The Insider

UPDATED 02/24/1992 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 02/24/1992 at 01:00 AM EST

MICHAEL JACKSON: THE LIGHT STUFF

You've wondered about it, we've wondered about it, and it sure looks like it in Remember the Time, Michael Jackson's latest video: Has Michael Jackson's face really gotten whiter?

Here's the dish: Michael has not, apparently, permanently changed his skin color via cosmetic surgery. A source close to Jackson credits the transformation to "a combination of makeup and lighting."

Asked to speculate whether Jackson might be trying to alter his skin color medically, Dr. Robert Kotler, a noted Los Angeles plastic surgeon who specializes in working from the neck up, says, "You can't take a black person and make him white." He does say, however, that "acquired pigmentation on the face, such as acne or discoloration associated with pregnancy, can be reversed by using a prescribed compound of Ret-in-A, cortisone and a bleaching agent called hydroquinone. Kotler says some blacks seeking treatment have tried to lighten their skin using the compound. "But in all cases the pigment has come back."

The official word from Jackson's rep? He says, "I don't know because I don't ask."

BABY ANNOUNCEMENT?
Don't hold us to this, but we hear from a reliable source that Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw have booked a room at a Los Angeles hospital this week in preparation for a cesarean delivery of their second child. (This baby will bring the total number of kids in the Spielberg-Capshaw household to five.)

MONTANA MIGRATION
The new celebrity hideaway continues to be Montana. A real-estate source there tells us that the latest big names to acquire Montana property are Whoopi Goldberg and Entertainment Tonight's Mary Hart (with her husband, producer Burl Sugarman). The Whoopster has bought 40 acres on the West Boulder River, and Hart and Sugarman have purchased a 132-acre site on Whitefish Lake, some 375 miles northwest of Goldberg.

STEVEN SEAGAL GETS AN ACTING BUDDY

On the surface, Steven Seagal's next movie, Last to Surrender, would seem to be another in his string of mindless action-adventure flicks that do well at the box office but earn little in the way of critical praise.

Now, though, Warner Bros, has decided to cast Tommy Lee (JFK) Jones alongside Seagal, suggesting that the studio hopes to pump some credibility into Seagal's career (the actor has a multipicture deal with Warner) and broaden his audience by pairing him with a star known primarily for his ability to act.

One agent, who requested anonymity, says such a plan would be similar to that used successfully by Arnold Schwarzenegger. "Working with Danny DeVito in Twins turned Arnold's career around," says the agent. "In Hollywood we call it "marrying up.' "

According to a Warner spokesperson, Jones is in the movie because "we needed a credible villain like Alan Rickman in Die Hard and Robin Hood. It had nothing to do with Seagal's acting."

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