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People in the News

May 17, 1987 GMT

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Feisty actor Sean Penn, frequently in hot water over his public scuffles, found himself on the right side of the law, signing autographs at a police benefit golf tournament.

Penn was at the celebrity match Saturday for the Los Angeles Police Memorial Foundation, but without his wife, singer-actress Madonna, said tournament volunteer Francisco Lopez.

″He was walking around, signing autographs,″ Lopez said. ″He was cooperative.″

Penn, 26, didn’t wield clubs in the event, which besides the golf featured displays of a police helicopter with 3 million candlepower spotlight, mounted patrol officers and the K-9 dog squad.

Also mingling with the spectators were actors Telly Savalas, Bob Newhart and Jon Voight.

Penn’s most recent bout with the law involves an accusation by the city attorney’s office that he violated probation by allegedly punching a movie extra on the set of the upcoming ″Colors.″ The probation was imposed in February after the actor pleaded no contest to charges of misdemeanor battery stemming from a nightclub fight.


BERLIN (AP) - Prince kicked off the German swing of his European tour with two sellout concerts in West Berlin, capping off the first one with an unannounced encore in a private club.

After his opening performance in the city’s Deutschlandhalle concert hall Thursday night, the flamboyant rocker and his band dropped in on the Quasimodo rock club without warning at 3 a.m. for an hour-long appearance.

″The sensation was perfect. Even the true stars will do something like this. It’s doesn’t hurt them to play on in a small club after a strenuous concert in a mammoth hall,″ said a review in Saturday’s Berliner Morgenpost newspaper.

The newspaper Berliner Zeitung quoted several fans as saying they had gone to the Quasimodo after failing to get tickets for Prince, never imagining they would soon get to see him free.

″I’ve never experienced such a live concert. When he came on the Quasimodo stage, tears came to my eyes,″ Berliner Zeitung quoted a local rock singer, identified only as Willie, as saying.


MOSCOW, Idaho (AP) - Judge Joseph Wapner of ″People’s Court″ fame, in town to deliver the commencement address at the University of Idaho law school, said he resented questions about his suitability as a speaker.


″I don’t have to apologize to anyone for my legal background,″ Wapner snapped Friday during a news conference.

A Los Angeles County judge for 20 years before he hit the airwaves in 1980, Wapner now presides over a courtroom beamed to 188 markets and 20 foreign countries.

Wapner told reporters that people forget all the good that lawyers and other professionals do.

″Everything gets magnified,″ he said. ″If one lawyer does something wrong, all lawyers are no good; if one doctor is guilty of malpractice, all doctors are no good. ″We have forgotten how to get along with people,″ he added. ″We forget about our neighbor for 10 years until there’s a dispute over the fence that divides us.″


LOS ANGELES (AP) - Susan Stafford, who who was pop culture’s woman of letters before Vanna White took over in 1982 and made the job of letter-turner famous, says she isn’t jealous of her successor on ″Wheel of Fortune.″

″A lot of people around me are angry, wondering why it’s not me on the cover of Newsweek,″ said Miss Stafford. ″I say, ’Look, sweetheart, I moved on.‴

Miss Stafford, 40, has taken a few turns on life’s wheel of fortune herself. She lived a luxurious life as the wife of a multimillionaire but turned to ″Wheel of Fortune″ to make a living after receiving little in a divorce settlement.

She made $1,500 a show on ″Wheel of Fortune″ but said she felt empty inside. ″I kept saying I’m helping shut-ins feel better,″ she said. ″Then I’d go to a hospital or charity thing and realize I wasn’t really doing anything but turning letters.″

She converted to Christianity during a 1982 trip to India and quit television later that year to work with terminal cancer patients as an unpaid chaplain intern at a Roman Catholic hospital in Texas.

Now she’s back in Los Angeles, trying to revive a show business career while maintaining her religious ideals.

Miss White’s fame has rubbed off a bit on Miss Stafford. Playboy magazine called with a proposal for a nude layout - an offer she declined, she said.


LOS ANGELES (AP) - The first draft of the screenplay for ″River’s Edge,″ the tale of a high school murder and students who routinely visit the corpse, earned Neal Jimenez a C-plus in an undergraduate film class.

His professor at the University of California at Los Angeles suggested some revisions and Jimenez took them to heart. The next quarter, the screenplay got an A.

Now, six years later, the movie has become a success. New York magazine wrote, ″This brilliant, messy little picture ... should cause people to argue and celebrate for years.″

Since writing ″River’s Edge,″ Jimenez, who is paralyzed from the waist down because of a hiking accident, has worked on several other scripts and is writing one for Bette Midler.

Jiminez said the idea for ″River’s Edge″ came from the true-life story in 1981 of high school students who visited the corpse of a dead schoolmate.

″The major impetus was just my own fascination with people’s reactions to the murder,″ he said.