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Navy's 'Grand Old Lady' Jumps Ship After 43 Years

August 15, 1986|JAMES MARNELL

It was a grand old retirement ceremony as the "Grand Old Lady" stood on the deck of "Old Ironsides" to accept her country's plaudits for 43 years of Navy service. "I regret leaving active duty," Rear Adm. Grace Hopper, 79, the nation's oldest active military officer and the co-inventor of the widely used computer language COBOL, told a gathering on the 189-year-old Constitution in Boston. "Do you realize I'm the last of the World War II WAVES to leave active duty?" Retirement age for military officers is 62, but Hopper, who is nicknamed "the Grand Old Lady of Software" and "Amazing Grace," had been given approval by Congress for yearly extensions. "She's challenged at every turn the dictates of mindless bureaucracy," Navy Secretary John F. Lehman Jr. said as he awarded her the Defense Department's highest honor, the Distinguished Service Medal, for exceptional meritorious service.

--Fred Grandy, more popularly known as "Gopher" on the TV series "Love Boat," may be headed for rough seas. Grandy, the Republican candidate for Iowa's 6th District House seat, has released a 1982 transcript of his appearance on the "Tonight Show" in which he referred to a festival in his hometown of Sioux City as a "testimonial to ringworm." His opponents contend that the jokes Grandy made about his hometown make him unfit to represent the district in Congress. He told Johnny Carson: "I'm from the tough Sioux City ghetto. It's a tough ghetto, not a big one. Last year they tore it down and put up a Fotomat on the spot."

--Zsa Zsa Gabor was married for the eighth time Thursday night, but her sister, Eva, and mother, Jolie, boycotted the ceremony because of German newspaper reports that the groom, Prince Frederick von Anhalt, is a convicted con man who bought his German title. Gabor, 66, whose husbands have included hotel magnate Conrad Hilton, actor George Sanders and Burhan Asaf Belgee, Turkey's minister of propaganda, defended her fiance before the wedding at her Bel Air mansion. "If the Kaiser were back in power, Frederick would be the next in line," she said. "He is a real prince and a fine man. But I am marrying him because I love him, not because I give a damn about being a princess." About 100 friends toasted the couple with champagne from Van Anhalt's European winery. Afterwards, Zsa Zsa said: "I sincerely believe this is my last marriage."

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