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Saturn Fits in Dimple of Universe

Newsmakers

July 29, 1985|JENNINGS PARROTT

--Bad-mouthing General Motors in "the dimple of the universe"--as William Jennings Bryan once dubbed Spring Hill, Tenn.--gets about the same reaction as whistling "Yankee Doodle" would on Robert E. Lee's birthday. "If a man don't want the plant, he should leave," lifelong resident John Lee told a GM critic over lunch at the Cedar Inn cafe. The tiny town of Spring Hill, population 1,200, has emerged the winner in an intense bidding war by three dozen states for GM's $3.5-billion state-of-the-art Saturn automobile plant. Spring Hill does have a claim to fame, though. Author Peter Jenkins, who wrote "Walk Across America" and "The Walk West," adopted Spring Hill as his home several years ago. "It's really ironic," he said. "I walked across America, visited foreign lands, and--for a lot of reasons--chose Spring Hill as the best place in the world to live." Jenkins said he has mixed emotions about GM possibly building the world's largest industrial development practically in his backyard. The author and his wife, Barbara, bought and restored a century-old farmhouse, intending to spend the rest of their lives in the ambiance that attracted them to Spring Hill.

--F. Murray Abraham, who won an Oscar as best actor for his portrayal of the villainous composer Antonio Salieri in the film "Amadeus," will become a professor of acting next month at Brooklyn College. Abraham says Brooklyn, his hometown, across the East River from Manhattan, "is emerging as a center for the arts."

--About 300 word experts from 16 to 76 years old studied dictionaries, played with anagrams and nervously awaited their turns in the first day of the Fourth International Scrabble Tournament in Boston. Fondly watching the first of 22 rounds of play in the four-day tournament was 86-year-old Alfred M. Butts, who created the word game more than 50 years ago when he used a jigsaw to cut out little squares of plywood and lettered them. But this is more than a game. The players are vying for a $50,000-prize package that includes a grand prize of $10,000 in cash and a trip for two to Hawaii. "I'm nervous," said Althea Huber, 51, an interior designer from Woodland Hills, Calif. "I got up and swam for 30 minutes this morning to use up some of my nervous energy."

--At the end of every performance of "Sugar Babies," Mickey Rooney invites audience members over age 40 to help stamp out loneliness by writing for information about his newly formed FFF Club. The initials stand for Fun-Filled Family, said Rooney, who starred in the vaudeville revue in Omaha last week. Rooney, who will be 65 in September, said he created the FFF (PO Box 9292, North Hollywood, Calif.) to battle "a disease we all suffer from," he said. "It's called lonesomeness."

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