updated 08/24/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/24/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

WHO'S THAT GIRL?: Reclusive Marlene Dietrich, 85, who could teach Sean Penn a thing or two about avoiding the press, has broken her near-total silence to upbraid Sean's wife. Told there was a story going around that Madonna has a date to see her to talk about remaking Dietrich's 1930 classic, The Blue Angel, Dietrich didn't take it sitting down. "I have no intention, nor have I been contacted, to meet this Miss Madonna," she declared from her home in Paris. Madonna, you may have to find new material, girl.

TO AIR IS HUMAN: While other Miami radio personalities denigrate Don Johnson for being snooty, steadfast Stan Major, a talk show host at station WINZ, regularly extols Don's virtues and has repeatedly begged the Miami Vice star—over the airwaves—to call in. Lo and behold, when Major had MV's Michael Talbott on his show, the normally evasive Johnson phoned from a local golf course and chatted for a good five minutes. "It was like talking with someone you didn't know was a celebrity," gushed Major. Afterward, according to a colleague, Stan stayed late at the station, listening again and again to a tape of his five-minute conversation with Johnson. Don can really knock a guy's socks off that way.

GRINDING IT OUT: You won't hear Stephen King, the horror story prince, trying to pass off his multimillion-dollar craft as high art. King, whose collected works exceed 25 titles, including his current best-seller, Misery, was asked by the Boston Globe Magazine if he had ever "discussed literary productivity" with the equally prolific Joyce Carol Oates, novelist, essayist and short story writer. "No," said King. "We're both high-profile writers. She gets a lot of ink because she's a very good writer, a classy writer. And I get a lot of ink because I make a lot of money. I'm a salami writer. I try to write good salami, but salami is salami."

SAME CRIME, DIFFERENT TIME: A St. Louis area woman beginning a five-year prison sentence for promoting prostitution must be taking scant comfort from Sydney Biddle Barrows' gift to her, a copy of Barrows' bestseller, Mayflower Madam. Barrows, a descendant of the Pilgrims, was fined only $5,000 in 1986 for running a high-class call girl ring in Manhattan. Although convicted madam Marsha Christine Fredrickson's Golden Goddess massage parlor in Jefferson County, Mo. (featuring water beds and mirrored doors), was a far cry from Barrows' swank operation, Barrows sympathized with a kindred spirit. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Barrows sent her a copy of the book, inscribing it, "I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed living it. My heart breaks for you.... All you ever did was try to make people happy." Working girls have to stick together.

EMBOSSED: Bruce Springsteen still delights in showing up for impromptu sessions at clubs in his beloved home state, New Jersey. Recently, Bruce thrilled the crowd at the Stone Pony, an old haunt in Asbury Park, when he joined rocker Marshall Crenshaw to rev up La Bamba and the bar band classic Twist and Shout. Crenshaw, who plays Buddy Holly in the movie La Bamba, lent the Boss his gold Stratocaster guitar. "I deliberately gave it to him hoping that some of his good vibes would rub off on me," he said. When the two talked afterward, Crenshaw reports, "Bruce said a lot of nice things. He said he was a fan of mine." Music, no doubt, to Marshall's ears.

TRESS STRESS: Never, but never, dismiss screen god Robert Redford as just another blond. The b-word really gets the actor-director's dandruff up. "I have never felt my coloring," he told the British weekly Woman. "I have always felt like a dark-haired person. I don't relate to my screen image." Even his close friends don't refer to his natural hair coloring as blond. "Bobby likes to think he has yellow hair," said one. Indeed, Redford described himself as "an ordinary type guy with yellow hair."

From Our Partners