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People In The News

July 2, 1986 GMT

AVOCA, Iowa (AP) _ Johnny Carson’s spokesman isn’t saying it happened, but Morris Berndt is sure it was the star of ″The Tonight Show″ who knocked on his door one quiet afternoon.

″As soon as I opened the door I recognized who he was - Johnny Carson,″ Berndt said of his Monday visitor.

″He asked if I knew that it was his house he used to live in, and I said we had heard that,″ Berndt said.

Berndt said the Carson family moved to Avoca in 1930 and lived in his house for six years before moving to Nebraska.

Charlie Barrett, a Carson spokesman, said the star was on a one-week vacation and was in Malibu Tuesday. Barrett said he ″knew nothing about a trip to Iowa.″

″Carson said it was a spur-of-the-moment thing,″ said Berndt of the 20- minute visit.

Berndt said Carson asked him ″for a good place to eat, so I directed him to the Embers restaurant.″

Kevin Albers, a dishwasher at Embers, said Carson stayed at the restaurant between 30 and 45 minutes.

″Yes, it was him. I got his autograph,″ Albers said.


MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) - Rocker John Cougar Mellencamp has returned to this resort city he vacationed in as a child.

The 34-year-old Indiana native politely declined to answer questions Tuesday, but told a reporter from The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer he’s long enjoyed trips to Myrtle Beach.

Mellencamp, whose music focuses on middle-class Midwestern folks, small towns and farmers, has been friendly and willing to sign autographs, tourists and locals say.

He’s been seen riding the waves on a motorized surfboard and tooling around town in a vintage Chevy convertible.


SHERIDAN, Wyo. (AP) - The premiere of rock star Prince’s new movie brought actress Rosanna Arquette, singers Joni Mitchell, Sheila E., and Ray Parker Jr. and jazz musician Thomas Scott to this mining and ranching town of 15,000.

The celebrities also attended a party for ″His Royal Badness″ after viewing ″Under The Cherry Moon″ Tuesday.

Lisa Barber, 20, a hotel maid, won the chance to host the premiere of the movie and the party afterward by being the 10,000th caller in an MTV national call-in contest. The rock video cable TV channel carried the party live.

Ms. Barber introduced Prince to a screaming crowd of 500 at the Sheridan Holiday Inn.

Prince played a medley of his songs with his usual band, Revolution, which made a surprise appearance following his performance with another band, Mazarati.

Prince’s first movie, ″Purple Rain,″ won an Academy Award for best original song score. The Minneapolis rocker has also won or shared in three Grammy awards.


LOS ANGELES (AP) - Rock Hudson’s former butler says the movie star who died last year of AIDS would have approved of Sara Davidson’s revealing biography.

About 100 of the late actor’s friends gathered Tuesday night at the hilltop mansion Hudson loved for a party given by William Morrow and Co., publisher of ″Rock Hudson: His Story.″

The authorized biography discloses intimate details of Hudson’s life, including his homosexuality, which he never acknowledged to the public before he died from acquired immune deficiency syndrome last October at age 59.

Hudson’s butler, James Wright, who is living in the mansion until it is sold, said that in the eight years he worked for Hudson, they never discussed his homosexuality.

Asked how Hudson would feel about the revelations in Ms. Davidson’s book, Wright said, ″I’m sure he’d feel a little embarrassed about it, and yet, he wanted the truth to come out.″

″He wanted a book written so everything would come out and that would be it. He’d be able to rest in peace.″

Ms. Davidson, commissioned to write the book one month before Hudson died, has said her view of Hudson’s life is the one he would have liked to project.


COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Poet and novelist James Dickey is recovering after surgery to remove a blood clot from his brain which his wife said was life- threatening.

″He came very close to death,″ his wife, Deborah, said Tuesday night. ″He has had brain surgery - very major brain surgery. But he rallied very, very well.″

Dickey, 63, a professor at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, underwent emergency neurosurgery Monday night at Richland Memorial Hospital, said Mrs. Dickey.

Debbie Anderson, a hospital spokeswoman, said Dickey was in satisfactory condition Wednesday.

Dickey, author of ″Deliverance,″ had suffered from headaches for about two months, his wife said.

Dickey suffered a severe headache last weekend. Mrs. Dickey said she took her husband to the hospital and the blood clot - technically called a subdural hematoma - was found.

Mrs. Dickey said her husband was expected to be out of the hospital in about 10 days.

Dickey attended ceremonies inducting him into the South Carolina Academy of Authors on Saturday at Anderson College.