Cruise and Kidman are all smiles, but settlement talks drag
There were noticeable differences in The Tonight Show host Oct. 4. His jaw was smaller, his smile wider and his opening joke...well, you be the judge. "What a crowd. You sound like the New York Giants when they realized they're playing the Washington Redskins this weekend." Okay, so it's not Jay Leno. Tom Cruise had stepped onto the NBC stage to begin the show's monologue. He didn't last long—Leno returned to his usual post within minutes, and Cruise left after autographing a Harley-Davidson motorcycle Leno is auctioning for charity—but the actor appeared to be in fine spirits.
Much like his ex-wife. Nicole Kidman, 34, along with her sister Antonia, 31, has recently invested in a manicure chain called nailbar generation back home in Australia. "She heard about it and loved it and wanted to be involved," says nailbar's director, Anna Marchant. Don't expect to see Kidman filing nails, though.
So is this one happy ex-couple? Not exactly. Recent court papers show Kidman's attorneys complaining that Cruise's lawyers are taking a "course of conduct designed to stall and stonewall" the property settlement in their divorce case. They might be right. An Oct. 4 hearing on the matter has been postponed to Jan. 4.
Taking Judging Amy to court
Some people, feeling unfulfilled at work, wile away the hours surfing the Net or making simple paper-clip sculptures. Judging Amy's Richard T. Jones, on the other hand, has gone to court. Claiming he was promised that "should he become unhappy on the series, he would be 'written out' of the series," Jones filed suit against 20th Century Fox Television, asking release from his contract. "His character has not been developed and expanded," the suit says. Jones also says that he has had to work 16-hour days and through lunch.
What does the boss think? Says Amy Brenneman, Judging Amy's creator and star: "I treat the show like a marriage. I don't want to keep somebody where they don't want to be." Except...as of last week, Jones was still on the job, honoring his contract.
Another Mommy Dearest?
Most women would be flattered if told Kim Basinger might play them in a movie. But Debbie Mathers, 46, mother of rapper Eminem, 29, is peeved that the actress is considering playing her in an upcoming movie loosely based on her son's life. "She is furious," says Mrs. Mathers's own mother, Betty Kresin. "She's mad because she wanted to play the part." (Mathers once sued her son for defamation of character and settled for $25,000.) Basinger, 47, isn't talking, but Curtis Hanson, whose 1997's L.A. Confidential helped Basinger win an Oscar, will direct, making the role perhaps a wiser career choice than it sounds.
Now Cooking in D.C.
An institution since her first cooking series in 1963, master chef Julia Child's kitchen will be preserved in the Smithsonian. "It really illustrates a piece of American history and the history of women," says Rayna Green, the curator of the museum's division of cultural history. Green says she knew that she wanted "not just two pots and a pan but the whole shebang" when she heard that Child, 89, was leaving the Cambridge, Mass., home she has lived in since 1959. Child, the former host of The French Chef and Julia Child & Company, is moving permanently to her winter home in Santa Barbara next month and is happy to hand over her wares. The Smithsonian will get everything in the 14-ft.-by-20-ft. kitchen except its famous wall, a Peg-Board hung with her often-filmed copper pots and pans, which will go to the American Center for Wine, Food & the Arts, soon to open in Napa, Calif.
Everybody Loves Jury Duty
Everybody Loves Raymond star Ray Romano is enough of an Everyman that he was picked to serve on a jury. The case, in Beverly Hills Municipal Court earlier this month, involved a woman charged with filing a false police report. Romano's celebrity, though not an issue in the trial, did come up. "I heard you have a TV show," the jury foreman told Romano during one break. "Can I get a tape?" Romano brought one the next day. Another juror gave him a one-page treatment her son had written.
The final verdict? After a one-day trial the jury deadlocked. "I'm actually relieved," said Romano, 43. "I'm neurotic enough that if she were found guilty, I'd wonder if she was going to stalk me, but if she wasn't guilty, the police would know I voted against them." After the judge thanked the jurors, Romano had a question. "Do, uh, many, uh, high-profile people get on juries?" he asked. Laughing, the judge replied, "You are the highest-profile celebrity we've ever had, and we greatly appreciate your presence."
Comics need healing too. So when Jerry Seinfeld took the Carnegie Hall stage Oct.8 for a "night of comedy unification," a benefit for the families of victims of the Sept.11 attacks, his material was mostly of a warm and fuzzy nature—Seinfeldian observations on life's mundane moments. He did use an obscenity, however, while describing words he'd like to see emblazoned on a rebuilt World Trade Center—a message to terrorists. Other than that, he told reporters outside the hall, "We want these people to know we're at Carnegie Hall to show that we're an unusual people and we can deal with anything." Chris Rock, Alan King, Colin Quinn, Bill Cosby and Will Ferrell—in patriotic shorts—also performed.
Beatles for Sale
Although an angry letter from John Lennon to Paul McCartney penned around 1970 failed to reach its minimum bid at auction this month, more Beatle-abilia will go on the block in November. The estate of the "fifth Beatle," Stu Sutcliffe, including letters and photographs, will be sold by Mick Fleetwood's auction house Fleetwood Owen.
Sure, he makes headlines living his bachelor life, but it's certain George Clooney has no fear of commitment: He and his pot-bellied pig Max have now been together, man and ham, for more than 12 years. Which made things especially emotional when Tom Hinckley, a friend of Clooney's, accidentally hit Max with his car. "We thought he might lose his leg," Hinckley told the British magazine Heat. "But it looks like it will be okay." In fact, says a spokesman for Max, "reports of his injury were highly exaggerated. No stitches were necessary, and Max has resumed his normal day-to-day activities."
So, it appears, has Clooney, who has lately been linked with Renée Zellweger. The two have been hanging out together since her 32nd-birthday party in May, inspiring a small flurry of media musings. The actor won't comment on the nature of that relationship, but his feelings for the guy who dinged Max seemed to be none the worse for wear. "He was quite upset at the time," said the errant and remorseful driver Hinckley, "but I think he has forgiven me."
with Walter Cronkite
At a time when the war in Afghanistan dominates the nation's television news, Scoop wondered what the most trusted retired newsman in America, CBS veteran Walter Cronkite, had to say about the coverage. Cronkite, 84, volunteered the following thoughts.
How do you judge the reporting from the front?
It seems to me that it is quite accurate considering the nature of the attacks so far. We are not getting interviews with the returning air crews as yet. I hope that the government will permit correspondents to interview those people eventually and get their eyewitness report on what they think they hit.
Why is that important?
They [the government] must protect military secrecy. But we must also protect the people's right to know.
How does the television coverage of this war differ from the Gulf War and Vietnam War coverage?
Technical capability. We did not have the capability of broadcasting by satellite from Vietnam. In the case of the Gulf War, they prevented us from having reporters or cameramen with troops in the advance into Iraq, and that denied us any possibility of an impartial report.
Who excels at coverage?
They are all doing quite a good job. I am very admiring of those in North Afghanistan putting up with the difficulties of living there, let alone the difficulties of reporting.
How much time do you spend watching?
As much as I can afford. At least a couple of hours a day.
What did you think of MSNBC's Ashleigh Banfield dying her hair from blonde to brunette to cover the front?
That is certainly interesting. I don't think that incident is anything like the change of the Mets catcher [Mike] Piazza's hair. I think that is perfectly acceptable in an attempt to meld into a crowd where there are very few blondes, if any. It is a cosmetic change that might be very helpful to her.
Do you wish you could be out there reporting?
I miss not being in the newsroom every minute of the day.
ON THE BLOCK
A PLACE IN GEORGETOWN HISTORY
In her memoir Personal History, Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham, who ran the paper from 1963 to 1991, described her Georgetown residence as "a loveable house with character." And history: Graham, who died last July 17 at the age of 84, hosted parties at the four-story, nine-bedroom estate for several presidents, including Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, as well as for such celebrities as Bill Gates and Princess Diana. The mansion includes five fireplaces and a swimming pool. Asking price? Graham's estate hopes to get $8.35 million from the sale.
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