It happens all the time. An unsuspecting story subject, having just finished a PEOPLE interview, is approached by a photographer who asks him—or her—to climb into a bathtub full of spaghetti. Or kiss a 350-pound pig. Or get naked with the alligator of his choice. "It's art," explains the photographer. "It's weird," replies the celebrity. Nonetheless, goaded by vanity, good grace or simply a love of pigs, he often gives in. The resulting photos give PEOPLE its visual sprightliness, that incomparable sense of men and women having fun with the camera. These pictures were culled from three categories that have emerged over the years: Celebs in the Sack, Celebs in the Bath and Celebs with Beasts.
Sweethearts at the time, Margeaux Hemingway and Bernard Foucher are now married bedfellows (1979).
In Rome, paparazzi drove Liza Minnelli undercover (1976).
A bear cub's wake-up call roused Van Cliburn from hibernation (1980).
When Hanta Yo author Ruth Beebe Hill asked Chunksa Yuha, her research source on the best-seller, to move in, hubby Buzzy didn't budge (1979).
Talia Shire stayed close after son Matthew's near-fatal blood infection (1977).
Simon Bond's 101 Uses for a Dead Cat drew fire from a revenge-minded hit kitty (1981).
For comedian Steve Martin, one man's meat was another man's Persian (1980).
After Kate Jackson quit Charlie's Angels, it was goodbye Jaclyn and Cheryl, hello Catcher and Rocket (1982).
At his Pennsylvania farm, painter Jamie Wyeth went snout-to-snout with his pig, Baby Jane, as his Lab, Kleberg, looked on (1981).
In Cambridge, N.Y. a group of monks went to the dogs, turning their monastery into a training kennel (1978).
Mary had a little lamb, but no press agent. Ursula Andress and friend shared a woolly relationship (1980).
Mistaken for a statue of Millard Fillmore, comedian Rodney Dangerfield got no respect from a pigeon (1980).
Desmond Morris, reptile fancier and author of The Naked Ape, took it on the nose from a fun-loving tortoise (1980).
Under Mikhail Baryshnikov's tutelage, New York dancer Susan Jaffe became the toast of the American Ballet Theatre (1982).
Erica Jong's marital plunge with Jonathan Fast later went down the drain (1977).
Rub-a-dub-dub, that's Lech Walesa in the tub, attended by son Przemek (1981).
Mechanic Gernot Hoelscher's pet likes a bathmate he can get his teeth into (1979).
Some readers accused feminists Germaine Greer (with foot in mouth, 1979) and Gloria Steinem (1983) of trying to have their cheesecake and carp about it, too. Nonsense, said Steinem: "It made sense in the context of the story, and a hot bath is the way I relax."
While hawking his 1982 book, Growing Up, humorist Russell Baker was determined not to do anything that Henry James wouldn't have done. Then PEOPLE'S photographer asked him to sit in a laundry tub.
Carbohydrate loading, anyone? Singer Joe Dolce piled on the pasta to promote his paesano put-on, Shaddap You Face (1981).