Being traded from L.A. to San Diego didn't keep superstar hoopster Norman Nixon from breaking into showbiz. Nixon will make his acting debut later this month on TV's Fame, playing a pro basketball player who sweeps Debbie Allen's Lydia Grant character off her feet. The highly romantic episode leaves open the question of whether he will come back to the show next season—a possibility that seems more distinct now that Nixon, 28, and Allen, 31, have eloped (they're currently honeymooning in Europe). And if that isn't pull enough, Allen, the show's star, choreographer and sometime director, has successfully negotiated to become Fame's producer next season.
From the folks who bring us the "Q" ratings of performers' popularity now come this year's rankings of non-human celebs, compiled by surveying some 2,000 households. And the winners are...In the category of live animals: Morris the Cat. Among movie characters: the Ewoks. In the category of TV characters: KITT, the computerized car in Knight Rider. For animated food hucksters: the Pillsbury Poppin Fresh Doughboy, who beat out Cap'n Crunch by a wide margin. Since advertisers are guided by the "Q"s, you can expect to see these winners more often.
"Everybody knows," says a source close to the royal family of Monaco, "that this is a place where people with money go to make more of it." Stefano Casiraghi is no exception. Just four months after marrying Princess Grace's daughter Caroline, Casiraghi is hoping to profit from two Monte Carlo concerns. Stefano recently bought the principality's Dior boutique with a group of Italian friends, and now he has purchased an old Ford showroom and garage from which he plans to market "prestige" autos.
General Foods' new diet Kool-Aid-style drink mix, Crystal Light, will soon be supported by an ad campaign featuring Linda Evans and in a minor role stepdaughter Sean Derek, 30. Evans, whose Dynasty character is named Krystle, stars in a commercial in which she bounds through a mock exercise session. Working out with her are Sean (John Derek's daughter by his first wife, Patti Behrs) and Veronica Ali, Muhammad's wife.
Tony Bennett, Liza Minnelli and Frank Sinatra may not find Chicago quite such a toddlin' town these days. The three performers were "grossly overpaid" by Mayor Jane Byrne, according to the Windy City's Better Government Association. In a suit against Byrne, the association alleges that for appearing at her much-ballyhooed Chicago festivals the Mayor paid Sinatra $235,000, Minnelli $245,000 (for two performances) and Bennett $50,000—without first obtaining the necessary city council approval. In the case of Bennett, an association lawyer says, "That is 100 percent more than he normally gets." (A spokesman for Bennett said the city upped its original offer after Tony initially refused to do the show.) Adds the association's legal counsel, "We are arguing that Frank, Liza and Tony should pay it back."