Ally McBeal

Insider

UPDATED 10/15/2001 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 10/15/2001 at 01:00 AM EDT

In the days following the attacks on the World Trade Center, Manhattan-based actress Hilary Swank helped rescue more than a dozen cats and dogs from apartments near Ground Zero. Swank was at the Humane Society in mid-town, where she had taken two of her dogs (she and husband Chad Lowe have five) to see the vet, when the calls started coming in for help. One was from Howard and Carol Claybo, whose 2-year-old Lab Lola had been trapped for almost four days in their apartment building near the WTC after emergency personnel sealed off the area. Swank quickly arrived at the scene and talked her way past police barricades. Then she strapped on a gas mask and trudged up 31 flights to rescue Lola. Says a grateful Howard Claybo: "It was really way beyond the call of duty."

On Sept. 26 Lucy Liu shot her final scenes as wicked attorney Ling Woo on Ally McBeal (she quits the firm on the Dec. 3 episode), after which the cast and crew presented her with a journal in which they inscribed farewell messages. "Fine, leave me high and dry," new cast member James Marsden wrote, and added, referring to the start of his own career, "I've only been waiting nine years to work with you!" They also gave her a 200-year-old statue of Buddha from a Southeast Asian antiquities store the actress patronizes. Liu, who's leaving to pursue a film career, thanked everyone, especially creator and executive producer David E. Kelley, for giving her a role that "taught me about myself and helped me grow as a person."

For the first time in five years, Dana Carvey is back on a movie set in a starring role: Last month he began shooting the comedy Master of Disguise in L.A. Three unsuccessful angioplasties followed by heart bypass surgery in 1998 kept Carvey out of the showbiz loop, but his heart problems are behind him. He is fit and ready for hard labor. Carvey worked out for 10 months to prepare for the movie, in which he wears 20 disguises requiring up to five hours of makeup a day.

When The X-Files returns on Nov. 4, creator Chris Carter's name will appear on the credits, but he was absent for the entire first month of the drama's preproduction last July. As part of his renegotiation with FOX to bring him back for a ninth season, the former Surfing magazine editor had a clause inserted in his contract that allowed him to take a long-planned surfing trip. Carter and seven buddies took off for Indonesia and stayed aboard a 75-ft. yacht, hopping from one island to another. The show began production without him for the first time ever, but no one dared make waves with the boss.

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