Take One

updated 09/14/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/14/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

One comedienne who can't get on David Letterman's show is Martha Raye, but it's not for lack of trying. Raye, 71, is suing the hip host of Late Night for $10 million, claiming he defamed her in his opening monologue last March when he said, "I saw the most terrifying commercial on television last night featuring Martha Raye, actress, condom user..." After NBC heard from her lawyers, Letterman issued a retraction, sort of, on April Fool's Day. He excused himself by stating that it was a "goof" of Raye's Polident commercial and that he did not intend to suggest she was a condom user. That hardly appeased Raye. "Letter-man's facial expression and tone of voice belied any sincerity, humility, genuineness or contrition whatever," claims the suit, filed in L.A. Superior Court. Raye contends that the original monologue made her out to be "sexually promiscuous, unchaste, of loose morals and therefore in need of the protection afforded by condoms." According to the suit, Raye's attorneys asked that she be allowed to appear on the show to make a statement. The request was denied. Meanwhile the Letterman camp and NBC are keeping mum. "We have received the lawsuit and it's under review," says Letterman spokesman Peter Spivey. Some hint of David's feelings may be found in the suit, which quotes him as saying on the air that entertainment lawyers are the biggest weasels "in all of weaseldom."

Power, charm and a souped-up car can get James Bond anywhere he needs to go, but Sean Connery, who has been in the business 34 years, knows that in real life it takes some high-powered publicity to nab that elusive quarry, the Oscar. So Connery, 57, has just hired the firm of PMK. Says a friend: "Sean's going to go after the Oscar for The Untouchables like Paul Newman went for it with The Color of Money. He's really going to haul ass."

How do you cast your vote when the Chairman of the Board runs for re-election each year? You vote "Yes." At least that's how it's been since 1975, when Frank Sinatra became head of the New York Friars Club, the venerable show business fraternity famous for its celebrity roasts and charity work. Up for reelection next month, Ol' Blue Eyes will run unopposed for his 13th consecutive unpaid term.

There were two major topics of dish after Columbia TV's party for Designing Women: the plunge of Delta Burke's neckline and the display of passion between Delta and her date, Gerald (Simon & Simon) McRaney. An insider says that the two are planning to tie the knot when the twice-married McRaney's divorce is final; they met in June when McRaney, 40, played one of Burke's numerous ex-husbands on Designing Women. "I don't think Delta's ever been in love like this," says Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, one of the show's executive producers. Apparently, not even prime time can keep the couple apart. This fall Burke, 30, who has never been married, will do a guest spot on Simon & Simon as one of McRaney's former girlfriends. In an effort to add an air of authenticity to the New York premiere of The Fourth Protocol—the recently released spy thriller starring Michael Caine and Pierce (Remington Steele) Brosnan—a London production company shipped Lorimar, the studio that made the film, a large crate labeled "Atomic Bomb Replica." Inside, about three feet high and weighing around 50 pounds, was a sure-enough replica of the bomb as researched by Protocol's author (and the film's executive producer), Frederick Forsyth. Lorimar publicist Samantha Dean was dreading the red tape she assumed would be involved until a call came from a U.S. Customs official, who advised her simply: "Your atomic bomb is here." "All they asked for was $228 for tax and clearance," says Dean. "They hadn't even bothered opening the crate." Sleep well, everybody.

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