It was another crazy year in the wacky world of magazine newsstand sales, and we wanted you to know which celeb cover faces sold the most and the least. Scorecard:
People readers were "particularly interested in weddings and deaths," according to Bruce Fryer, account exec for Time Inc. Among the top 13 sellers were Cary Grant, Rick Nelson and--twice--Rock Hudson. The big seller (2.6 million copies) was Andy and Fergie (royal weddings made four of the top dozen). At the bottom (1.1 million): the Paris disco bombing that killed soldier Kenneth Ford. Worst-selling celeb: Carol Burnett.
US cashed in biggest with Bruce Willis, while Patrick Duffy--on his return to "Dallas," not his parents' murders--was a turn-off. "Our readers seem to be interested in Bobby Ewing, but not Patrick Duffy," said Christopher Connelly, senior editor. "Willis is just a cooler person."
Time sales exploded with a cover on the shuttle disaster (460,000). Molly Ringwald was the hot face (250,000). But Time stood still with the mini-summit (150,000); Neil Simon (180,000) closed out of town.
Newsweek also skyrocketed with the Challenger explosion; Bruce Willis/Cybill Shepherd caught most eyes among celebs. The Daniloff deal swung fewest sales, with Robin Williams the weak draw among famous faces.
Playboy's Andy Warhol rabbit cover hopped to the top; among celebs, Sally Field, Kathleen Turner and Brooke Shields were in a "horse race," said a Playboy spokesman, but Field (in bunny costume) won by a tail. Least alluring: Norwegian actress Yullis Ruva'l, 1976 Playmate of the Year when known as Lillian Muller.
Playgirl would uncover sales figures only since June, when it reorganized after bankruptcy. Mark Harmon was the prime beefcake (for a "10 Sexiest Men" theme issue); Ted Danson failed the stud test, "but it's not his fault--it could just be the time of the year."
Rolling Stone's Bruce Willis ("the hottest man on TV") sold biggest, Stevie Wonder ("not news") least\o7 .
\f7 TV Guide's Fall Preview issue won its time slot as usual; the loser--customary during summer months--was July 19's Robert Urich and Barbara Stock from "Spenser: For Hire."
Ebony's Martin Luther King Jr. cover--during the celebration of his birthday--was righteous; "Dynasty's" Diahann Carroll failed to seduce.
Jet zoomed with Janet Jackson, nose dove with Natalie Cole.
Sports Illustrated's traditional boffo swimsuit issue discounted, Larry Bird nabbed the top perch among sports figures. Lacking brawn: Ernest Hemingway, tied to a book excerpt.
L.A. magazine was also "highly predictable," said editor/associate publisher Geoff Miller, with its August restaurant guide gobbling the honors (Jim Garner happened to be the cover boy). A March L.A. Marathon cover with Meredith Baxter Birney ran last (losing wind when the event took place the first week, hobbling newsstand sales the rest of the month).
Soap Opera Digest cleaned up with two issues: stars from "Days of Our Lives" and "General Hospital." The washout was a cover crowded with cast members from the same two soaps, along with "The Young and the Restless."
The Star sold royally (4.1 million copies) with ("hardly surprising") Andy and Fergie in August, but slumped (2.9 million) in June with ("\o7 highly \f7 surprising")--Andy and Fergie.