Mainly Patinkin remembers the first night he saw the Broadway musical Falsettos, about a man who leaves his marriage for a male lover: "It was the only time I can ever remember being desperately jealous of someone having a role I really wanted." Patinkin, 40, a star of Evita and Sunday in the Park with George didn't give up; he recently replaced Michael Rupert in the lead role. "I play him as a man who happens to be in love with a man, but also with his son and wife," he says. "It just tears me apart in the gut, the struggle for a cohesive family. I have no hesitations about bringing my sons [Isaac, 10; Gideon, 6] to this, because it's about love."
One choice bit of business from the dawn of Hollywood that you won't see in Chaplin involved Milton Berle, 84, the comic known in the '50s as Mr. Television. "In 1913, I had my first role in a silent picture, called Tillie's Punctured Romance, with Charlie Chaplin," recalls Uncle Miltie. "I was 5 years old. I played Busier Brown and wore a Little Lord Fauntleroy outfit and a Prince Valiant haircut. In my first scene, Chaplin walked over and slapped me so hard I got sent reeling. Nowadays, we'd call that child abuse. Back then, we called it employment.
THE NEWLYWED GAME
Having survived a 100-city world tour, Paula Abdul has been enjoying her first vacation since marrying Emilio Estevez last April. "It's nice to take time off and just be a newlywed," coos Abdul, 30. "In my previous relationships, the guys didn't understand that: 'Oh, come on, Paula, you don't have to work on the weekend!' But this guy respects my drive to succeed—Emilio understands that I'm very career-oriented." In fact, she says, "We're delaying having kids. We want to be selfish and spend time as man and wife."
MRS. PEEL, YOU'RE HEEDED
"We need to see more contemporary images of women," says Amanda Donohoe, 30, who paired with Bruce Dern to play bounty hunters in the Feb. 1 NBC movie, It's Nothing Personal. The British actress—who on L.A. Law two years ago gave Michele Green primetime's first lesbian kiss—recalls that her earliest role model was on the telly: "Watching Diana Rigg do her stuff as Emma Peel in The Avengers was just fantastic. Women could be amusing, beautiful, strong, have a great sense of humor and still be sexy—not dowdy or butch creatures. It opened a whole world for me."