Take One

updated 12/10/1984 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/10/1984 AT 01:00 AM EST

Seldom seen since he slipped off Saturday Night Live four years ago, Garrett Morris will reappear as the mean-spirited title character of The Census Taker, an independent feature due in February. "I had to use all my acting lessons from Uta Hagen and get my essential niceness out of the way," says Morris, who, as a government functionary, delights in spreading malicious gossip throughout the neighborhood. He calls the film a "macabre comedy," noting that "the term black comedy doesn't sit well with me." Midway through the movie he gets shot, which brought cheers from the film crew. "I think it was a compliment for my acting ability," says Morris, "but it might have been something they wanted to do anyway."

In the "How's that again?" category, Elizabeth Arden is about to announce the names of its "Ten Best-Dressed Faces" of 1984. The distinguishing characteristic of these women, says Arden executive Glenn Roberts, is not that they were born beautiful but that they "have made the most of what nature has given them." Honorees Joan Rivers, Diane Sawyer, the "new" Elizabeth Taylor, Diahann Carroll, Geraldine Ferraro, Shirley MacLaine, Jacqueline Onassis, Dolly Parton, Suzette Charles and Angela Lansbury will no doubt be delighted.

Secrecy abounds on the subject of Television Parts, the NBC mid-season replacement show produced by former Monkee, Michael Nesmith. But comedian Garry Shandling offers the scoop on his video, the first segment in the show's pilot. It is based on a real-life episode when Shandling had a date with a beauty queen and was dismayed to find she wore her crown the entire evening. When he first saw her, he says, "This voice went through me: 'You're about to walk around with a girl wearing a crown. And you're 33 years old.' " In the video, he remarks, "Oh man, I'm underdressed, I should have worn my hat with the antlers on it." The clip's beauty will hail from Maryland, but, Shandling notes, "The state was changed to protect the innocent."

At a friend's wedding last month, Olivia Newton-John caught the bridal bouquet, and her beau, Matt Lattanzi, snagged the garter. Appropriately, Newton-John, 36, and Lattanzi, 25, soon announced their own engagement. They'll wed before year's end....

What price real estate? Muhammad Ali's five-bedroom L.A. home, with pool and servants' quarters, is available for $2.35 million. Something more exotic? The ultramodern circular house seen in Brian De Palma's Body Double is also up for grabs. Built on a 30-foot pedestal, it has a funicular railway from the front door to a hillside landing. A steal at $1.05 million.

Penny Marshall has done a lot of physical comedy in her time, but, says she, "I always hurt afterward." So training for her new TV-movie Triathlon has been a stretch. Penny plays a divorced mother who renews her self-image by swimming, running and biking in a triathlon. "I took this job because I've never exercised in my life," says Marshall. "I thought, 'They'll pay me to get healthy and stop smoking.' Now I can't eat anything I like and I've been walking, running and going to the gym every day and getting sore." Is she ready to try a real triathlon? "Oh no. Those people are crazy."

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