Sean Lennon, 7, is being forced to get by without the help of a couple of his friends these days, thanks to a pair of bizarre legal situations confronting his mother, Yoko Ono. The mother of one of Sean's playmates, Caitlin Hair, 7, claims her daughter broke her arm while visiting Sean at a Lennon weekend home in Laurel Hollow, Long Island. So in September Margaret Hair sued Yoko for a cool $1 million, and Hair says Sean's mom has forbidden her son to associate with Caitlin. Then Sean lost the company of his longtime nanny, Helen Seaman, when Yoko asked her to take "a leave of absence" in the wake of a scandal involving her nephew, Fred Seaman. Once one of Lennon's closest aides, Seaman, 30, is being charged with grand larceny; Yoko claims he stole some of John's personal effects from their apartment following his death. (Seaman denies breaking the law.) Reportedly, Sean is heartbroken, but some good has come of it. According to a source close to the family, "It's forced Yoko to spend more time with Sean, to be an even better mother."
Opening the door to U.S.-China relations may not have kept Richard Nixon in the White House, but it wins him first-rate service at a Chinese restaurant near his Saddle River, N.J. home, according to a local paper. Since last spring, Nixon has taken to ordering out from the New China Chinese Restaurant in Montvale—and he sometimes picks up the food (mostly shrimp and vegetable plates) himself. When he does, according to owner Man Chan, the former President "shakes hands with everyone—waiters, cooks, even dishwashers. I have employees from Taiwan and Mainland China," he explains, "but all Chinese people like Richard Nixon."
Modified American Plan
A private trip to Britain by Michael Reagan, the President's 37-year-old adopted son, was nearly ruined by a secretary's error. Reagan, who arrived last week with his wife, Colleen, and son, Cameron, 4, was supposed to be booked for three nights at the four-star Grosvenor Hotel. Instead, an American Embassy employee wrote to the no-star Gloster Lodge Hotel, a converted semidetached house owned by a former garage manager named William Whitelaw and his wife. Says Whitelaw, "I suspected there had been a mistake when I saw how many rooms they wanted." The letter requested a suite for the Reagans, plus a security "command post" and an incredible 19 rooms for Secret Service. "Our two German shepherds would have kept them more secure," joked the no-frills Whitelaws, who only have eight rooms. The Reagans' room at the Gloster Lodge would have run $42 a night; their Grosvenor bill came to some $3,200.
Now that Melina Mercouri, long one of Greece's most visible cultural exports, is also Minister of Culture and Sciences, she wants to be known by her title—something Evangeline Gouletas-Carey, the Greek-born wife of New York's governor, found out the hard way. Speaking at a Hellenic Heritage Foundation dinner in New York, Engie, who was paying respects to some of the celebrities, introduced Melina without mentioning her government appointment. The orchestra struck up Never on Sunday, but Mercouri refused to budge from her seat. Embarrassed, Engie went over to Melina's table and apparently tried to apologize. No luck; Engie finished her speech. When the Governor spoke later, he made a point of calling Melina "Minister." That time, Mercouri rose.
During a recent trip to Paris, starlet Pia Zadora surprised her hosts by speaking moderately good French. "I spent three weeks listening to Berlitz tapes in bed every night," Pia revealed, adding that she had to tape her husband's hands together during study periods so he wouldn't, er, disturb her.