Elvis Presley's estate says a book by a Dallas woman claiming to have borne a child by the legendary singer should either be proven true or be labeled fiction. "There's been substantial evidence that the book is nothing but a sham," Barry Ward, the estate's lawyer, said yesterday.
In the book "Are You Lonesome Tonight?," Lucy De Barbin says that Elvis, during a secret 24-year affair with her, repeatedly asked her to marry him, and never learned of the birth of their daughter Desiree, 29, who bears a striking resemblance to the singer.
"If they're going to make money on Elvis Presley, then they at least owe it to the public to ... prove the book is true," Ward said.
Considered "one of the big movers" at Random House, the book, written with free-lance writer Dary Matera, has commanded a printing of 174,000 copies.
A spokesman for Villard Books, a division of Random House, says the company stands behind "Are You Lonesome Tonight?," saying "no one has been able to disprove her account of her romantic relationship with Elvis Presley and the birth of their child."
Queen Elizabeth yesterday conferred the honor of Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) on British actors Anthony Hopkins and Michael Crawford and playwright Peter Shaffer. Also honored were two British medics for their work in a besieged Palestinian camp in Beirut, where they endured more than five months of attacks by Amal militia men.
English surgeon Pauline Cutting, 35, was made an OBE and Scottish nurse Susan Wighton, 27, a Member of the British Empire (MBE) for their work in the refugee camps.
The titles, which have honorific status only and are mainly awarded by the elected government for patronage and reward, were given in the queen's birthday honors list.
And to make matters more royal, the queen recognized her daughter Anne's work in developing countries as patron of the Save the Children Fund by awarding her the honorary title of "Princess Royal."
Radcliffe Honors Lena Horne
Actress Lena Horne was honored yesterday with the Radcliffe College Alumnae Association Medal. The award, marking the association's 100th anniversary, went to Horne because of her "outstanding contribution to the community of women." Her daughter, Gail Jones Buckley, a 1959 Radcliffe graduate, attended the ceremony. "Lena Horne overcame many obstacles in her life to become Hollywood's first major black star," said a spokeswoman for the alumnae group. "She is a role model for us all."
After a much improved spiritual life, actress Shirley MacLaine, who has been busy sharing her views on spirituality at $300-per-weekend seminars throughout the country, has been meeting with architects and looking for a location in the United States to build a spiritual center. The funds from the seminars will be used for said center, which she hopes to have built within two years.
Taylor and Toscanini
Elizabeth Taylor is to star in a $14 million movie about the life of Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini, film director Franco Zeffirelli announced yesterday. Zeffirelli said the joint Italian-French production, called "The Young Toscanini," would start in mid-August in Rome and finish in November.
Taylor will play the Russian soprano Nadina Bulisciov, with whom Toscanini fell passionately in love. The conductor will be played by American actor Thomas Howell.
Zeffirelli, whose past film successes have included "Romeo and Juliet" and "Jesus of Nazareth," said he offered Taylor the role "because she is one of the last few stars we have," adding a film with her "costs an extra $1 million but I'm sure it will be an excellent investment."