Mussolini's daughter died, Edda Ciano. She broke with her father after he had her husband, Count Ciano, shot in 1944, and I think we can understand her annoyance.
Also dead, Sean O'Casey's widow, Eileen. She was 95 and met Sean as a young actress when he was casting either "The Plough & the Stars" or "Juno & the Paycock," various obituaries providing different versions. It does make a difference, "The Plough" being the one that caused the Irish to riot on grounds no true patriot would ever permit the sacred flag of Ireland to be carried into a pub frequented by women of easy virtue.
On arrival in London the papers were full of dire news about The Chunnel. I never believed in the thing anyway. "It will collapse this year," says someone on Page 1 of The Times of London. While I am there, a Chunnel train tears down all the wires while tootling through Kent.
A Tory MP resigns his government post when found in bed with a female Sunday school teacher and a male church warden. You know those Tories!
Another obit reports the death of Mr. Desai, aged 99, the former Prime Minister of India famous for drinking, as a stimulant, his own urine.
All the London papers seemed quite pleased with themselves when it was announced Raquel Welch's play, "The Millionairess," would close out of town and not, at this time, open in the West End. I don't quite see Raquel as a Shavian heroine but still ....
Columnist Angela Rippon in the Express calls for ballroom dancing to be made an Olympic sport.
Shockingly bad scholarship and lousy copy editing in the Daily Telegraph where they ran a half-page op-ed page piece intended to rehabilitate the reputation of Sen. Joe McCarthy. The piece was written by Anne Applebaum, deputy editor of The Spectator, who at the top refers to "his House Committee on Unamerican Activities." If Ms. Applebaum doesn't know the difference between a Senate and a House committee, what good is she? And can you then credit anything the woman writes? She ought to be sacked.
Also shocking, in an otherwise delightful book of memorabilia and photos of trans-Atlantic liner crossings in the '30s, '40s and '50s, Jane Hunter-Cox spells Joe Louis, the great heavyweight champ, as "JOE LEWIS." And Max Baer as "Max Bear."
The Sunday Times of London reports "an increasing number of British women have taken up work as prostitutes in Hong Kong .*.*. some are professionals lured by rich pickings, others are backpackers short of money." Some of the best customers? Red Chinese officials visiting the Crown Colony so soon to be theirs.
In the same paper, a story about John Gotti Jr. quotes a New York cop as saying of Junior, "He is two crumbs short of a biscuit when it comes to brains." Yeah, sure, all New York cops go about using British-isms to describe New York hoods.
Also in The Sunday Times, a report that the English chapter of Hell's Angels is now deep into the Colombian drug trade and has 15 Swiss bank accounts holding more than 6 million pounds sterling. Why can't our Hell's Angels display equivalent initiative and thriftiness?
A new book about "sex, repression & the public schools" is out with a preface by singer George Melly. "I assure the reader .... as much as I would have liked to, I never seduced Sir Peregrine Worsthorne on the art school couch."
A techie for the Royal Shakespeare Company was sacked for allegedly urinating on the stage. He denied this, insisting the puddle was rainwater from a leaky theatre roof.
Meanwhile, stateside, these items:
Refreshing to see a Pulitzer for commentary go to Jim Dwyer of New York Newsday who a few years back was that paper's beat reporter in the city subways.
May 17 at Morton's in New York there'll be a small, private reunion of some of the key figures celebrating 25 years since the invention of Eyewitness News. Al Primo, who created the news form in Philadelphia, will be very much in attendance. Graduates of Eyewitness News include Peter Jennings, Tom Snyder, Roger Grimsby, Bill Beutel and lots more who've gone on to even greater heights.
Westwood One Entertainment named Ken Mellgren Northeast region manager for affiliate relations.
First-quarter ad pages for Newsweek shot up 23% over a year earlier. Growth areas: autos, computers and financial.