updated 10/12/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 10/12/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT
DIRECT HIT: Neil Simon's daughter Nancy, 25, directed the current version of her father's Tony-winning play Biloxi Blues in San Francisco. Father said she was brave to even attempt it because, he told the San Francisco Chronicle, "It's bad enough being with one boy, one to one, let alone directing eight." Doc, 60, says he hates the thought of stepping out from behind the typewriter and taking over the director's chair himself. "I don't do it because I don't relate to actors well—except offstage," says the prolific playwright, who once was married to actress Marsha (The Goodbye Girl) Mason. "I get impatient. I've had to step in a few times and take over, and my tendency is to say, 'Just shut up and do it.' "
HEAVYWEIGHT CHOMP: Muhammad Ali turned up at the Fontainebleau Hilton's chocolate festival in Miami Beach to hawk a new product, Champ Gourmet Chocolate Chip Cookies, made by Celebrity Products Inc., a Chicago company that pays royalties to the former pugilist. Ali said he agreed to represent the cookies because, "It's clean. It's not cigarettes." At the same time, Ali's latest wife, Yolanda (she's No. 4), reported that she won't be adding immediately to Ali's already large brood of six children. Says Yolanda: "There's nothing in the oven now but the cookies."
THE GAME OF THE NAME: Emmy-winning actress Jackée Harry, the vamping vixen of NBC's 227, says she changed her name two months ago to just plain Jackée (pronounced Jack-kay) because "people notice you with one name. It's like Cher and Madonna." Then she added, "It's like when you call the cows across the meadow. It's easier to call them when you scream one word, 'Jackée!' " She wasn't finished: "The name fits, and if people mispronounce it, I get the fun of jumping all over them." Now that makes sense.
KILLER REPENTS FOR LENT: At his 52nd-birthday party in Memphis, rockabilly legend Jerry Lee Lewis announced that he finally had given up booze and drugs(for the umpteenth time) at the request of his family, which now includes sixth wife Kerrie, 24, and three children. "It's a drag," admitted the Killer as he pounded away on the piano, "but they wanted me to do it. I gave it up for Lent, and I'm not even Catholic." Somebody give the man a calendar.
NO MORE DOG DAYS: There was a time, believe it or not, when James Woods couldn't even get an audition for dog food commercials. Now the first-time Emmy winner (Promise) and Oscar nominee for best actor (Salvador) is finding recognition as well as work. His latest movie, Bestseller, just opened, and he's got a handful of other movies in the works. Why is Jimmy so much in demand lately? "I think they've tried everybody else," he says. "They got rid of them finally, and now they're giving me a shot." The possibility of overexposure doesn't worry him. Says Woods: "I've already had enough underexposure."