I'm looking forward to private life and taking the back seat."
Railroad brakeman Brian Katz, 31, won his $147,000 home in the Chicago suburbs (June 22) for the price of a $100 raffle ticket. Now Katz (left, with builder Larry Austgen) must take out a mortgage to pay the hefty taxes that have ensued. When the house appreciates in value, Katz hopes to sell it and eventually buy what he really wants—an underground home.
While space entrepreneur David Hannah Jr. was preparing for the first test-firing of his kerosene-fueled rocket (July 6), he realized his experiment might go up in a puff of smoke. Sure enough, it did, and a faulty valve has been identified as the cause. Undiscouraged, Hannah hopes for an orbital launch by 1983.
Previously distinguished as one of the most frequently canceled actors on TV, Gary (Born Free) Collins has flourished as host of the syndicated talk show Hour Magazine (Jan. 12). Now he's been tapped to emcee the Miss America Pageant—won 22 years ago by wife Mary Ann Mobley (below). Says Gary: "It's like going home."
After a five-year cocaine-and-heroin binge that cost him much of his fortune and nearly his life, a cleaned-up John Phillips (March 2) is returning to his musical heritage. Resurrecting his legendary folk-rock group, the Mamas and the Papas, Phillips, 46, saved a place in the foursome for another former drug abuser, his daughter, Mackenzie, 22, whose cocaine habit got her bounced 22 months ago from the CBS sitcom One Day at a Time. The new group—also starring original Papa Denny Doherty and Elaine "Spanky" McFarlane—has an album in the works. It also plans a 20-city European tour this spring. Says Mackenzie: "Think of the fun we're going to have on the road."
Last year she divorced Jeff Sessler, at the time a Rolling Stones go-fer. Recently she taped four episodes of One Day, and she will appear as a lesbian convict in an upcoming prison movie. Meanwhile NBC is planning a film based on the Phillips family's drug troubles. Papa John, who served 30 days in the federal penitentiary at Allenwood, Pa. for conspiracy to distribute cocaine, continues to lecture audiences about the dangers of drugs. He also logs up to 20 hours a week as a counselor at Fair Oaks Hospital in Summit, N.J. Phillips has temporarily abandoned plans to write a book about his grisly experiences. "It seemed like too much kiss-and-tell," he says. "I'll do it later, when Mackenzie and I are both in rocking chairs somewhere."
Nineteen months ago 13-year-old Cari Lightner was struck by a drunk driver and killed. The senseless death caused her grieving and angry mother, Candy, to quit her job as a real estate saleswoman in Fair Oaks, Calif. and organize Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (June 29). This September Lightner's group won a major victory when California Gov. Jerry Brown signed three MADD-endorsed bills, including one establishing mandatory minimum punishment for offenders. "California now has the toughest drunk-driving laws in the nation," Lightner says proudly. In October Universal Studios bought her story for an NBC movie next fall. Though encouraged by MADD's rapid growth—the organization now has 33 chapters in nine states—Lightner admits to mixed emotions. "I'm proud that something has come out of Cari's death," she says, "but I'd give anything to have her back."
When Jack Henry Abbott was released from prison last June, after spending 25 of his 37 years in confinement, he was hailed as a powerful writer (June 20). His first book, In the Belly of the Beast, adapted from letters he had sent to author Norman Mailer, helped win him both freedom and instant celebrity. Then, near dawn on July 18, Abbott quarreled with a waiter in a Manhattan restaurant and asked him to step outside. Moments later the waiter was found stabbed to death. Abbott, who often dined with the Mailers, fled to Louisiana, where he was arrested in September. He has pleaded not guilty, claiming self-defense, and is expected to stand trial early next year. Spurred by Abbott's notoriety, Belly has sold 40,000 copies and will be published in paperback next spring. Abbott's share could total $250,000, and a movie deal is still to be negotiated.
Pittsburgh steel worker Roger Volkman is still raising his 13-year-old daughter, Danielle, alone while his estranged wife, Pat, lives with the couple's two older children (American Renewal, Feb. 23). "Danielle's adapted real well," he says. "She's happier than ever." So is Volkman. Last spring he met a woman he hopes to marry—if Danielle approves. For now, he admits, "she cringes when she hears me talk about divorce," but Volkman suspects she'll get over it. "She's starting to meet more boys," he says. "That makes a difference."
A 1974 car crash left Raul Espino Jr., then 11 months old, almost totally paralyzed and unable to adjust to temperature changes. His home is air-conditioned, but officials of the Brownsville (Texas) Independent School District claimed they could not afford to air-condition his classroom. Instead, they isolated the boy in a climate-controlled Plexiglas box (May 25). Outraged, Raul's parents sued the school district and won. Last September a federal judge ordered the district to send Raul to an air-conditioned private school (tuition: $1,000) instead of air-conditioning his public school classroom (at a cost of $5,000). Raul is now in second grade at the Windsor School, where he is able to travel in his wheelchair from class to class, even to the lunchroom. "Raul is thrilled about the cafeteria," says his mother. "He loves to eat."
Lisa Birnbach, the high priestess of prep, and Michael Katz, her ideological adversary, are alive, wealthy and shedding no crocodile tears. Despite their disagreements over such burning social questions as whether to wear Lacoste shirts and Top-Siders, they heartily agree on one way of life: cashing in. Birnbach's Official Preppy Handbook (Jan. 26), which touched off the furor, is in its 22nd printing and has sold more than two million copies. For Christmas her publisher, Workman, has issued a $9.95 hardcover edition, complete with fill-in family tree and an 18-karat gold-leaf seal in a Madras-patterned box. As official preppy products—like aprons and beer mugs—proliferate, Birnbach, 25, is busy on a sequel, and hopes to get started on a non-preppy book project sometime next year. As for the dirty work of counting her money, "I let my business manager keep track of it all," she says. "The details would scare me."
Accounting holds no terror for Michael Katz, 23, who expects to gross $1 million this year from anti-prep items like bumper stickers and nightshirts. His latest effort is a literary manifesto of his movement, Save an Alligator, Shoot a Preppie: A Terrorist Guide (A&W Visual Library, $3.95). So total is his commercial commitment that he has put his Princeton diploma on hold; he has yet to write his thesis. Katz admits, though, that his interest is waning. "I've looked at this stuff for 12 months and I'm almost tired of it," he says. "Still, when I see Reagan wearing a Lacoste shirt, I start to feel sick."
An absence of 50 years only made the heart grow fonder, ending in the marriage of childhood friends Muriel Buck Humphrey and radio station founder Max Brown (Feb. 16). But their 10-day honeymoon to the Virgin Islands was delayed until November. Muriel was too busy fund raising for son Hubert H. Humphrey Ill's 1982 run for Minnesota Attorney General and homemaking for new hubby. Sighs Max: "I'm living happily ever after."
Secrecy shrouded the 29-year Army career of "Chargin' Charlie" Beckwith, and although the colonel, who led the aborted 1980 attempt to free the Iranian hostages, is retired, he has not changed his stripes. With three partners, Beckwith (Aug. 31) is operating a decidedly low-profile Austin, Texas civilian security firm. To a select clientele, he offers "threat assessments, antiterrorist instruction" and similar protection services. "The adversary I have is apathy," declares Beckwith. "It's convincing other people they really are a target."
Since belting out the National Anthem at Ronald Reagan's inauguration, sharecropper's daughter Juanita Booker (Jan. 19) has given up hairdressing, moved to L.A. and started singing full-time. Pursuing her ambition to "touch lives," she has made more than 230 appearances and recently was the opening act for Ray Charles.
The shrinking town of Antler, N.Dak. (pop. 101) was facing closure of its elementary school until cattie-and-grain farmer Bud Kissner stepped forward with a novel homesteading scheme (Aug. 24). His offer of free land to families willing to settle in Antler put another 30 children behind desks, bringing the enrollment up to 43. All 42 acres that Kissner set aside for newcomers have been deeded over, but Bud still gets letters from as far away as Massachusetts. The only ones that don't get answered are the marriage proposals: "Those are beside the point," says the embarrassed 72-year-old bachelor.
The damage continues to grow,' says Larry King. It will be in the millions by the time this is all over'
For Larry and Billie Jean King it has been a year of embarrassment and frustration—one that disfigured Billie Jean's public image and may have permanently stunted both of their careers. A bizarre palimony suit filed last spring by Billie Jean's former secretary and lover, Marilyn Barnett, 33, brought scandal to the tennis world and turned the Kings' most jealously guarded secret into a spectacle (May 25). Barnett based her case on more than 100 love letters from Billie Jean, which the Kings had desperately tried to buy back for $125,000. Barnett insisted that their seven-year affair entitled her to the $550,000 Malibu beach house, where the Kings had allowed her to live, and to half of the tennis star's earnings.
In mid-December an L.A. superior court judge rejected Barnett's claim to the beach house and ruled that she must move out in January. He characterized her use of the love letters, for which she had received $25,000 from the Kings before the suit, as "certainly close to extortion" and found no basis for her financial demands.
Though pleased by the decision, the Kings were hardly in a mood for rejoicing, reports PEOPLE'S Cheryl McCall. Humiliated by the publicity surrounding the lawsuit, they suffered other grave financial losses in addition to $100,000 in legal fees. "The damage continues to grow," says Larry. "It will be in the millions by the time this is all over." Billie Jean, 38, retains her association with Nike shoes, Yonex rackets and NBC but has lost important endorsement deals with six other companies—including a $1 million contract with Murjani Clothing. "The public has been great," says Billie Jean. "I've received a couple thousand letters of support, but the phone hasn't rung for an endorsement this year." When major corporations also pulled out as sponsors of Larry's tennis tournaments in Atlanta and Chicago and abandoned his revived Team Tennis circuit, the 36-year-old businessman was forced to cut back on prize money and suffered the loss of key players.
Beyond the financial impact, Billie Jean is personally wounded. The winner of 20 Wimbledon championships was heckled during the summer's Team Tennis matches and limited herself to three major tournaments, where she played only doubles and kept her public appearances to a minimum. "The only thing that has picked up for me is invitations for speaking engagements," she says. "People just want to gawk and ask questions." She also feels misunderstood by gay activists, who have denounced her for calling her affair with Barnett "a mistake." "If I'd had an affair with a man, it would have been just as big a mistake," she explains. "It's a bigger mistake, in my mind, that I could have cared about somebody who isn't really a friend. To be betrayed by somebody you've felt close to is shattering."
Surprisingly, for a woman whose toughness under pressure is legendary, Billie Jean has been so unnerved by her troubles with Barnett that she even feared that her life could be in danger. "It's one of the reasons I haven't wanted to go out alone," she says, "even to walk to my car in a parking lot." Nevertheless, the Kings are determined to retrieve something positive from the personal and professional wreckage. "Billie Jean's honesty and integrity have always been important to her," says Larry. "Now she doesn't have to worry anymore about what's going to fall out of the closet. The worst has happened, and it's got to get better from here."
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