Friend of Fawn Hall Plots Future for Donna Rice
McLEAN, Va. (AP) _ With Fawn Hall as a friend and Donna Rice as a client, Tricia Erickson and her talent agency are doing a booming business these days.
″I’m not a hot-shot New York or Los Angeles talent agency, but I do care about people who get into this situation,″ Erickson said Thursday in an interview at her house just outside Washington.
Erickson, 34, recently signed an agreement to represent Rice in future projects, such as articles, photo layouts, television spots and possibly a book.
″I view myself as more a protector,″ Erickson said, adding that her top concerns are making sure Rice isn’t exploited and that she maintains her emotional health in the wake of revelations last month about a liaison with former Colorado Sen. Gary Hart. The story prompted Hart to drop out of the 1988 Democratic presidential race.
″I’m more concerned with her emotional and mental health,″ Erickson said, describing a part of her business as ″crisis management″ - advising instant celebrities on how to protect their interests.
″This all happened since Fawn, Jessica (Hahn) and Donna,″ Erickson said. She considered contacting Hahn, but hasn’t followed through. Hahn’s one night with television evangelist Jim Bakker led to the unraveling of his empire.
Besides her business arrangement with the 29-year-old Rice of Miami, Fla., Erickson talks often with Hall, her friend for the past six years.
Although Erickson represented Hall when the government secretary modeled part time, the two are just social friends, often chatting on the telephone.
Hall, 28, is thrilled that she is through with two days of grilling by lawmakers on the congressional Iran-Contra committees who wanted to know about her work as a personal secretary for Lt. Col. Oliver L. North, formerly of the National Security Council. Hall testified under a grant of immunity from prosecution.
″The first thing she is going to do is clean her room,″ Erickson said.
Hall, who lives with her parents in Fairfax County, Va., has turned down scores of offers to pose for photographs, returning instead to her job as a Defense Department secretary.
Before her televised Capitol Hill appearance, Hall spent three weeks visiting a girlfriend in Paris. Now, she hopes her life will settle down, Erickson said, adding that Hall has a new man in her life.
″She’s shy and doesn’t like a whole lot of attention,″ Erickson said of her friend, recalling the anguish Hall felt when photographers descended upon her after her identity was revealed. ″She was scared and nervous.″
In the aftermath, Erickson served as Hall’s hand-holder, guarding her and sneaking her out through back doors when she had to avoid photographers.
While Hall resumes her secretarial work, Rice is back selling pharmaceuticals , Erickson said. Rice was paid about $4,000 for telling her story to a magazine, but she ″has no money,″ Erickson said.
On the other hand, Lynn Armandt, Rice’s friend who joined her for a Washington weekend with Hart, has sold pictures for thousands of dollars, Erickson said.
″She (Rice) was trying to take the dignified approach and not monopolize on it, and what happens is her friends are making money off her,″ Erickson said.
Devastated by the ordeal, Rice has lost weight and had a cold, fever and a sore throat since the Hart episode broke. As Rice considers her future, Erickson is encouraging her to return to acting, her chosen profession.
But first, Rice wants to tell her side of the story, probably to Barbara Walters on the ABC-TV show ″20-20.″
Rice won’t subject herself to an interview unless she feels up to it, Erickson said.