Jean Harris, the former Madeira School headmistress who is in prison for killing her longtime lover, Scarsdale diet doctor Herman Tarnower, not only is seeking clemency but also wants $220,000 she claims Tarnower left her. Her lawyer, Charles Goldberger, argues Harris is entitled to the money because she was "extremely emotionally disturbed" at the time of the 1980 shooting. Goldberger is attempting to gain an exception to New York State precedent that people cannot inherit from someone they kill.
Roger Sirlin, a lawyer for the executors of the diet book author's estate, which was estimated at $5 million, called the effort "ridiculous," adding that "I find it incongruous that she Harris seeks clemency and wants monies as a result of her wrong." Harris' son James has been circulating a petition over the past week in Manhattan and has collected 3,000 signatures in his clemency drive for his mother.
Honors for Shultz, Perot
Secretary of State George Shultz and billionaire and adventurer H. Ross Perot are among a group of 10 Americans who will receive Jefferson Awards for outstanding public service from the American Institute for Public Service. The awards will be presented tomorrow in the east conference room of the Supreme Court. Samuel S. Beard, president of the institute, describes the Jefferson Award as a "Nobel Prize for public service."
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Robert Taft Jr. are cofounders of the institute, which has a 75-member board that selects the winners. Shultz is being honored for bringing a "spirit of cooperation to the State Department" and for being "an influential team player" with the Cabinet and the White House staff. Perot, the founder of Electronic Data Systems, was cited for "his patriotic spirit, which inspires faith in initiative, hard work and old-fashioned reverence for home, country and religion."
If you think you've been seeing actor Ben Cross around town in the evenings, you have. The star of "Chariots of Fire," who is appearing in "The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial" at the Kennedy Center with Charlton Heston, has developed a fondness for the Third Edition in Georgetown, where he can be seen most evenings after the show. He also spends time at the in-town cruising bar the Sign of the Whale . . .
An 18-year-old from Vienna, Lori Jo Smith, won America's 1986 Junior Miss contest in Mobile, Ala., this weekend. She won $25,000 in college scholarships and said she plans to attend Princeton University in the fall. In winning, she was developing a family tradition. Her mother, Vivienne Smith, was Junior Miss from Washington in 1959 . . .
Hospital Reports: The condition of 83-year-old Oscar-winning movie director Vincente Minnelli is listed as improved. Suffering from respiratory problems, he has been in the intensive care unit of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. It is possible that he will soon be removed from intensive care. Minnelli, whose films include "An American in Paris," "Kismet" and "Gigi," is the father of Liza Minnelli, from his marriage to Judy Garland . . .
Royals Watch: They said he couldn't do it and that if he hadn't had family connections he would not have been accepted to Cambridge University. But Prince Edward passed his final exams there and was awarded a second-class honors degree in history. His eldest brother, Prince Charles, also was awarded a second-class degree there 16 years ago . . .
Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh is still a man without a country. After a three-day stay in Jamaica, the cult leader was told by an immigration official that he was an "undesirable" and should leave. Rajneesh, who described himself as "the rich man's guru," agreed to leave the United States for five years as part of a plea bargain on immigration-fraud charges last fall. Since that time he has been in four other nations and had brief stays in two others that refused him official entry . . .