The fears of terrorist attacks were evident yesterday at the opening of the 39th Cannes Festival of Film, which started with a showing of "Pirates," director Roman Polanski's first film in eight years. Most of the American stars stayed away. There are six American films among the 25 official entries, with four of them in competition for the Golden Palm grand prize.
Among the big American stars expected who did not show up were Walter Matthau, actor-producer Sylvester Stallone, Whoopi Goldberg, one of the stars of the entry "The Color Purple," and its director Steven Spielberg, director Martin Scorsese and actress Ali MacGraw. One festival official said American cancellations were running as high as 50 percent. Motion Picture Association of America President Jack Valenti was one American scheduled to be there.
Yesterday was a big day for 12-year-old Amy Nelson. In town with a group of 15 elementary school children from Kansas and nine adults, the St. Mary's Elementary School 6th grader from Salina was visiting Senate Majority Leader Robert Dole's office in the Capitol when a call from Camp David came in. President Reagan had called to thank Dole for his work on the budget and tax reform when the majority leader asked if Reagan would like to speak to a young visitor from Kansas. He then passed the phone to Amy, who told the president about her trip. It wasn't until several moments after she said goodbye to the president that Amy realized just what had happened and she began to cry. One of the high points for the other students was when Dole told them the Kansas City Royals' hot pitcher, Dennis Leonard, was having lunch in the Senate Dining Room with Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, and they all rushed to meet him . . .
Mayor Marion Barry, Capital Centre owner Abe Pollin and former Washington Bullet Wes Unseld yesterday announced their participation in the Sport Aid Race Against Time. The Washington race is one of more than 60 starting simultaneously across the world on May 25 (the same day as Hands Across America), including inLondon, San Francisco, Hong Kong, Moscow and New York. Bob Geldof, who organized Live Aid and cofounded Sport Aid with UNICEF, will run in the New York race . . .
For all those people who have stumbled into Little Taverns for a late-night hamburger or scrambled eggs, a change is taking place. Little Tavern is going uptown on us and is opening the "L.T. Club," an upscale version of the restaurant, in The Shops at National Place. It won't be so uptown that you can't get a cheeseburger, but the club is also serving broiled salmon steak, and owner Jerry Wedren has added a cocktail lounge. Apparently all good things have to change . . .
When you do Gilbert and Sullivan, it apparently isn't too difficult to get name performers. The Washington Savoyards Ltd. are performing "Patience" through May 18 at the Trinity Theater, and five well-known Washingtonians will be performing the solicitor role: Supreme Court Justice William H. Rehnquist, D.C. Court of Appeals Judge John A. Terry, Donn B. Murphy, National Theatre president, and radio personalities Bill Trumbull and Dennis Owens . . . Sen. Charles Mathias has announced that he will donate his political papers to the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. The Maryland Republican, who was the original sponsor of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the chief sponsor of the Voting Rights Acts of 1965 and 1982 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, has spent some 30 years in elective office. He served in the Maryland House of Delegates, four terms in the House of Representatives and three terms in the Senate and is retiring at the end of this term . . .
Following the death of the Duchess of Windsor, some of the letters between her and the Duke -- who abdicated his throne in 1936 to marry her -- are being printed in the London tabloids. The resentment against the royal family is evident in one from the then king to American divorce' Wallis Warfield Simpson: "God how I hate and despise the lot," he wrote in one published in the London Daily Mail yesterday. "I hope one day to, and I mean to, get back at those swine and at least make them realize how disgustingly and unsportingly they have behaved."