IT TURNED INTO A DOCUDRAMA: Neither Madonna
nor Sean Penn has commented on rumors that their marriage is in trouble. But according to British TV director Geoff Wonfor, problems were brewing way back last winter while the duo was filming Shanghai Surprised Hong Kong. He told London's Daily Mirror that when British TV hostess Paula Yates (now Mrs. Bob Geldof) turned up on the set to film Hand Made in Hong Kong, a documentary about the making of the movie, Madonna
thought she saw Sean giving platinum-haired Paula the eye. Madonna
, Wonfor recalls, marched Penn off to her van, where the director overheard banging and shouting. "It was obvious Madonna
was jealous of Paula," he says. "Paula blew Madonna
off the set lookswise, and she knew it." Yates's TV special lacked an interview with Madonna
. On the other hand it was probably seen by more people than the movie. No surprise there.
MAYBE THOSE TROUBLED WATERS WERE MERELY BAD PLUMBING: Two decades before Graceland proved Paul Simon a musicmaker for the '80s, Art Garfunkel's best friend took a guitar into the bathroom of his parents' Queens, N.Y. home, closed the door, turned off the light and turned on the water faucet full blast. When he started singing, The Sounds of Silence were heard. "I used to write in the bathroom all the time," Simon says. "I like the sound of running water. It makes peaceful sounds. I'd go in, turn the water on, turn the lights off, play guitar and sing. 'Hello, darkness, my old friend'—that song was very much in tune with the times." And a watershed, no less.
C'MON, GIVE HER A BREAK: Ever since she announced that she's on a diet, Nell Carter finds it impossible to eat fattening foods in public. "Somebody always yells out, 'You're supposed to be on a diet!' " complains Nell. "That happened to me in Vienna. I went out for lunch at the Intercontinental—one of the biggest hotels in town—and I said, 'These tortes look too good. I have to have a torte.' So I order a torte and a cappuccino. And out of the blue, this lady screams, 'Nell, don't do it!' I mean, how did she find me? So I left. But I'm going to go back next time, buy some cake and take it home to eat."
PUGNACIOUS PILLOW TALK: Tarttongued rock 'n' roll star Ted Nugent made his debut as an unguided missile of the airwaves when he sat in as the early morning deejay on WLLZ-FM in his hometown of Detroit. In addition to waking listeners with earsplitting renditions of his own songs (which he accompanied on an electric guitar), Nugent angered friends in California by calling them for impromptu phone interviews at 6:30 a.m. their time. He traded tongue lashings with groggy Gene Simmons of Kiss and teased Cathy Lee Crosby about her relationship with ex-Redskin Joe Theismann. Then he woke Van Halen lead singer Sammy Hagar. "I figured it was time to get your motley ass out of bed," explained Nugent. Hagar, delivering a tirade about Nugent's boundless selfishness, sounded none too pleased. "Get this straight!" he screamed. "You were crazy to do this to me!" But he also realized a good publicity opportunity—and proceeded to chat with his uninvited wake-up caller for another 15 minutes.
HOORAY FOR DOLLYWOOD: On a plane back to Dollywood, her Tennessee theme park, after performing at Disney World's 15th-birthday bash, Dolly Parton admitted, "Following Disney World is like following a road grader with a spoon." Still, not to be outdone, the immensely metaphorical star noted her own assets: "Disney World may have its Space Mountain—but Dollywood has its twin peaks." A fellow airline passenger chided, "Dolly, you're being tacky." To which she instantly replied, "Yeah, and you love it." Yeah.