Originally created 11/23/04

People in the News



LOS ANGELES - Veteran actors Orson Bean and Charles Durning have taken on TV roles that touch on very different periods in their youths.

Bean, 76, who was blacklisted for a year during the anti-communist fervor of the 1950s, guest stared on "Cold Case" as a former communist sympathizer now suspected in an unsolved 1953 murder case.

Durning, 81, a decorated World War II veteran, appears in "NCIS" as a man who claims to have murdered a fellow Marine while fighting at Iwo Jima in 1945.

The "Cold Case" episode with Bean, titled "Red Glare," aired Sunday. Durning is in Tuesday's episode of "NCIS."

Bean said he wasn't averse to revisiting the controversial period in which actors, writers and others in Hollywood faced a loss of work if they were tagged as communists or fellow travelers.

His TV career was briefly stalled but he didn't suffer the prolonged ostracism that crushed others in the industry, Bean said.

Durning, who has been in such films as "State and Main" and "The Hudsucker Proxy," took part in the Normandy invasion and was wounded in the Battle of the Bulge. He holds three Purple Hearts and a Silver Star.

Durning said he applauds "NCIS" for reminding viewers of history.

"I enjoyed the part," Durning said. "I enjoyed that it was about my era, my time in the sun, I guess you'd call it."

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COATZACOALCOS, Mexico - Salma Hayek has apologized for missing the opening of a new theater in her hometown, saying she arrived late because of delays during the shooting of a movie she's making elsewhere in Mexico.

Hayek, who was born in Coatzacoalcos in the Gulf Coast state of Veracruz, had planned to attend the inauguration of a new 17,000-seat municipal theater and stay for a concert by opera star Luciano Pavarotti Friday night. But she arrived late to the concert, causing a stir in the local media, which had reported that Hayek would attend the inauguration ceremony.

The 36-year-old actress, who has been in the central state of Durango working on "Bandidas" with co-star Penelope Cruz, later issued an apology to Veracruz radio and TV stations.

Hayek's screen credits include "Frida," "Once Upon a Time in Mexico" and "After the Sunset."

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SAN FRANCISCO - To lose 63 pounds, Christian Bale stopped eating and kept on moving.

Normally weighing in at 185 pounds, the actor adhered to a fairly uncomplicated weight-loss regimen for the movie "The Machinist." He ignored food and ramped up his fat-burning power by running.

"I didn't look at the script and think, 'Oh my God, I get a chance to lose weight for this movie. Yes!'" Bale told the San Francisco Chronicle in Sunday's editions. "That would have been moronic. It was a matter of me liking the script so much that I wanted to achieve what I felt was necessary."

In "The Machinist," Bale plays Trevor Reznik, a paranoid, forgetful, guilt-ridden factory worker who is beset by hallucinations because he hasn't slept for a year.

"I eventually hit a point where the running wasn't working anymore," he said. "It was more like stumbling - the legs had atrophied to such an extent they looked comical."

A former child actor who starred in Steven Spielberg's 1987 "Empire of the Sun," Bale has appeared in "American Psycho," "Captain Corelli's Mandolin," "Shaft," "Reign of Fire" and "Laurel Canyon."

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LILLEHAMMER, Norway - A nine-year-old Spanish girl won the second annual Junior Eurovision Song Contest.

Nine-year-old Maria Isabel won the top prize Saturday with her song "Antes Muerta Que Sencilla" ("I'd Rather Be Dead than Plain"), an ode to good clothes, good times and standing tall in the face of criticism by others.

The Ayamone native took an early lead in the balloting by viewers throughout Europe and never relinquished it.

Soloists, duos and bands performed original songs in their native language in the contest, a youth-version of the wildly popular Eurovision Song Contest, most famous for launching the international career of the Swedish pop group ABBA in the 1970s.

The children, ranging in age from 8 to 15, performed before a sold-out crowd of thousands in downtown Lillehammer. Millions across Europe watched the show live on television.

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CHARLESTON, S.C. - A new production of Mozart's "Don Giovanni," Italian marionettes and Chinese theater highlight the 2005 schedule for the Spoleto Festival USA.

Each spring, Spoleto lights up the stages around Charleston with music, dance and drama. The 2005 season runs from May 27 through June 12, festival officials announced.

Ottorino Respighi's rarely performed "Sleeping Beauty in the Woods" will be produced at the Dock Street with marionettes as well as singers, a chorus and orchestra.

The festival will also present a new production of Walter Braunfels' opera "The Birds." In addition, the Colla Marionettes from Italy will perform two separate programs during Spoleto.

The festival will present "Amajuba - Like Doves We Rise" produced by the Oxford Playhouse and The Farber Foundry. The play follows five people growing up in South Africa during the final days of apartheid.

Taiwan's Contemporary Legend Theatre will perform "Kingdom of Desire," an abbreviated version of "Macbeth." The show will be performed in Mandarin Chinese with English titles projected for the audience.

The dance program includes a production by Italian choreographer Emio Greco as well as performances by Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and tap dancer Savion Glover.

The jazz lineup features, among others, singer Kate McGarry, Brazilian pianist and composer Andre Mehmari, Norwegian pianist Tord Gustavsen and Grammy Award-winning vocalist Shirley Horn.

The festival was founded in 1977 by composer Gian Carlo Menotti as the American counterpart to the festival he staged annually in Spoleto, Italy.