Originally created 06/13/06

People in the News



LOS ANGELES - Matt Damon and his wife, Luciana Bozan, are the parents of a baby girl, Isabella, their first child, the actor's publicist said Monday.

"Mother and baby - everyone - is wonderful, fine," publicist Jennifer Allen said. The baby was born Sunday in a Miami hospital, Allen said. No other details were released.

The couple were married Dec. 9 in New York City during a private ceremony attended by the bride's daughter, Alexa, then 7, from a previous marriage. It was the first marriage for Damon, 35.

Damon shared a best screenwriting Oscar with Ben Affleck for 1997's "Good Will Hunting." Both Damon and Affleck starred in the movie.

Damon's screen credits also include roles in "Saving Private Ryan," "The Talented Mr. Ripley," "Ocean's Eleven," "The Bourne Identity" and "Syriana." His upcoming films include "Ocean's Thirteen" and "The Bourne Ultimatum."

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NYALA, Sudan - Performers from Darfur's various ethnic African and Arab tribes greeted Mia Farrow with dancing and singing as she arrived in Sudan's remote western region to appeal for international aid for the 2.5 million people made refugees by the conflict here.

Farrow, who is a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF, was on her second visit to Darfur with her son Ronan, 17, who is a youth spokesman.

"Darfur is a humanitarian crisis of an order of magnitude I never witnessed before, and the picture is far more bleak today than since my last visit (in November 2004)," the 61-year-old actress told The Associated Press in an interview.

Farrow, whose screen credits include roles in "Rosemary's Baby" and "The Great Gatsby," said scenes of human suffering had haunted her since her previous trip.

"I never spend a day without thinking about it... it's impossible to put Darfur out of one's mind," she said Sunday.

Sudanese authorities allow only a trickle of foreign visitors and press into Darfur. Farrow - who received a travel permit barely one day before her five-day trip - said she would use her "privileged" tour to appeal for more international aid.

UNICEF says it only receives 20 percent of the funds it needs for Darfur, and the U.N.'s World Food Program has recently reduced food distribution to below the minimal rations because of lack of funding.

On the Net:

http://www.unicef.org/

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LONDON - He gave the world the Ministry of Silly Walks and foul-tempered hotelier Basil Fawlty of TV's "Fawlty Towers." Now John Cleese wants to pass his comic skills on to a new generation.

Cleese, one of the founders of the comedy troupe Monty Python's Flying Circus, said he plans to write a history of stage, film and TV comedy, from silent screen classics to the workplace sitcom "The Office."

"I'm too old to write new comedy," Cleese, 66, was quoted as saying Monday by The Times newspaper. "I can never do better than 'Fawlty Towers,' whatever I do. Now I very much want to teach young talent some rules of the game."

Cleese told the newspaper the book would range from "the greats of silent cinema to Ricky Gervais, who is the height of modern entertainment."

The British comedian, who now lives in Santa Barbara, Calif., said too much TV comedy today is targeted at "American teenage kids."

"My generation prized really fine acting and writing," Cleese said. "Sometimes you have to go back to the basic principles which underpin great visual comedy."

He said it was "very rare today to see someone with that grasp of old-fashioned comedy," though he singled out Eddie Izzard, Gervais and Bill Hicks for praise.

On the Net:

http://thejohncleese.com/

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NEW YORK - Jason Bateman and his wife, Amanda Anka, are expecting their first child.

Bateman, who starred in the Fox comedy series "Arrested Development," announced on Los Angeles radio station Star 98.7 last week that Anka is 5 1/2 months pregnant with a baby girl.

The 37-year-old actor said he and his wife are very excited and are poring over baby-name books, Us Weekly magazine reported on its Web site Sunday.

Bateman won a Golden Globe Award last year for "Arrested Development." The critically lauded show was canceled this year.

Anka, the daughter of singer Paul Anka, appeared in the film "Taxi" and television's "Diagnosis Murder" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

The couple were married in July 2001.

On the Net:

http://www.usmagazine.com

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JUPITER, Fla. - Some of Burt Reynolds' memorabilia may need to find a new home to make room for a nonprofit biomedical research institute.

The Jupiter Town Council is looking to sell the Burt Reynolds & Friends Museum building to make way for the Scripps Research Institute. Institute officials say the facility will bring hundreds of scientists to the area.

The museum, at a leased location, houses decades of Reynolds' memorabilia. It also hosts numerous film educational courses.

Reynolds, 70, has a home in nearby Jupiter Island, which has been named Worth magazine's richest town in America. His screen credits include roles in "Boogie Nights," the "Cannonball Run" movies and "Deliverance." He starred in the '90s TV series "Evening Shade."

Jupiter pledged $3 million to bring Scripps to its Abacoa community.

Town Manager Andy Lukasik has said that the institute, plus the potential to use the property for another project, are incentives for the eventual sale.

"This decision - and it looks like the town is pretty serious about selling the building - means that we are looking for a home," museum director Mike Daniel said.

On the Net:

http://www.burtreynoldsmuseum.org/