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May 05, 1985

Question: What happened to Bill Sternoff, the newsman on Channel 2? So far as I know nothing was said about his leaving. He was a wonderful reporter and I miss him.

T.S., Culver City

Answer: His contract expired. In renegotiating a new one, he wasn't given any assurance of becoming a regular anchorman, so he quit. He has other business ventures and may still end up on another channel.

Q: Can you tell us anything about the best "Sherlock Holmes" yet--Jeremy Brett--on PBS' "Mystery!"? If I'm not mistaken, I remember seeing him in "Masterpiece Theatre's" "The Good Soldier."

Y.G., Alhambra

A: You're not mistaken. Brett played the title role of "The Good Soldier." A biographer said this versatile actor's stage, film and TV credits will fill almost five single-spaced pages. He spent several years with the National Theatre Company at Britain's Old Vic, played a number of Shakespearean and other classic roles, toured the U.S. in the title role of "Dracula," and co-starred in "Masterpiece's" "On Approval" and "Jenny." In movies, he was in "War and Peace," and he played Freddie, who sang "On the Street Where You Live," in "My Fair Lady."

Q: Who played "Owen Marshall," and is he the same actor who played the owner of "Mr. Ed," the talking horse?

G.P., Pasadena

A: Arthur Hill played "Owen Marshall" in that 1971-74 ABC series, and Alan Young owned "Mr. Ed" in that 1961-66 series on CBS.

Q: I watched the reruns of "Rich Man, Poor Man" and I'm wondering about Peter Strauss. I have neither heard about nor seen him on the screen since he made that series.

H.R.W., Los Angeles

A: Then you haven't been paying attention. Strauss has been very busy with TV and stage appearances. He starred in the ABC miniseries "Masada" and has made a few prominent TV movies you apparently missed, including "The Jericho Mile," "A Whale for the Killing" and "Heart of Steel." Currently, he's working on "Kane & Abel," a six-hour miniseries to be seen next season on CBS.

Q: Why was "Joe" killed off on "Santa Barbara"?

L.A., Bakersfield

A: Mark Arnold, who played "Joe" and was "killed" by his former lover, had requested a short-term contract when he was cast for the role. When that six-month pact expired in February, so did he!

Q: We've been wracking our brains trying to think of the name of the first host of "Jeopardy." He was such a distinguished looking gentleman and brought much dignity to the program.

F.D., Norwalk

A: Art Fleming is your man. Prior to "Jeopardy," he was an actor in a couple of series in the 1950s ("The Californians," "International Detective") but later turned to announcing.

Q: What has happened to "Magnum, P.I."? Every time I read the ratings, the show is no longer in the top 10 or 20 category. Is the series really having problems competing with "The Cosby Show"? "Magnum" is a really great show and I'd hate to see it go off because of poor ratings.

L.S., San Fernando

A: Ratings fluctuate for many good shows, especially when some special might be on opposite, but that doesn't spell disaster. If you've checked recently, Tom Selleck's series has consistently been somewhere in the top 20, and that's considered safe. Bill Cosby has the season's hit show, but he's not luring that many viewers away to hurt "Magnum."

Q: Could that darling little girl who plays Victoria Newman on "The Young and the Restless" possibly be Nikki Newman's daughter? Also does she receive a salary?

R.M.S., Calabasas

A: The 2-year-old you saw in the role is Ashley Millan, and like any child appearing on camera, she is a member of a union--AFTRA, in this case. And since she was identified as a character in the series she received the minimum wage of $476 for a day's work. Had she appeared on camera as "just a baby" in someone's arms, she would have earned $124. In case you wondered, Nikki Newman's daughter, also 2, didn't get the part because she has dark hair and eyes, and the role called for a blond child.

Q: What happened to Pete and Denise, two characters in "Benson"? I feel that the show is suffering significantly without them.

P.K., Los Angeles

A: Last Nov. 16 when Benson, as lieutenant governor, hired Kraus to be his executive aide, the producers changed some of the characters. Didi Conn as Denise and Ethan Phillips as Pete were written out of the series by having her accept a job with NASA in Houston, and Pete deciding to go with her. That episode was recently repeated on ABC.

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