Originally created 05/24/05

People in the News



BANGKOK, Thailand - Czech supermodel Petra Nemcova has returned to Thailand to thank doctors and nurses who helped her recover from serious injuries sustained when the tsunami struck the resort island of Phuket.

Nemcova, whose boyfriend was killed by the giant waves, spent three weeks in a southern Thailand hospital being treated for injuries to her pelvis. She has since returned to work.

The 26-year-old model Sunday met with the staff of Songkhla Nagarin Hospital and others who offered their support during her treatment following the Dec. 26 tsunami, which ravaged communities around the Indian Ocean and killed hundreds of thousands, The Nation newspaper said.

While being evacuated from Phuket, where the wave swept through the couple's beach hut, a fellow victim gave Nemcova a necklace with a Buddhist amulet.

"I have worn it till this day," she said.

Nemcova was pulled away from her boyfriend, British fashion photographer Simon Atlee, when the wave hit and clung to a palm tree for nearly eight hours before being rescued. Atlee's body was later found and identified in March.

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UNIVERSITY CITY, Mo. - Hundreds of fans lined a city block in this St. Louis suburb to catch a glimpse of stars like Adam Sandler, Chris Rock and Burt Reynolds at the premiere of "The Longest Yard" to benefit rap star Nelly's charity.

Nelly, who has a role in the film, requested the event. Proceeds will help his JesUs4Jackie campaign, a national bone marrow initiative in honor of his sister Jacqueline "Jackie" Donahue, who lost her battle with leukemia on March 24 at age 31.

Nelly, who emerged from the theater dressed in white with a popcorn box in hand, spoke about the importance of the marrow drives and greeted screaming fans, who stood 10 deep in places. A few enthusiastic fans sat on the shoulders of others or peered from the upper levels of a parking garage for a better view.

A donor was never found for Donahue, but Nelly said her legacy continues and others have been helped through the drives.

"We're going to continue, you know, to push and help save lives," he said. "You know, no matter what happens in my career, I know that I've helped to save a few lives and no one can take that from me."

Burt Reynolds and Chris Rock said the film's stars had known that Nelly had a family member fighting leukemia during the filming and so wanted to attend the St. Louis-area event, which was held at the Tivoli Theater on Sunday.

"A lot of guys just came out to support our good friend, Nelly," Rock said.

On the Net:

JesUs4Jackie: http://www.jesus4jackie.com

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RADNOR, Pa. - Jon Cryer, who plays the uptight divorced father, Alan, on "Two and a Half Men," says he's having trouble adjusting to success after having been on four consecutive failed series.

"I haven't really bought into the mind-set of being on a hit show," Cryer says in the May 22 issue of TV Guide. "Maybe in the ninth season, I'll finally say, 'I think this show is a hit.'"

Cryer says the first season was "brutal" because he separated from his wife a few months into production; they later divorced.

"I was thrilled to have the job, but then I'd go to it and have divorce shoved in my face," says Cryer, who has a 4-year-old son, Charlie.

His other - more short-lived - TV shows have included "Partners," "The Famous Teddy Z," "The Trouble with Normal" and "Getting Personal." His most famous role is as Duckie Dale in the 1986 teen flick "Pretty in Pink."

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POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. - Tom Hanks told Vassar College graduates that one four-letter word holds the answer to most of life's problems.

Whether it's battling gridlock in Southern California or making sense of the world, Hanks said Sunday any problem in the world can be solved as long as people are willing to help.

"Help and you will make a huge impact in the life of the street, the town, the country and our planet," the Oscar-winning actor said. His daughter, Elizabeth Hanks, was among some 670 graduates in the 141st commencement ceremony at the private liberal arts college in the Hudson Valley.

"You will always be able to help, so do it," said the star of such films as "Saving Private Ryan," "Splash" and "Apollo 13." "Make peace where it is precious. Help plant trees. Help embrace diversity and celebrate difference. Help stop gridlock."