They Keep the Stars Shining Eternally
May 1986
Reporting: Nancy Griffin



The pressures on Hollywood celebrities to preserve their youth, beauty, sanity and ultimately their bankability send them scurrying to specialists who trade in everything from weight training to tummy tucks to tarot readings. A true fact: Even Jane Fonda gets help. She relies on chiropractor Dr. Leroy Perry, a pioneer in sports medicine, to treat exercise injuries and adjust her temperamental back once a month. Here she takes turns with Perry on one of her favorite pieces of equipment, his back-stretching "orthopod" machine at his International Sportsmedicine Institute in L.A. He even makes house calls. "Lee has adjusted me on my dining room table," says Fonda. Other fitness buffs who take their aches and sprains to Perry include Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty.

Helping heavenly bodies get that way.

In his backyard John Travolta wrestles Dan Isaacson.

Jake Steinfeld and his brothers give Michael J. Fox a lift.

Having made his name redesigning John Travolta's pecs for Staying Alive, Dan Isaacson now helps Ann-Margret, Jamie Lee Curtis and Billy Crystal stay svelte. Isaacson blends nutritional advice, cardiovascular exercise and weight training with a gift for inspiration that peels fat off bodies and $1,000 a month off bank accounts. "You can spend a lot of time with Dan without feeling exhausted or invaded," says Travolta. Jake Steinfeld of Body by Jake makes house calls to the biggest names in town--Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford owe their physiques to him--and subjects them to intense sessions using such props as brooms and towels. Meanwhile, at Stephan's Beverly Hills studio, local chatelaines sweat alongside Jessica Lange and Bianca Jagger. Stephan pupils stretch out on a contraption of pulleys and springs. "I offer intelligent, refined exercise for discriminating people," he says.

Stephan does maneuvers with little protégé Rae Dawn Chong.

Eastern Ways Ease Western Stress

"Everyone has madness. It's just that Hollywood people are more flamboyant." Thus speaketh yogi Alan Finger, who has imparted his tantra yoga technique to such true believers as Diana Ross and Raquel Welch. "It gets to a very different level from exercise yoga, although it tones your muscles, too," the South African-born Finger explains. "You become more creative and calm, and so you start to love life."

Superproducer Keith Barish (Sophie's Choice, 9 1/2 Weeks) is also thumbs-up on Finger. Until six months ago Barish was a typical overwrought executive. Then he hired Finger for thrice weekly private lessons at $100 a pop. "I was very skeptical at first," admits Barish, but within weeks he noticed his sleeping improved. Now, innumerable lotus positions later, he says, "I feel better, look better, think better, react better."

When Daryl Hannah starred in The Clan of the Cave Bear last year, Siri Dharma Kaur accompanied her to British Columbia to knead away her troubles at the end of a day's shooting. A decade ago Dharma Kaur arrived in Hollywood from the inscrutable East--The Bronx. She became a Sikh, cast off her earthly moniker (Antonia Galliano) and assumed her new one, which means Princess on the Path to Infinity. Self-taught in Oriental and Swedish techniques, she has massaged the shoulders of Sidney Poitier and Richard Gere. Each hour-and-a-half session meant bliss for them, $75 for her. "Richard had no tension in his body except under his eyebrows," she recalls. "The work actors do is really, really hard. Massage is necessary maintenance. It's not as though they're pampering themselves."

Alan Finger and Keith Barish inhale at Barish's Bel Air poolside.

Siri Dharma Kaur rubs away at actor Steve Guttenberg.

A Buzz from the Fountain of Youth

A few optimistic entertainers today are trying new methods of rejuvenation--from the scientifically sound to the experimental. At the Drake Institute of Behavioral Medicine in Santa Monica, Dr. David Velkoff uses biofeedback to teach patients with ulcers, arthritis, migraines and other disorders to eliminate tension. "What's in the mind ends up affecting the body," he says. Veteran star Bob Cummings, 75, sought Velkoff's help in handling the stress that had caused his stage fright throughout his career. "Show business is a business of anxiety, from the moment you get into it until the moment you die," Cummings says. Velkoff monitored his muscle tension, sweat gland activity, body temperature and brain waves. "I don't feel like a football kicked around by the world anymore," Cummings says.

Margo Jordan treats aging skin at the Berkeley Health and Revitalization Center in Santa Monica by administering electronic pulses to acupuncture points on a client's face. Her electro-acupuncture machine "trains cells to vibrate at their optimal level and removes energy blockages," she says. Jordan claims that her clients, who include Cloris Leachman, 59, and Susan Strasberg, 47, look 10 years younger after six weekly $75 sessions. “I feel more balanced after a treatment," says Strasberg, a devotee of several kinds of new-age practices. She admits, however, that sometimes she can't tell which of her habits are responsible for her newfound joie de vivre. "I meditate, I do yoga, and I have a lot of friends who are healers," she says. 'I go to psychics and numerologists. And if none of that works, I go buy a chocolate bar and a bottle of cognac."

Dr. Velkoff videotapes Bob Cummings's biofeedback session.

Margo Jordan zaps Susan Strasberg at Malibu beach.

A Little Advice from the Gazers

In a business full of uncertainties, actors flock to psychics, astrologers, numerologists and even such quintessentially Hollywood hybrids as psychic nutritionists. These advisers tell believers which days are favorable for auditions--and when they might just as well stay in bed. Psychic and spiritual minister Rev. Gayle Eaton says, "Actors and actresses want to know, 'Will I make it or am I wasting my time?"' A clairvoyant for 45 years, Eaton says, "I'm just an instrument; I get my messages from above." Client Terry Moore, 1950s sex kitten and later wife of Howard Hughes, says, "I don't live by what Gayle says, but it's a lot of fun." Two years ago it wasn't so much fun when Eaton warned Moore that someone was stealing from her. "She was right," says Moore. "It could have ruined me." Eaton's latest predictions for her zero right in on brand names. She sees a felicitous marriage in Moore's future to a man "who has his own Learjet."

No spicy details on famous clients are forthcoming from Hollywood's two top astrologers; here, professional discretion rules. Highbrow stargazer and author Sidney Omarr charted Sly Stallone's horoscope. Omarr will reveal only that Stallone (a Cancer) "feels at times that he is fighting the world--and that he could in fact save the world."

Carroll Righter, 86, became so enthralled by the zodiac 47 years ago that he abandoned a flourishing legal career. His first client was Marlene Dietrich--followed by Gloria Swanson, Spencer Tracy and Cary Grant. Did he ever tell a second-string Hollywood actor named Ronald Reagan that the heavens had preordained a career change for him? "No comment," says Righter.

Psychic Gayle Eaton peers into the future of a lynx-hatted Terry Moore.

Astrologer Sidney Omarr reads Angie Dickinson's palm. "Your little finger being short," observes Omarr, "indicates that you could be a little self-sacrificing sexually."

Anna Lee Jefferies huddles with astrologer Carroll Righter. Nearby are photographs of his friends and clients, including Ron and Nancy Reagan.

And a Laying On of Hands

A crucible for alternate healing practices since the '6Os, California promises fallen stars many ways to mend--or remake--themselves. If your energy balance is out of whack, Dr. Michael Murray restores harmony with Chinese herbs, acupuncture and homeopathy. James Coburn reports that acupuncture relieves the rawness of an arthritic shoulder that "flares up when I drink too much wine, smoke and eat acidic fruit." Mother-daughter team Diane Ladd and Laura Dern have tapped into faith healer Doug Johnson's powers since Laura suffered from scoliosis at 13. Through touching, Johnson claims to have rid patients of cancerous tumors, serious heart disease and blindness. "But the problem is, it doesn't work every time," he laments. Still, Laura says that he cured her of peritonitis last year. "The minute he puts his hands on me, I feel intense heat."

If spiritual attempts at self-perfection fail, celebrities can resort to gutsier measures. Plastic surgeon Harry Glassman, M.D., has streamlined noses, augmented breasts and suctioned fat from the thighs of many show-biz personalities. For $8,000, a complete face-lift can be had in his sleek Beverly Hills offices, where an elevator discreetly discharges patients out the back into waiting limousines. Glassman says the entertainment industry's merciless standards of beauty make screening patients tough. "There is only one reason to do plastic surgery," he says, "and that's to improve one's self-esteem and the quality of one's life." He adds, "When someone says, 'My agent told me to have the bump taken off my nose,' I have to be sure that person is prepared for the procedure emotionally."

Accompanied by daughter Laura Dern, Diane Ladd is treated for whiplash by healer Doug Johnson.

Dr. Harry Glassman takes a presurgical facial mold.

Acupuncturist Michael Murray soothes James Coburn’s arthritic shoulder. The glass cup “increases the blood flow to the joint”.