Take One

updated 02/09/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/09/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

Songwriter Andrew Lloyd Webber, whose Starlight Express opens on Broadway on Feb. 26, found an odd reason to fill the musical staff for his cellist brother, Julian. Andrew wrote Variations, the title cut on the album Julian releases this month, as a penalty for losing a fraternal soccer bet in 1977. No doubt the wager paid off for both of them since the original version written for cello and rock band hit No. 2 on the British pop charts in 1978. Variations, based on a Paganini theme and newly orchestrated for the current release, also fits into the score of Andrew's 1985 musical Song & Dance. Still, the brothers never again made a bet for music or cash. "It wouldn't really count," says Julian, "because Andrew's got more money than me."

If the expected 3,000 visitors to Punxsutawney, Pa. (pop. 8,000) don't block the sun altogether, the world's first star groundhog might just see his shadow, signaling six more weeks of winter. Feb. 2 supposedly marks a 100th anniversary of Punxsutawney Phil and the town is throwing a four-day celebration in his honor. But like too many stars, Phil has a secret: He doesn't actually live in a hole on Gobbler's Knob, the town's highest point. He resides in a comfy cage more than a mile away and gets a ride there for the big day. As for this being his 100th trip, just remember, most stars lie about their ages.

Give the showiest no-show prize to actor John Cleese. When he couldn't make it in person to the London Standard Film Awards, he sent a video message to accept a prize for playing a zany headmaster in Clockwise. Holding his trophy—a crystal goblet—he thanked everyone from Eleanor Roosevelt to Kierkegaard. "Most of all, I thank you, the general public, and since this is for you..." Cleese added as he dropped the goblet to the floor, where it smashed, "you can all have a piece of it now."

The latest noise from the music world: Willie Nelson will soon begin an autobiography with help from writer Bud Shrake, who also wrote Nelson's 1985 film Songwriter. "This book will surprise a lot of people," says Shrake. "Willie has wide-ranging interests, like mysticism, spiritualism and reincarnation. He's kind of a Baptist-Buddhist-Hindu." Maybe in another life he was married to Shirley MacLaine.... Prince's onetime proteges, members of the band the Time, have found a new leader since they split with singer Morris Day. Some of them appeared on Janet Jackson's Confro/video, and now they plan to make a movie, cut a sound-track album and tour with her.... Run-D.M.C. has finished a film, Tougher Than Leather, that will co-star director Sidney Lumet's daughter Jenny. New Yorkers can get a preview of Jenny since she works as a door-person at the Manhattan nightclub Tunnel. Asked for advance word on the movie, the leader of Run simply says, "It's a mystery...to you!"

Lee Iacocca, whose divorce papers are on the drawing board, seems to be shadowing Henry Ford. When Lee wed soon-to-be-ex-wife Peggy last April he bought her one of Ford's old Grosse Pointe, Mich, mansions. But the lovebirds never moved in, and the house was sold off for an estimated $800,000. Now Iacocca and another partner, Donald Trump, have purchased a $40 million, 32-story twin-tower condominium complex in West Palm Beach. From his new apartment, the Chrysler boss can look over on Ford's ocean-front home.

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