During the National Theatre's run of "Long Day's Journey Into Night," Jack Lemmon has had to wear his white hair fluffy and long. It looks good on him, but his actress wife Felicia Farr felt it was not the proper coif for speaking before a group of congressmen and receiving an award from the Congressional Arts Caucus for his contributions to the arts. She solved the problem with her curling iron, and Lemmon went to Capitol Hill yesterday with less wild-looking hair.
Even though the contra aid bill was being hotly debated, about 60 members of Congress showed up to see Lemmon receive the award from House Speaker Tip O'Neill and Rep. Tom Downey, chairman of the Arts Caucus. Not missing an opportunity to lobby for the arts, especially during the new reality of Gramm-Rudman-Hollings, Lemmon warned that if Congress isn't diligent in maintaining appropriations or tax incentives for the arts, "one day we'll wake up and wonder what happened to the opera, the symphony or regional theater. You cannot learn the human condition out of a science book, through astronomy or through math -- you get it through the arts."
With the success of actors Ronald Reagan and Clint Eastwood in politics, the obvious question from the politicians there was: Does Lemmon have political aspirations? "I don't think I would have a prayer," he answered. "I'm not smart enough in a dumb way not to say exactly what I think in front of all the wrong people. It would all be over in half an hour."
Donald Regan tried out a little Libyan humor yesterday at the dedication of the new CNN Washington bureau on Massachusetts Avenue NW. The White House chief of staff, who was there to cut the ribbon, reminded everyone that he was an ex-marine and said that an old friend from the corps had called him to ask whether, after Monday's bombing raid on the Libyan capital, the lyrics to the Marine Hymn should be changed to "From the halls of Montezuma to what's left of Tripoli." The assembled CNN staffers responded with a groan . . .
Garry Trudeau's "Doonesbury" strip has been pulled from two more newspapers. Monday the Los Angeles Times said it would not publish the strip, and other papers said they would edit the series. The Omaha World-Herald pulled it "based on legal counsel's advice that material in the remainder of the current sequence is potentially libelous," and the Farmington, N.M., Daily Times decided it might be offensive. In the strip, character Mark Slackmeyer, a radio announcer, reads a list of Reagan administration officials who, the cartoon says, left office after charges of legal or ethical misconduct . . .
In yesterday's edition of "Doonesbury," the Chicago Tribune edited out the name John McElderry, who for seven months was Health and Human Services regional director in Denver. When he resigned in 1982, McElderry said the $55,000-a-year post had "severely limited" his business opportunities. Chicago Tribune Editor Jim Squires said yesterday that when his paper "could not find any reasonable evidence for this satire" about an individual, it has deleted the name. He said that Trudeau is "painting in awfully broad strokes" and that tomorrow the Tribune would edit out the name of Richard Allen, former national security affairs adviser . . .
Watch for this year's 20th annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival, which will feature Japan, Tennessee, traditional crafts and . . . trial lawyers. One's mind is flooded with the possibilities of how the Smithsonian might display the unique tribal customs and mores of trial lawyers. This Folklife Festival could truly be different . . .
Frank Sinatra was paid a pile of money to perform at the Sun City resort in South Africa in 1981 and has been criticized frequently for it. On Tuesday night during a speech at Yale University, to which Sinatra donated $50,000 for a fellowship program for graduating seniors, a group of students held up signs denouncing South Africa and its apartheid policies. Sinatra said he did not and never would regret his decision to perform in South Africa. "I enjoyed it. I had a great time. They had a great golf course," he said . . .