Chatter

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

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

"If there's one thing I've learned about Ronald Reagan over four years, it's that he is not as deaf as he appears to be," ABC White House Correspondent Sam Donaldson told a crowd at Washington, D.C.'s American Univeristy. "That's a protective device. I'm just using this as a hypothetical example, but just go anywhere near him and try whispering, 'Nancy has fat ankles.' That old boy will turn around and slay you."

"Photos of celebrities who've taken their clothes off get dragged out every so often. I wanted to set the record straight." That's how Suzanne Somers explains the photos of herself that appear in this month's Playboy. As Suzanne tells it, Playboy published some test shots that were taken of her in 1970 and she wasn't happy to leave it at that. "To have these be the only nude pictures of me was terrible—I'd had a baby, I was fat," she says. "Now I've spent six years on the road staying in shape and I've never looked better. I figured as long as there were already nude pictures of me out then, I'd rather have them done right." After the latest overexposure, Suzanne, 38, can rest easy. She thought the new nude photos were "very tasteful. There's nothing gynecological about them."

You probably remember her as the long-suffering mom in Lost in Space and Lassie. Well, June Lockhart is back again in another sugar-coated role: She plays a kindly grandmother on General Hospital. "I'm always cast as a nice person because that's what people remember me for," says Lock-hart, 59. "But I'm no Pollyanna, believe me. I've played a few bitches in my time. One of my favorites was in an episode of Gun-smoke, where I played a woman named Crazy Beulah. She was an alcoholic, a nymphomaniac and a murderer with the mind of a 12-year-old." Recalls Lockhart fondly: "It sure was fun for a change."

Stuck for a Christmas gift for your no-longer-loved one? For $750 Shannon McCullough, owner of an L.A. catering service called City Soiree, will send your ex a Christmas Divorce Basket containing a 10-ounce jar of sour grapes, assorted "date" breads and a certificate good for a consultation with divorce lawyer Marvin Mitchelson. Buyers beware: Given Mitchelson's success at obtaining alimony, this could be a gift that keeps on giving. Ho ho ho.

Known best for her long acting career, Geraldine Fitzgerald really lets her hair down to practice another form of entertainment: singing. During the past decade, she has appeared around the country in a musical revue called Street Songs, developed from the songs she likes to sing to herself while strolling city sidewalks. Though Geraldine's gritty voice proved a hit in the clubs, it hasn't done much for her status in the streets. "The city noise is so great that people can't actually hear these strange sounds I'm making," she says. "They just see me moving my mouth around and they think, 'She's really going nuts.' Also, because I don't have my hair done in a fashionable way, the people who really recognize me as one of their own are the shopping-bag ladies. They often say things like, 'It's pretty cold for us today, isn't it?' "

Phil Donahue stood outside the ballroom in New York City's Pierre Hotel after a black-tie bash. "Phil!" a woman's voice shrieked from the hallway behind him. He spun around just in time for Bette Midler to throw her arms around him for a friendly peck on the cheek. Not realizing anyone could hear, Phil made an allusion to some sort of private spat between the two. "Bette, do you still love me?" he asked grinning. "Of course, I do," she replied. Phil added skeptically, "Oh, I bet you say that to Merv Griffin, too!"

When Michael Jackson checked into Seattle's Swedish Hospital this fall, a local newspaper printed a brief paragraph with details about the exploratory exam Jackson needed on a damaged knee. More than 100 Jackson fans read the news and showed up at the hospital, only to discover that the patient was Seattle Seahawks' linebacker Michael Jackson. "I don't even know the words to Billie Jean, and my voice is a lot lower than Michael's," Jackson says. "If it wasn't, I don't think I'd be playing in the NFL."

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