Originally created 05/25/04

People in the News

CINCINNATI -- Goldie Hawn said she suffered from depression and anxiety early in her career before years of therapy helped her discover the healing power of laughter.

"It was a time when people were asking for my autograph, and I didn't even know who I was," she told an audience. "Getting fame, fortune and money is supposed to make people happy. But sometimes it's just unsettling."

Hawn addressed a crowd Sunday at the Aronoff Center as part of this year's Smart Talk women's lecture series. She urged her audience to laugh every day, saying it provides emotional and physical benefits.

"When you go to sleep at night, ask yourself, 'How many times did I laugh today?' before you think about the troubles," the 58-year-old said.

"Laughter is no laughing matter," she added. "Hey, I just made that up!"

Hawn won the supporting-actress Oscar for 1969's "Cactus Flower." The mother of actress Kate Hudson, she's also known for her spot on the variety show "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In" and films including "Private Benjamin" and "The First Wives Club."

Hawn is promoting the "Traveling Museum of Laughter," an exhibit designed to entertain and inform people about the benefits of laughter.

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WINDBER, Pa. -- Johnny Weissmuller swung on a vine to play Tarzan in the movies, but a German film crew is more interested in his roots.

West End Films Inc. is coming Friday to Windber, a former coal company town that has long claimed as a native son the Olympic swimmer-turned-actor.

Many film authorities and fans now believe that Weissmuller, who portrayed Tarzan in a number of Depression-era movies, was actually born June 2, 1904, in what is now Romania. But that hasn't diminished the enthusiasm of officials in Windber, about 100 miles west of Harrisburg.

West End Films is making a documentary on Weissmuller with the help of his son, Johnny Jr., a former actor who's had bit roles on TV and in films such as "American Graffiti." The documentary is scheduled to premiere Aug. 22 on ZEF/Arte, a French/German network.

Part of the film will focus on Weissmuller's disputed roots, said producer Robert Heitmann of Frankfurt, Germany.

"We want to find out about it. We are interviewing as many people as possible," Heitmann told The Tribune-Democrat for Monday's editions.

What's not in dispute is that Weissmuller was raised in the borough of about 4,400, which grew up around and was named for the Berwind-White Coal Mining Co. in the early 20th century.

A gold medalist swimmer at the 1924 Olympics in Paris, Weissmuller went on to star as Tarzan in a dozen movies, including the first "Tarzan" talkie, and later played another character known as Jungle Jim. He died in Acapulco, Mexico, in 1984.

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KANAB, Utah -- A 70-year-old woman who served as an extra and stunt double in many Westerns filmed in Kanab during the genre's heyday will become only the second local inducted into the "Little Hollywood Walk of Fame."

Jackie Hamblin Rife will receive the honor during the Western Legends Round-Up in August.

"It's kind of embarrassing, yet I think it's nice," she said recently. "It's embarrassing, in that I got to be there. I'm kind of a quiet person; I don't like a lot of hoopla. It was a job for me."

Rife appeared in about 50 movies and eventually led the county's film commission, helping producers choose local shooting spots. So many were shot in Kanab that the town got the nickname "Utah's Little Hollywood."

Her movie career ended in 1957 after she was trampled by horses while filming "War Drums."

A picture of Rife and a few lines about her accomplishments will be engraved into black metal and placed atop a 3-foot stand. It will be erected alongside similar sidewalk markers for 14 other notable Western stars that in some way touched Kanab.

Already boasting plaques on Main Street are Ronald Reagan, for his television series "Death Valley Days"; actors Tom Mix, Dale Evans, Dale Robertson, and the cast of "Gunsmoke"; and Fay Hamblin, Rife's late cousin who was credited with bringing Hollywood to southern Utah for Westerns.

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia native Kathy Mattea and St. Louis Rams football coach Mike Martz are scheduled to speak June 4 at a black-tie benefit for a West Virginia University research center that will study Alzheimer's and other neurological diseases.

The event is the first major gala for the nonprofit Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute, whose construction in Morgantown should be finished by June 2006.

Mattea, a Cross Lanes native and a two-time Grammy winner, and husband-songwriter Jon Vezner will meet with guests at a pre-dinner reception.

Martz, whose late mother suffered from Alzheimer's, and Mattea will speak during a $1,000-a-plate dinner and program at the Charleston Civic Center.

The institute is named for the mother of Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., who died of complications from Alzheimer's in 1992. Rockefeller's family has contributed $15 million to the institute.

By 2020, some 8 million Americans are projected to be suffering from Alzheimer's.

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BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- Kirk and Anne Douglas said "I do" for the second time in 50 years at a hilltop mansion, renewing the marriage vows they first took when they eloped to Las Vegas in 1954.

The couple reaffirmed their commitment Sunday before 300 friends and family members in a traditional Jewish ceremony at the famed Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills, said Kirk Douglas' longtime publicist, Warren Cowan.

The elegant, Gothic landmark is often used as a set for movies and television programs.

Guests included former first lady Nancy Reagan, Merv Griffin, Dan Aykroyd, Lauren Bacall, Tony Curtis, Vidal Sassoon and Anjelica Huston.

As Anne Douglas, 74, walked down the aisle, musicians switched from the first bars of the wedding march to Sammy Cahn's "Love and Marriage."

The star of "Spartacus" and "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" walked to the rose-adorned chupah, a canopy, to the strains of "I'm in the Mood for Love."

The couple first married on Kirk Douglas' day off while he was filming "20,000 Leagues," said Cowan, who was the best man at that wedding.

"The two met in Paris. She was here on a visa and was about to go back. He didn't want to take a chance of losing her," Cowan said. "So they went to Vegas."

The Douglases' son, Peter, his wife and four children attended the ceremony, as did one of Kirk Douglas' sons from his first marriage, producer Joel Douglas.

His other two sons from his first marriage, actors Eric and Michael, were unable to attend. Michael Douglas was accompanying his wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones, who is filming a new movie in Europe, Cowan said.

During the celebration, Douglas sang his wife a song he'd written. The title was a simple request - "Please Stay in Love with Me."

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ALBANY, N.Y. -- With a little help from Spike Lee, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer will make his 45th birthday party a profitable one by holding a major fund-raiser at the ESPN Zone Sports Arena in Times Square.

Tickets for the June 9 bash are going for a minimum of $1,000. For $100,000, a contributor can get 25 tickets and be listed as a chair of the event.

The chairman of the birthday party is Lee, whom Spitzer knows because they both send their children to the exclusive Horace Mann School in New York City.

"We've had breakfasts together, lunches together, dinners together," said Spitzer, a Democrat. "He's a fascinating guy."

Spitzer said he has held annual birthday celebrations with supporters at the ESPN Zone Sports Arena before, but this year's event will be the biggest ever.

He promised there would be "no speeches. People just play the games and have a good time."

The event will benefit the attorney general's campaign committee, which is named Spitzer 2006, sidestepping what office he will be seeking in two years. Spitzer is widely believed to be preparing a run for governor, though he says he likes being attorney general and has not ruled out seeking a third term.

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LAS VEGAS -- Defending World Series of Poker champion Chris Moneymaker has been knocked out of the legendary tournament.

The darling of the poker world lost all his chips three hours after the 35th annual tournament got under way Saturday at Binion's Horseshoe Hotel & Casino in downtown Las Vegas.

Moneymaker, 28, said Lady Luck was nowhere to be found in the No-Limit Texas Hold 'Em event.

His stack of chips was decimated after another player caught a major break and landed one of only two cards that could have beat Moneymaker.

"It happens," Moneymaker said Sunday. "It was bad luck."

The poker phenom won $2.5 million when he snatched first place last year. The victory turned the former accountant from Spring Hill, Tenn., into an instant celebrity and helped fuel a countrywide poker craze.

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DETROIT -- The hip-hop generation must educate itself and head to the polls in this fall's election, said speakers at the Hip-Hop Summit, which drew artists and others from the music industry.

Rap mogul Russell Simmons, whose Hip-Hop Summit Action Network puts on the traveling event, said young people must make a difference in their communities and the world.

"Those of us who work in the hip-hop industry know this is the best generation in the world," Simmons told a crowd of music fans Saturday at the Fox Theatre. "And come November, they are going to see that this is the most powerful generation that the world has seen."

Simmons said the power of hip-hop comes from its ability to unite people of different races and religions.

"It's very important that we flex these muscles in November," he said.

The Hip-Hop Team Vote effort holds voter registration drives at summit cities. It recently registered 50,000 voters in Los Angeles and 80,000 in Philadelphia. Midway through Saturday's event, the group said it had signed up at least 70,000 Michigan voters, including 40,000 in Detroit.

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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Jim Kelly made his name in Buffalo playing football. The Hall of Fame quarterback's 7-year-old son, Hunter, will have a more lasting impact.

The Hunter's Hope Foundation and the University at Buffalo announced Friday the creation of the Hunter James Kelly Research Institute for Krabbe disease and related ailments. The boy suffers from the deadly disease.

The foundation will establish a $3 million endowment to support the institute.

"The Hunter James Kelly Research Institute is more than a dream come true for our family and Hunter's Hope," Jim Kelly said.

Krabbe disease is an inherited degenerative disorder that hinders development of the fatty sheath, known as myelin, that protects the brain's nerve fibers. The disease induces seizures, stiffens limbs and slows motor and mental development. It has no known cure, and most born with Krabbe don't live past their second birthday.

The institute's research also is expected to benefit people who have had strokes, multiple sclerosis or other brain ailments.

The Kelly family established Hunter's Hope in 1997, and the foundation has since awarded nearly $4 million for research.

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