TELL IT TO THE JUDGE: Before she made it big with a one-woman Broadway show, Whoopi Goldberg used to hang around the University of California campus at Berkeley trying out material. She recently returned to the campus, only this time she wasn't laughed at or applauded—she was arrested and charged with blocking a public entrance. Goldberg had joined a student protest against apartheid in South Africa. Sporting an oversize jacket and her trademark dreadlocks, the comic actress wasn't recognized by the arresting officer. In fact he wasn't sure of her sex, asking her if she was a man or a woman. Huffed Goldberg to the San Francisco Examiner, "I declined to answer."
NORMAN IT ISN'T YOU: It does seem that Hollywood has more awards to give out than there are performers. At a dinner honoring writer and broadcast pioneer Norman Corwin, speaker Norman Lear drove this point home. The creator of All in the Family recalled having been the guest of honor for an award. Quipped Lear: "I was delighted to be named Humanitarian of the Year until two days later, when I learned it had been first offered to Sylvester Stallone."
AUTOMATIC GERE SHIFT: Is Richard Gere thinking about becoming a father, settling down, staying out of fights, joining the yuppies? "I think that something happens when you get to 35," he told a London newspaper recently. "You start saying to yourself, 'Hmmmm, that wouldn't be bad at all, holding your own little kid and going goo-goo, baa-baa! When you're 20 you don't think that at all. You think someone should be going goo-goo, baa-baa to you."
CHRISTMASSY CAROL: Some of the fastest thinking in showbiz used to occur on The Carol Burnett Show, when the comedian would answer impromptu questions from the audience. While visiting Duke University as a guest speaker, Burnett said that during the 11-year run of the show she was stumped only once. "It was August, but we were taping our Christmas show, so I warned the audience not to be surprised by all the carols and snowflakes," Burnett recalled. "When the taping began and I turned to the audience, a man stood up and asked me what I got for Christmas."
FLY IN MY SOUP: When Shirley Simmons—mother of health nut Richard Simmons—isn't doing TV commercials for Citibank credit cards, she's home in New Orleans making soup. Once or twice a month Richard calls Shirley and asks for one of his favorite culinary concoctions—mushroom, zucchini or vegetable soup. Actually, according to Shirley, he really doesn't have to ask. "He just says, 'Mommy,' and I know what he wants." Then Shirley packs the soup on ice, calls a limousine and takes it right out to the airport. She gets the precious food on a plane before 9 a.m., which means Richard will have it in Los Angeles by lunchtime. The tab: $100 per shipment. "But who cares what it costs?" asks Shirley. "He's my baby. I'd do anything in the world for him."
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