Big Man on Campus

'Twas beauty—and, of course, inspiring words—that thrilled the Eastern Shore of Maryland May 23 when a handsome young magazine publisher addressed 200 graduating seniors at Chester-town's Washington College. "All the women in the family were dying to come to this because John F. Kennedy Jr. was here," gushed Lynn Youell, a proud mother of a graduate. "It was neat," added her daughter Josie, 21. Kennedy received an honorary award for his work with Reaching Up, a New York charity that provides mentoring and scholarships for social workers, and invoked the spirit of George Washington in advising the students to "labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience." JFK Jr., an '83 Brown graduate, also fulfilled a pledge cut short by his father's assassination. While visiting the school in 1960 during his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, John F. Kennedy promised to return and deliver a commencement address at the small liberal arts college.

The Calm Following Diana
The grief now faded, Britain adjusts to life without its beloved princess

Focus

Is the bloom off the public's devotion to England's Rose? While officials at Althorp, Princess Diana's final resting place, deny recent reports of sluggish ticket sales for their upcoming second season, there are other signs that, nearly 22 months after her death in a Paris auto accident, Britons' fascination is fading.

"There's a great diminishing of interest in Diana," says Judy Wade, a royals writer. She cites a cautious British press, which has reduced the number of articles written about the late princess to avoid distressing her children—and making Diana "a kind of non-person" in the process. An Aug. 23 London charity walk in the Princess of Wales's honor, expected to draw 15,000 volunteers, flopped when only a few hundred showed. Plans for a $16 million memorial garden just outside Kensington Palace, Diana's London residence, fell apart after well-heeled local residents campaigned against it. And in the United States, according to at least one tour operator, "We haven't gotten many [requests] this year" about Althorp from clients in the New York City area.

Yet for others, the emotional attachment remains. "We still receive phone calls from members of the public wanting to read poems or sing songs," says Vanessa Corringham of the Diana Memorial Fund. Still, at least one friend of the princess's believes the end of Diana-mania—especially the more commercial aspects—is good for all concerned. "It is right and fitting that it is subsiding," says Paul Burrell, Diana's former butler. "The feeling is still there, but it is not so tumultuous. It would not be healthy for that hysteria to continue."

Hello, I must (not) be going

Who hasn't felt the urge to sing a chorus of "Take This Job and Shove It" after a particularly stressful time at work? So please don't blame Liam Neeson, Anthony Hopkins, Anne Heche and Ellen DeGeneres for telling the world they were through making movies—only to change their minds a while later. In fact, by the looks of it, it might be a career move others should consider.

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Dawson's Creek

Soaking in the Creek
For TV's Dawson's Creek, life goes on long after the show has aired—if you're an Internetter. A Creek writer updates the adventures of Dawson Leery and the Capeside High crowd between episodes of the WB series and publishes them on the show's Web page (www.dawsonscreek.com). The site also offers details that just won't fit into a standard 60-minute drama. Fans seem to like it: After the character Abby Morgan drowned on an April episode, more than 1.5 million clicked in to read her complete "diaries." Other series, including the upcoming NBC soap Passions, plan to follow suit in their own plot-enhanced cyber spaces.

Get a Life? Got One, Thanks

Way before Star Wars, William Shatner could have written a book about obsessed fans. Now be has. Get a Life, the former Star Trek skipper's look at the series's passionate space cases, was published last month; Free Enterprise, a comedy in which he spoofs himself, is due this summer. Scoop talked to Captain Kirk about life beyond the final frontier.

Why Get a Life?

I'd been playing a lot of [Star Trek] conventions over the years, and it never occurred to me to wonder who the people were out front. I came upon an astonishing fact—that the audience was there as much to be with each other as they were there for Star Trek. No matter what ailments they might have, they were totally accepted and bonded by their mutual love of Star Trek. That's the thrust of the book.

Your most memorable Trekkie?

Probably the one with multiple personalities who had among the many characters inside her head the three leading characters from Star Trek.

Did you meet the characters?

For seven hours. I was there in conjunction with her therapist.

Was there ever a time you wanted to be rid of Captain Kirk?

No, because of the celebrity the character has afforded me. On the other hand, I've done a great many things since.

It's been said that you've distanced yourself from the Star Trek phenomenon. What made you want to know more about these people?

It might have been a look in the eye of someone, it may have been the touch of a hand, something very simple that when I got into a car to leave, I wondered who that was.

Didn't you think some of 'these people were wacky?

No, because they're not. They're a great audience.

And now the most important question: WHY?!?!??!??

It has become a game, a hobby, in which they dress up, and they pretend, and they see their friends. They love the show, so they show their admiration in repetition or in imitation. Actually, I'm quite enamored of the fact that they have been helped by the show.

ON THE BLOCK

LAMB CHOP'S LAST HOME
Publisher Jeremy Tarcher, husband of the late Shari Lewis, the children's television star who died of cancer last August, has put the Beverly Hills home they shared for more than 30 years on sale for $2.5 million. The 5,200-square-foot Spanish-style house has a pool, cabana, separate guest quarters and office space—not to mention three bedrooms, a dance studio and a gourmet kitchen. The sprawling master bedroom suite also has a gym, a library and a separate room for hair-styling and makeup. Best of all, says real estate agent Beth Styne, there is "more closet space than anyone can possibly dream about."

  • Contributors:
  • Larry Sutton,
  • Liza Hamm,
  • Karen Brailsford,
  • Michelle Caruso,
  • Elizabeth Leonard,
  • Sue Miller,
  • Susan Gray,
  • Simon Perry,
  • Ellin Stein,
  • Ulrica Wihlborg,
  • Paula Yoo.