The majestic Mohammed Ali Mosque has overlooked Cairo for 130 years. Last week Egyptians were contemplating another Muslim institution with the same name: Muhammad Ali, 44, the noted U.S. automaker. That's right, Ali has gone from rope-a-dope to car star. Lee Iacocca, you could be in a heavyweight fight here. The poetic, peripatetic former boxing champion was in Egypt to announce the launch of a two-seater sports car, to be called the Ali 3 W.C. (for three world championships). The $25,000-to-$30,000 item will be turned out in South Boston, Va., starting next year, and the first batch will be marketed in the Middle East, where the Muslim convert's name is one to reckon--and advertise--with. The major backer of the more-than-$10 million project is Saudi Billionaire Sheik Mohammad Al Fassi (he of the former pea-green Beverly Hills mansion with the garishly painted nude statues). So in the Arab world, the car will be known as the Fassi Ali. Whatever its name, Ali knows the game. "This car is going to be the greatest," he says.
Perhaps the only way to upstage Vladimir Horowitz in recital is to fall off the stage. Last week at the White House, the eminent pianist, 82, had just finished a dazzling performance, his first in the U.S. since his triumphant return to the Soviet Union last April, and the President was delivering an encomium linking the worlds of music and superpower diplomacy. As Nancy Reagan listened, the leg of her chair slipped off the edge of the platform, and she pitched into a row of potted yellow chrysanthemums. "I'm all right," she hurriedly reassured everyone. "I just wanted to liven things up." She regained her seat, and Horowitz put a protective arm around her. "This is why I did that," said the First Lady, smiling at Horowitz and accepting a gallant Old World hand kiss as guests clapped. "Honey," riposted the President, "I told you to do it only if I didn't get any applause."
"I'm attracted to characters as unlike me as possible," says Kelly McGillis. Well, they certainly are a varied lot: a coltish charmer in 1983's Reuben, Reuben, her film debut; the gravely innocent young Amish widow in Witness a year later; an astrophysicist who out-sexed the F-14s in last summer's top-grossing Top Gun. A small but highly successful collection for an actress who was waiting on tables right up until the release of Reuben, in case it flopped. Now swamped with scripts, McGillis, 28, has just finished a romantic thriller, once titled The House on Sullivan Street, in which she plays a McCarthy-era blacklist victim. She has also been an "unborn soul," of all ethereal things, in the soon-to-be-released Made in Heaven. Next month McGillis will start shooting Dreamers in Israel, portraying a Jewish pioneer in early 20th century Palestine. "I loved working with her," says Sullivan Street Director Peter Yates. "She's permanently paranoid, but there is enormous charm about it. She's always trying to improve herself." And to date, doing fine.