Q. Was Richard Dawson asked to leave "Family Feud" or was it his decision? What is he doing now? - S.S.A., Valparaiso, Ind.
A. Dawson hosted "Feud" right up to the end of its first run in 1985. When it was revived in 1988, he was not interested in returning as host. He's been taking it easy, staying out of the public eye.Q. Considering she's hot and he's not, aren't Ryan O'Neal and Farrah Fawcett risking family ties by doing a TV series together?
A. "Farrah's my secret weapon," boasts O'Neal a bit impishly about CBS's "Good Sports," the joint comedic debut for the unmarried couple, who have been together 10 years now. "My career was dead as a doornail. . . . Her popularity is huge. So I used her. I said, `I helped you, now you come along.' . . . She sees it as a challenge." (Vanity Fair, February.)
Q. Who is the black Bardot-like model who is on magazine covers everywhere these days?
A. She's Naomi Campbell, at 20 already one of the world's top models. "When I was little," recalls the London-born daughter of Jamaican immigrants, "I'd say to my mum, `Mum, don't worry. I promise not to let you down.' " A model for five years, her day rate now starts at $7,000, and her annual income is at least a cool million. Campbell was the first black person on the cover of French Vogue and on American Vogue's fat September issue. She's been seen on the arm of Mike Tyson (before and after his marriage to Robin Givens), Robert De Niro, John Kennedy Jr., Sly Stallone and British Viscount Linley. Angling for another aspect of center stage, Campbell is working on her debut record album. (Vanity Fair, December)
Q. Could some older rock-and-roller explain how these middle-age musicians continue playing arduous performances night after night?
A. Who better to ask than Neil Young, 45, whose latest album, "Ragged Glory," with the band Crazy Horse, is still a hot item? "I have a personal trainer. I take him on the road with me, and I work out three times a week. I work out before each performance to get my blood level where it should be. You get to be my age and you don't stay fit to walk onstage. . . . I'm not 19, it's not like I'm going berserk 'cause I'm good enough to play and have people go nuts. I'm not rushing at that level. I'm rushing on a deeper level. I get my blood level up so when I go out there people see me at the top of my game." (Musician, February)
Q. Is Annette Bening, the acclaimed starlet of "The Grifters," slated to be Warren Beatty's next off-screen romance?
A. "Warren's a great guy, very talented and great to work with," hedges Bening, who is filming Barry Levinson's "Bugsy" with Beatty. "We're working together - and that is all!" Evidently, Bening, 32, is nervous about the widespread chatter that she could wind up as the fickle Beatty's new gal, since he frequently becomes involved with his leading ladies. Although her career took off with "The Grifters," Bening is already experienced coping with high-profile men. She plays Robert De Niro's wife in the new film "Guilty by Suspicion," and is Harrison Ford's spouse in "Regarding Henry," due out this summer. (Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith, Jan. 25)
Q. Why is Angela Lansbury narrating some of the stories on "Murder, She Wrote"? - S., Warren, Mich.
A. Lansbury wanted to ease her work load. In fact, CBS had to come up with a production deal for movies and series to be produced by Lansbury's Corymore Productions to persuade her to continue "Murder" for this, the seventh and last, season.
Q. "L.A. Law" is my No. 1 show. Why is it that I am repeatedly let down by reruns? How do they get away with throwing in these old shows? Don't these people ever work? - M.N., Marlton, N.J.
A. The days of 39 new shows a season (drama shows never did 52 a year) is long gone. These days, a popular show like "Law" does 18 or 20. Cost is the main reason. An hour show costs $1 million or more to produce. Reruns and special pre-emptions fill in.
Q. I've been following "Crime Story" on cable and would like to know what happened to the actors who play Ray Luca and attorney Abrams. Are they still working? - M.S., Philadelphia.
A. Anthony Denison, who played Luca, was seen in a recurring role on "Wiseguy" and did the TV movie "The Great Escape." He co-starred in the new ABC series "Under Cover." Stephan Lang, who was Abrams, has done theater in Chicago and in New York (in a "A Few Good Men"), TV's "The Equalizer" and the features "Last Exit to Brooklyn" and "The Hard Way."
Q. I'm curious about "Cheers"' most underrated supporting actor, John Ratzenberger. Tell me about his movie and TV career before "Cheers." What's his birthdate, married, kids? - B.C.Y., Richfield, N.C.
A. Ratzenberger, born in Bridgeport, Conn., April 6, 1947, has made more than 20 movies since his 1974 debut in "The Ritz," among them "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Ghandi." His TV credits are almost as extensive and include "The Good Soldier," seen on "Masterpiece Theater." Ratzenberger and wife, Georgia, have two children.
Q. Tell me a little about Richard Brooks of "Law and Order" and where I can write him. - K.L., Detroit.
A. Brooks was born in Cleveland and studied at Michigan's Interlochen Arts Academy. He started in the theater in New York in 1980 and moved to Los Angeles, where he's done theater and TV roles in "Hill Street Blues," "Tour of Duty" and "Sonny Spoon" and TV movies "With Intent to Kill," "Badge of the Assassin" and "Resting Place." His features include "To Sleep with Anger" and "Off Limits." Write: Universal TV, Universal City, CA 91608.
Q. What can you tell us about Howie Mandell? What is his birthdate and does he still do stand-up comedy? - M.M. and V.L., Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
A. Mandell was born in Toronto, Ont., Nov. 29, 1965. Stand-up comedy is his main job these days. He's done a syndicated series "Laugh Trax," several cable comedy specials and comedy albums and he tours in comedy concerts.