Following Karen Carpenter's untimely death, record industry people are wondering what A&M Records will do with a never-released solo album she recorded. It was made during 1979 and 1980, while brother Richard took a break from showbiz. "Karen couldn't be that way," says the album's producer, Phil Ramone. "She had to work." So she and Billy Joel's backup band cut 15 to 18 songs: country ballads, rock, disco—a change from her mellow sound. By the time the untitled recording was finished, though, Richard and Karen were working together again. So Karen's only solo effort was shelved. Ramone opposes releasing it now. "That would be destructive," he says. "The image of the Carpenters should be left specifically the way Richard and Karen were. She shouldn't be remembered as solo." A&M execs refuse to say what they'll do with it.
Hal Linden, the retired Capt. Barney Miller, shaved off his famed mustache for a cable TV production of I Do! I Do! So there he was, sitting in the Beverly Hills Hotel's Polo Lounge, the place where anybody who's anybody goes to be seen by everybody, with a naked upper lip. Funny, this guy looked like Hal Linden, but he didn't have a mustache. So it couldn't be the Hal Linden. The star, however, was prepared for just such a scenario. Out of his pocket he pulled a narrow strip of hair—a lip toupee—and he applied it, crookedly.
The Pretty American
Let there be no doubt in anyone's mind that China is becoming Westernized. Last month Deborah Raffin became the first American movie star to make a publicity tour of the People's Republic. Raffin was asked to Peking to promote her 1980 film Touched by Love, the story of a nurse who cares for a handicapped child. She is already a star in China, thanks to her 1977 TV movie Nightmare in Badham County, a tale of two young women who are subjected to false arrest and imprisonment (one gets raped) in a Neanderthal Southern town. Released theatrically in China, Nightmare was quite a hit, seen by an estimated 100 million people. As Raffin toured Peking, scores of people recognized her but couldn't remember her name. So, Raffin relates, lots of them were "pointing at me, shouting, 'Nightmare! Nightmare!' "
L.A. gossips are poo-pooing rampant reports that former California Gov. Jerry Brown is hot on the trail of writer-socialite Arianna Stassinopoulos. No, they say, it's still Linda Ronstadt who's No. 1 on his hit parade. How do they know? Well, according to L.A.'s Herald Examiner, it all has to do with Jerry's heating bill. A $200 tab for gas in his Hollywood Hills home got Brown red with rage, so he turned off his heat. But he's not sitting home turning blue. Instead, Jerry is said to be spending more and more time sunning himself at Ronstadt's Malibu house.
The Imperial Pension
Former Presidents aren't cheap. This year taxpayers will spend $27 million to support the life-styles to which former Commanders in Chief have become accustomed—with pensions (up to $80,100 a year), Secret Service protection, staff salaries and such. And to make matters worse, it's getting more expensive every day—only eight years ago the bill came to a comparatively paltry $6.2 million. But Sen. Lawton Chiles is trying to do something about it. The Florida Democrat has introduced a bill that would limit Secret Service protection for Presidents and their families after eight years. It also would allow each President only one personal library (Jerry Ford has two). What really irks Chiles is that at a time when welfare is being curtailed, the government has to pay for a platoon of bodyguards to accompany Ford on any golfing trip. Richard Nixon is just as bad, critics gripe. Jimmy Carter is more reasonable—but then he, like Nixon and Ford, is a millionaire anyway.