On the air Johnny Carson has treated his impending divorce from wife Joanna with wry humor, but off camera Johnny has been very unhappy about the split. Just how unhappy? According to The Tonight Show's regular guest host, Joan Rivers, "Johnny became deeply depressed" after the breakup last March. "It was, after all, his third marriage, and I don't think either of them wanted to end it," Rivers says. "It took him some months to move through his depression. I adore Johnny and was worried about him. But he pulled through, and the show is a lot livelier now. He can talk about his feelings—or at least he can joke about them." Well, sometimes. Carson was not amused during a Tonight Show taping when guest Dom DeLuise unleashed a string of jokes about the cost of the divorce settlement. But Dom didn't get the last laugh; his barbs were cut from the telecast.
Celebrity manager Jay Bernstein has a fondness for clients with twin initials; for example, he represented Farrah Fawcett and Suzanne Somers. Now, as executive producer of the new CBS series Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer, to premiere Jan. 26, Bernstein will introduce a new protégée, an unknown New York beauty whose initials are D.D. She'll make a fleeting appearance in every episode and will be called only "The Face." Under contract not to reveal her true identity, D.D. is one of 5,000 hopefuls Bernstein has interviewed for the series so far—Hammer likes lookers, remember. "I see about 40 women a day," says Bernstein, who has gotten casting down to a science. "I have a rating system—10 points each for face, body and talent." Evidently, D.D. got a 10 for face in her low-profile, non-speaking role, but her scores for body and talent are another of Mickey's mysteries.
Bianca Jagger, Studio 54's high priestess in the past, has been holding court lately at Manhattan's new Limelight disco—in, of all places, the parlor of the women's room. Though private party rooms are available (for $200 a night), Bianca prefers the soft lighting and apricot decor of the ladies' lounge (at no charge), where she recently entertained a coed entourage with 18 bottles of Dom Perignon. The popping corks even drowned out the sound of running water. Now that's ambiance....
Meanwhile, former Studio 54 owner Steve Rubell hopes to win back such old customers when he opens a new club in Manhattan, possibly by next fall. He hasn't settled on a property but is eyeing the Palladium Theatre on 14th Street and another spot that has a swimming pool. Bianca, are you listening?
If you have developed an aversion to cabbage in recent weeks, don't read this item. But if you can't get enough of those pudgy Patch Kids, you'll be delighted to know that by next summer you can adopt Coleco cabbage dolls of Oriental and American Indian descent. That's ethnic enterprise for you.
In an upcoming American Express commercial, British actor Ben (Chariots of Fire) Cross contends he never leaves his home without his card. If so, he must have been a real homebody until recently. It seems American Express repeatedly rejected Cross' applications for a card until he was recruited for the commercial, then hastily punched his name in plastic before shooting began. Now Ben has two cards—for personal and business use—and can leave home whenever he wants.
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