It's A.M. Mayhem as Sylvia Miles and Her Ex Go at It on the Air

updated 10/31/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 10/31/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

Dearly Bewildered: We are gathered here today to celebrate unholy acrimony. Sitting in a high-back metal chair is New York morning-radio deejay Ted (WNEW-AM) Brown. Perched across from him is the second Mrs. Ted Brown (of an eventual three), actress Sylvia (Crossing Delancey) Miles. Although they've been divorced for 18 years and admit crossing not only Delancey but any other street to avoid each other, the ex-couple have decided to have it out on the air. Miles, 56, is hissing mad at Brown, 53. In a recent PEOPLE profile (Oct. 10) of the actress, Brown slammed her as only an alimony-paying former husband could. She'll never remarry, he said for the record. "Godzilla wouldn't have her."

Moments before they go on the air, Brown, who says he has forked over more than $200,000 in alimony payments, takes a financial jab at Miles. "You got a hundred grand for that picture with James Mason [Evil Under the Sun]," he says accusingly. "If you're gonna talk about money," shrieks Miles, rising from her chair, "I'm gonna walk out!" A second later, Miles complains about the microphone being too close to her. "That's what I was before I married you," Brown replies.

So much for the warm-up. The live show gets under way, and both unleash the heavy artillery. Why didn't their four-year marriage last? "I wanted to have kids and you didn't," Brown tells Miles and 90,000 listeners. "Ted, you remember when I had a miscarriage on the second floor of Blooming-dale's?" retorts Miles. "I called you up on the air to tell you, and you said, 'So why didn't you go to Saks?' "

"Hold it!" says Brown. "You didn't tell 'em about taking a hot bath and going down to Coney Island on the Whip!" Sweet memories.

Fortunately the bombs explode early, and white flags eventually fly in the cramped studio in Manhattan. Brown, recently widowed, and Miles, who has never remarried and is presently unattached, reminisce about old friends and fun times. Ted compliments Sylvia on her success and urges listeners to see her off-Broadway play, Tea with Mommy and Jack. As a peace offering Sylvia promises to take Ted to the Oscars if she's nominated for Crossing Delancey. (They separated before she could take him for her Midnight Cowboy nomination in 1969.) Before parting, the twosome end their fire-fight with a hug and a kiss. "Not too many battle scars," shrugs Sylvia. "Well, that's showbiz. Everything's forgiven when it comes to a plug."

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