Back from the London location of the Pirates of Penzance movie, California resident Linda Ronstadt visited her native Tucson, Ariz. to take part in a benefit for columnist Jeff Smith, who was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident. Ronstadt read telegrams to Smith, a buddy from their days at Catalina High School. When she came across a message from Arizona Gov. Bruce Babbitt, she mused: "I wonder if your Governor is as cute as ours is. I hear he's married, though." Then, with her inimitable giggle, she added, "So what?"
Playing With Dolls
If Reaganomics have you down, you can always take it out on the brand new Ronnie Reagan doll. New York City entrepreneur Jeff Thomas is no dummy: He's sold hundreds of the wavy-haired, wrinkle-faced, made-in-Taiwan inflatable dolls (for $13.95 and up) since their debut at a show of Reagan-inspired art in Queens, N.Y. last month. It may be the start of a new trend, theorized Henry Allen of the Washington Post, who sees countless opportunities for Thomas to add to his line. Among them: the White House staff dolls—blow them up and listen to the leaks; the Bonzo doll—blow it up and the Reagan doll puts it to bed; and the ever-popular Media doll—blow it up and it blows everything out of proportion.
The Grass Is Always Greener
Dina Merrill went before a New Jersey jury late last month to testify about the character and green thumb of her gardener, Stanislaw Krasinski, 67, who was suing Band-Aid heir J. Seward Johnson and his wife for breach of promise. Krasinski and his wife, Maria, say Johnson promised them "lifetime jobs" on his 140-acre estate in Princeton. Stanislaw was the $20,000-a-year chief gardener, Maria the $17,000 household manager. But about a year after they were hired in 1977, the Krasinskis were fired. Johnson's wife accused Stanislaw of sprucing up a brown lawn by painting it green, which soiled her shoes at a tea party. Not so, said the gardener. Stockbroker heiress Merrill (she was born a Hutton—as in E.F.) said Stanislaw never painted a single blade on her four-acre Long Island estate, and "the gardens have never looked so beautiful." A Hutton may have spoken, but the jury didn't listen. It sided with the Johnsons.
Like a Brother
Chicago Mayor Jane Byrne has a reputation for making occasional inadvertent faux pas. For instance, when she was informed that the Rev. John R. Keating had been designated interim administrator of the Chicago Archdiocese (until a replacement for the late John Cardinal Cody is named), Herroner took the opportunity to reminisce. "Why, he was my first beau," gushed Jane, "my leading man, and a classmate throughout my grammar school years. He was the prince in our school play, Sleeping Beauty, and he took me to my first school dance. He was a terrific kid." Then she added, "And he's a wonderful priest."
•Fred Grandy not only plays Gopher on Love Boat, he recently co-scripted a two-hour segment of the show. Yet he complains about "all the sitting around. I could have become an M.D. in the time I spent in trailers on the set. I've often thought a guy could make a lot of money hiring a faculty to go and educate everyone on a TV show. You could call it the College of the Winnebagos."
•Patty Hearst graced the cover of this publication three months ago. But it was her darling daughter, Gillian, who most benefited from the exposure. Folks were so impressed by the beaming infant, who just turned 1, that she now has a Los Angeles agent to call her own and already has tested for a deodorant commercial.
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