How Fleet It Is!

updated 12/28/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/28/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

In the future everyone will be world famous for 15 minutes. So said the late Andy Warhol in 1968. Well, Andy, the future is now, and your observation has never seemed more prophetic. Fame's spotlight darts here and there, plucking unknowns from the crowd, then plunging them back into obscurity. Herewith, 1987's flashes in various pans, with our expert estimates of the respective minutes each spent in the limelight.

Judge Robert Bork, the man with the beard who was President Reagan's first Supreme Court nominee of 1987, occupied center stage for much of the summer before being hustled off into history's wings. Almost immediately, Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg, another man with a beard, popped in to say hello and—history repeating itself as farce—got the hook before the curtain was even properly up. Anthony Kennedy, Reagan's next nominee for the Supreme Court, is clean-shaven.

Sports fans will miss James "Bone-crusher" Smith, the World Boxing Association heavyweight champion for 85 days. Apart from a two-fisted nickname and a degree in business administration (making him the first heavyweight champ to have graduated from college), Smith, 34, had strong survival instincts. While losing to Mike Tyson in March, he gave a convincing impersonation of Ginger Rogers. Then, after a loss to someone named Adilson Rodrigues, Smith hung up his gloves, leaving the world, for himself at least, a much safer place.

In September the Soviet Union sent aloft a research satellite that carried rats, lizards, newts, insects and fish—and two monkeys. The idea was to study the effects of weightlessness on animal life. After only five days one of the monkeys, Yerosha (meaning "Troublemaker"), worked a paw loose and played "Simian Says" with the controls. The capsule landed sooner than expected, hundreds of miles off course in Siberia—an appropriate destination for a primate who threw a monkey wrench into the Soviet space program.

Romina Danielson, 24, showed up at Joan Collins' divorce trial last July with titillating tales of Peter Holm's caddishness. She testified that she and Joan's hubby, Holm, had been lovers throughout both of their marriages and that Holm had told her about a plan to squeeze Collins for alimony. Overcome by emotion as she testified, Daniel-son, whom Holm called Passion Flower, grew faint and keeled over dramatically. Latest word is that she has fully recovered and is now weighing an offer for a layout in Penthouse.

Mathias Rust got into the headlines the hard way—on May 28 he flew a small plane through the Soviet Union's vaunted air defense system, landing on the edge of Moscow's Red Square. Climbing from the cockpit, Rust, a 19-year-old West German, signed autographs for astounded Muscovites and foreign tourists. Authorities, however, were not amused, especially those whose careers were dependent on preventing such unwelcome surprises. Rust said his flight was intended to dramatize his unhappiness with the way the superpowers were handling disarmament. For the next four years, barring a pardon, all his mail should be addressed c/o the Gulag.

The King has been dead for 10 years, but he left behind plenty to remember him by. There is, of course, his music; there is Graceland; there is Priscilla; and there is Lisa Marie, 19, his only child. Or is she? Last spring two women, Desiree Presley (bottom), 29, and Deborah Presley, 31, both claimed to be living, breathing (and competing) daughters of Elvis. There was a book (by Desiree's mother) and an unpublished manuscript (by Deborah). There were TV appearances by both of them. And then there was silence. Will Elvis produce more would-be heirs? It's not inconceivable.

James Bond has always been a love 'em and forget 'em kind of guy; the remarkable thing is that everyone else has been forgetting 'em too. Oh sure, among Bond's movie women, Ursula Andress, Diana Rigg and Jill St. John achieved a measure of fame, but the likes of Carole Bouquet, Daniela Bianchi and Mie Hama—well, we rest our case. And last summer along came Maryam d'Abo, 26, playing a Czech cellist to Timothy Dalton's brand-new 007. Maryam, a true d'Aboriginal, pouted at the very idea that she was being asked to portray a bimbo. Anyway, she loved Bond, left him and is now, as they say, fielding offers.

Lynn Armandt, hitherto known only to patrons of her Miami bikini boutique, proved that while fame may be fleeting, friendship isn't exactly forever either. As Gary Hart and Donna Rice were denying they were anything but friends, Armandt, 30, announced that there had, indeed, been monkey business aboard the Monkey Business.

To mark the 40th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's breaking of baseball's color line, ABC's Nightline last April invited Los Angeles Dodgers Vice President Al Campanis to say a few suitable words. Responding to Ted Koppel's question about the paucity of blacks in baseball management, Campanis, 70, said that blacks lacked the "necessities" for such lofty employment. He compared this disability with blacks' alleged lack of "buoyancy." The resulting uproar cost Campanis his job. Since then, a contrite Campanis has been lecturing on the national pastime's racial inequalities.

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