Take One

updated 07/27/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/27/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Author Alex (Roots) Haley may be planting his own electronic family tree. Stan Shaw, 34, who played the author's grandfather in 1979's Roots II, will play a rural black Southerner who moves to Chicago with his family for a better life in Haley's next TV project, Booker. Haley is still at work on the 10-hour ABC miniseries, which is scheduled for next season. Says Shaw: "Roots was the definitive TV slave event. This is not another of those 'Yassuh, we gwine to escape' stories. Doing another slave history is like doing the Holocaust miniseries over and over. You finish with it and go on."

In L.A., where the closest thing to a weather forecast is the ever-changing condition of the engagement of Rob Lowe and Melissa Gilbert, a recent week went like this: Engagement off, engagement on, engagement off. Melissa has even moved back with her mom and never wants to see Rob again. Only days before, Rob and Melissa were house hunting in Brentwood when her Acura got tangled up with a Jaguar. The then lovebirds were taken to Cedars-Sinai hospital, examined and released the same day. But not before pleading with staff to let them share the same examining room. (Request fulfilled.) Will this storm blow over, or what?

Princess Stephanie, who had her own romantic run-in with Lowe last year, has just cut her first record in the U.S. As yet untitled, it is due out in September. Her first single ever, Irresistible, recorded last year in Europe, was a chart buster overseas...

Score two firsts for Fame's Nia Peebles, 25, who is cutting her first album and appears in her first movie, North Shore, opening next month.

Director Michael (Heaven's Gate) Cimino is stirring things up again. Just two months before starting his latest movie—about Michael Collins, an Irish revolutionary hero—Cimino fired his first scriptwriter and production manager. Cimino also told the current screenwriter, Robert (The Mission) Bolt, that his script "needs rewriting." Bolt is still recovering from a 1980 stroke and can use only one hand.

Fifties sexpot Mamie Van Doren's tell-all tome, Playing the Field, due out in September, was so raunchy that one tabloid backed off from serializing the book. So attorneys forced her to delete, among other tidbits, the name of a sports figure who Van Doren, now 54, says made her pregnant. (She then had an abortion.) Friends and lovers whose names weren't stricken during the legal sweep include Burt Reynolds, Henry Kissinger, Warren Beatty, Howard Hughes and Steve McQueen.

One moviegoer who finds the wardrobe in The Untouchables impeccable is Giorgio Armani. The Italian design deity had one month to create and stitch together 500 1930s-style suits, shirts, ties and hats for the cast, except for Robert De Niro, whose personal tailor took care of his outerwear. Armani is particularly proud of the killer clothes he made for Frank Nitti (played by Billy Drago). To highlight Nitti's mean mug, Armani dressed Drago in angelic colors. "I chose shiny fabrics in tones of ice white and cream. He seems like a ghost of death."

Name this movie: A young handsome hero walks past a recruiting station and watches wistfully as a sign painter prints "TOP GU" on a window. Our hero marches in and unknowingly signs up for a 14-week dental course. The movie is Top Gum, a 22-minute featurette, premiering in August on cable. The spoof was written, produced and directed by Ray Cecire, 27, a onetime junior accountant for George Lucas' film company. The confused hero will ask meaningful patriotic questions: "Hey, when do I get my leather bomber jacket?" and "What about the shades?" Where is Kelly McGillis when you need her?

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