Readers who wrote to express their appreciation of our cover story on the late Fred MacMurray (PEOPLE, Nov. 18) loved him for the fact that although he was a star, he played a higher role in their eyes—human being.
When I was 13 and in love with movies, movie stars and collecting every autograph I could, one star stood far and above the others—Fred MacMurray. After the preview of Double Indemnity in Glendale, Calif., the lights went on, and MacMurray was spotted in the loge. I ran to where he was sitting and signing autograph books. I was leaning over the seat in front of him and realized I did not have mine. No problem. "What's your name?" he asked. He took a book from another girl and wrote "Margaret, best wishes always." Then he tore the page out and handed it to me. That was 47 years ago, and I have never forgotten his kindness.
MARGARET WAUGH, Chico, Calif.
Your tribute to My Three Sons' Fred MacMurray was fitting for such a quietly successful man. Could you tell us what his "sons" are doing?
JAY DIABLO, Minneapolis
Tim Considine (Mike), 50, is a writer and photographer. Don Grady (Robbie), 47, is a producer and composer whose music credits include the theme song for Donahue. Barry Livingston (Ernie), 37, is an actor; he appears in Doogie Howser, M.D. as Dr. Rickett. His brother, Stanley Livingston (Chip), 41, has his own production company.—ED.
And I thought coaches only bullied journalism departments in Texas, where high school football is king! As a former high school newspaper editor, I know how stuffed-shirt football coaches—who earn higher salaries than 25-year English teachers with Ph.Ds—abuse their clout. I applaud Marilyn Athmann for sticking her neck out, not only to force the courts to look at the restrictions placed on student publications' First Amendment rights, but also to shine the spotlight on the twisted priorities of a society that worships high school athletics.
BELINDA MANN RUEFFER, Fort Worth
I was disgusted with what I read about Marilyn Athmann's school. Six vice principals and all men? Sounds like a good ol' boy network that needs to be trimmed back.
DEANNE TAYLOR, Peoria, Ariz.
Wilt Chamberlain may be a Hall of Famer when it comes to basketball, but he missed the mark in mathematics. For Wilt to have had encounters with more than 20,000 women, he would have had to see a different woman each day, every day, since he was 10 years old! C'mon, Wilt.
IAN JAMES, Littleton, Colo.
Considering what is happening in the world today, one can only hope that Wilt took time to protect his conquests from the possibility of AIDS. The odds are not in their favor or his. How appalling, thoughtless and irresponsible can one person be?
LAUREN DEE WILCOX, Palm Desert, Calif.
Wilt Chamberlain replies: "As I've stated in countless conversations about my book, A View from Above, my lifestyle was quite different in the '50s, '60s and '70s from what it is today. Clearly, times have changed, and there can be no doubt that practicing safe sex is one of the most important issues for all sexually active people."—ED.
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