A Celestial Blessing For The '96 Taurus

Posted: July 29, 1995

Before Ford Motor picked a date to unveil its redesigned Taurus and Mercury Sable for 1996, it called in somebody who may not know a carburetor, but who says she knows mucho about celestial drift. Joyce Jillson of Sherman Oaks, Calif., a newspaper astrologer and seer for celebs, recommended any debut date close to the summer solstice, "when the light of the whole universe is most clear." Ford picked June 19 - two days before the ancient Druid sun-fete - for the great unrolling. Ford says it paid Jillson $500 to scan the charts. Said a representative of Ford, who claimed to be joking: "There seems to be kind of a natural link between astrology and automobiles."

WHO, ME?

* New York Lothario Joey Buttafuoco pleaded not guilty yesterday to a charge of violating his probation by soliciting sex two months ago from an undercover police officer in Los Angeles. Buttafuoco said only two little words during his hearing before Judge Jack Mackston, "not guilty," even though he pleaded no contest to the California sex charge, itself. He was released on his own recognizance until a court conference Sept. 7. If Mackston rules that he violated probation, Buttafuoco could serve for up to 3 1/2 more years. He stayed in prison four months for the statutory rape of Amy Fisher.

JUST SPELL IT RIGHT

* Local punk-rock band Thorazine wants the world to know it's keeping its moniker.

This spring the band members got a letter from SmithKline Beecham telling them to quit calling themselves by the name the company has long used for its psychotropic drug. But the band thought, well, no, and lawyered up, and went on tour.

"That was back in May," lead singer Jo-Ann Rogan said. "It's almost August, and we're still waiting for them to hand us some kind of injunction." The musicians are still riding the publicity generated when the drug giant

went after them. Thorazine now has a booking agent and a two-month national tour beginning in late September. It also won a gig at Monday's Lollapalooza show in Pittsburgh.

Even Michael Moore's TV Nation, on Fox, has called for info, said Rogan. ''We sent them all kinds of stuff, but we haven't heard back yet."

LIFE WITH COCHRAN

* Johnnie Cochran, lead lawyer for O.J. Simpson, is going to face his own trial-by-biog sooner than he thought. On Aug. 18, Cochran's ex-wife, Barbara Berry, will release her, should we say, kiss-and-tale? Compellingly titled Life After Johnnie Cochran: Why I Left the Sweetest Talking, Most Successful Black Lawyer in L.A., the book was supposed to debut in October. Why the rush, Barb?

GOLDEN GIFT

* Betty White has given the University of Charleston in West Virginia $10,000 to begin the Betty White Luden Endowed Scholarship for one needy student a year who is committed to community service. The school gave White, who was on the old series The Golden Girls, an honorary degree in 1991 for her acting achievements and her animal-welfare work.

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