Originally created 12/13/04

People in the News

OSLO, Norway - Oprah Winfrey didn't have to think twice when she was asked to host this year's Nobel Peace Prize Concert with Tom Cruise.

"I'm here because, first of all, when the Nobel Committee calls, you try to answer with a yes," she told reporters before Saturday's show. Plus, she added, "I like to go wherever Tom Cruise might be. You have the Nobel Committee and Tom Cruise - who's gonna say no to that?"

The concert to honor Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai was broadcast live in more than 100 countries and featured musical artists such as British teen soul singer Joss Stone, opera vocalist Andrea Bocelli, jazz singer Diana Krall, and pop singers Cyndi Lauper and Patti Labelle.

Cruise said his religion, Scientology, was part of the reason he felt strongly about the award.

"One of the things that we believe in (as Scientologists) is peace, freedom," the movie actor said. "I'm just proud to be here, and very proud to be a Scientologist here and to be part of this."

The 64-year-old Maathai, Kenya's deputy environment minister, was honored as founder of the Green Belt Movement, which has sought to empower women, improve the environment and fight corruption in Africa for almost 30 years. She is the first environmentalist and first African woman to be awarded the coveted peace prize.

"What a momentous occasion this is for not just African women, but particularly for African girls," Winfrey said. "In Maathai, African girls have a role model they can look at and say, 'I want to be like her.'"

The concert will be broadcast in the United States on Dec. 23 by E! Entertainment Television.


LITTLE ROCK - A Socks the Cat doll that meows could show up in a stocking stuffed by Bill Clinton this year.

Thousands of people from around the world - including the former president himself - have spent more than $400,000 at the Clinton Museum Store since it opened Nov. 15.

Clinton placed a phone order from Chappaqua, N.Y., on Thursday, calling museum store manager Connie Fails to order, among other things, Air Force One toys that emit the sound of plane engines when squeezed, neckties, stuffed donkeys and a Socks the Cat doll that says "meow."

Clinton also bought a commemorative Clinton Presidential Library dedication dinner plate and a Woodmere china reproduction of the plates Presidents Lincoln and Jackson used when they were in the White House.

"I'm still totaling up the bill. Yes, he has to pay for it," Fails said.

The gift shop has been packed since the dedication celebration three weeks ago, and recently started Internet sales.

"We sent out an e-mail to 1,200 people Monday night that they could shop online, and by the time we opened the next morning we had 40 orders," Fails said.




PUEBLO, Colo. - Colorado's newest congressmen didn't have to look far for roommates.

Rep.-elect John Salazar and his younger brother, Sen.-elect Ken Salazar, have rented an apartment together on Massachusetts Avenue in Washington.

"I think we can get along," John Salazar joked this past week. "Maybe he'll give me a ride up to the Capitol each day."

The two Democrats captured open seats Nov. 2 that had been held by Republicans.

Ken Salazar is wrapping up work as the state's attorney general, while John Salazar is hiring staff and making a final swing around his sprawling 3rd District to meet with constituents before heading to Washington.


LOS ANGELES - The bitter business relationship of Hollywood heavyweights Michael Eisner and Mike Ovitz will be played out again in a television movie.

"Two Blind Mikes" is being developed by Showtime with writer Frederic Raphael, who co-wrote the Stanley Kubrick film "Eyes Wide Shut," Daily Variety reported Friday.

Ovitz, co-founder of the powerful Creative Artists Agency, was hired as president of The Walt Disney Co. under chief executive officer Eisner but served only 14 months after the pair clashed.

A shareholders' lawsuit, now being heard, contends that Disney's board was negligent in hiring Ovitz to a lucrative deal and for agreeing to a $140 million package settlement.

Casting for the film and an air date were not announced.


NEW YORK - Subway gunman Bernard Goetz has filmed scenes for a low-budget horror movie in which he plays a nutritionist to vampires - and uses a gun.

Goetz, 57, was acquitted of attempted murder after shooting four youths on a subway in 1984.

On the set of the independent film "Silver Night," Goetz explained to cast members how to fire a weapon and complained that his prop gun was too small, the Daily News reported in Sunday editions.

Glenn Andreiev, the film's screenwriter and producer also cast Goetz in one other film, "Every Move You Make," in which he played a criminologist who teaches a stalking victim how to shoot a pistol.

Goetz now runs a small electronics supply company called Vigilante Electronics. He also ran for mayor in 2001.


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