You sly little minx: Burnett reveals she married in November
Carol Burnett's Nov. 26 televised special, comprised of outtakes from her vintage comedy shows, drew an astonishing 30 million viewers. These days Burnett is focused on new beginnings. Last month in California the 68-year-old comedian wed Brian Miller, 45, a music contractor for the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, in a "very private ceremony," says a friend of the couple's. The pair have been "very close for several years," says Burnett's pal Tim Conway. "Together they are so much fun."
Miller's support will be needed as Burnett turns her attention to Hollywood Arms, a play she cowrote with her oldest daughter, Carrie Hamilton, which opens next spring in Chicago. Hamilton, 38 (Burnett's daughter with the late producer Joe Hamilton), was diagnosed with lung cancer in August, and the disease has since spread to her brain. Burnett, devastated, considered backing out of the TV special. "It was Carrie who said, 'You have to do this, Mom,' " recalls Conway. "When Carol sang, 'I'm so glad we had this time together,' she could barely get through," says comedy writer Buz Kohan. "She was thinking about Carrie. But she did it."
Is there a little tension being generated by a running gag on Late Show with David Letterman? Letterman, 54, never a guest on Oprah Winfrey's talk show, has pleaded nightly, on air, for a spot. Winfrey, 47, tells PEOPLE, "I don't really know what he's doing because I don't watch his show." Ouch! Will Letterman ever appear? "No," says Winfrey. Then she adds, "Not yet." Meaning, as Dave says, it ain't Oprah 'til it's Oprah.
Lock and Load
Welcome back to the Geraldo Rivera Show. In a recent interview, the former tabloid talk show host turned FOX News war correspondent (it's hard to keep up, we know) let it be known that he's armed and dangerous while stationed near Taliban forces in Afghanistan. "We're not the victim types," Rivera, 58, told FOX News anchor Laurie Dhue. "If they're going to get us, it's going to be in a gunfight." Though most western journalists in Afghanistan travel with bodyguards, it's unusual for reporters themselves to pack heat—particularly five AK-47s, which, according to FOX News rep Robert Zimmerman, is what Rivera, his camera crew and their two guards carry while journeying across the desert. "Geraldo's team has more guns than the other reporters," Zimmerman says. "If that is what he feels comfortable and safe with, then that is what it is for." Rivera, says the rep, is "out on the front lines, putting his life at stake." Besides, "he's Geraldo. He has a unique style."
Elton's Swan Song?
At a recent sold-out show in Manchester, N.H., Elton John told concertgoers that his latest album, Songs from the West Coast, would be his last. "I like playing to you guys," said the singer, 54. "But I've made 40 albums, and it's about time for me to get out." Last year he made a similar threat—that he planned to quit touring—to fans at Manhattan's Madison Square Garden. Will Elton keep his word? "He may take some time off," says his rep Fran Curtis. "But I would not bet on Elton never recording another album."
Elizabeth Hurley and Stephen Bing probably agree on at least two things: She's pregnant and due in April. After that it gets murky. She says he's the father. Bing, 36, a movie producer and real estate heir, says, uh, he's not so sure. In a Dec. 3 statement, Bing insisted they were "not in an exclusive relationship when she became pregnant." Hurley, 36, struck back. "I loved Stephen enormously during the 18 months we were together," the actress countered. "Contrary to erroneous reports, we were still very much happy and together when I discovered I was pregnant. I was completely loyal and faithful to Stephen throughout this time as, indeed, he assured me he was to me." A source familiar with both parties says, "Of course Liz would know who the father is." The small ray of light: "If indeed I am the father," says Bing, "I will be an extremely involved and responsible parent." Good luck, kid.
Schultz! Is Hogan Back?
Should Russell Crowe decide to star in the big-screen version of Hogan's Heroes—he is considering the project, says his rep—he'll have at least one booster from the original TV series. "I think it's wonderful," says Robert Clary, 75, who played French Cpl. Louis LeBeau on the hit World War II sitcom (1965-71). Crowe would make a dashing Col. Robert Hogan, originally played by Bob Crane. And LeBeau? "Somebody small with a French accent," says Clary. Although he is not sure how the movie would play to today's audiences, Clary will attest to the sitcom's continued popularity. "I receive fan mail every day," says Clary. "People are still watching rerun after rerun after rerun."
Singing a New Tune
Kids say the darndest things—in some instances, to the utter consternation of their publicists. As when classical singer Charlotte Church, 15, unleashed stinging remarks regarding the elevation of New York City firefighters to A-list status after Sept. 11. "They are even invited [to the U.K.] to present television awards, which I just don't agree with," Church was quoted as saying in The Sunday Times of London. Soon after, the Welsh-born soprano backpedaled, insisting her words had been "taken out of context." New York's bravest shrugged off the slight as only true stars do. Says city firefighter Tom Butler: "Never heard of her."
A Shotgun Shaq?
To the L.A. County Sheriff's Department, he is known simply as Cadet O'Neal. But when his dunking days come to an end, L.A. Laker center Shaquille O'Neal, 29, may prefer a different title. "He's discussed possibly being a sheriff," says Lt. Ron Dayhoff. Since September O'Neal has attended classes to become a member of the police reserves. Says Dayhoff: "He's a model cadet and gets no special treatment." (With the exception of the uniform, tailored to fit O'Neal's 7'1", 315-lb. frame, and special-order size 22EEE boots.) The training might also increase Shaq's respect for authority. On Dec. 3 the NBA fined him $7,500 for verbally abusing a referee.
with Jack Nicholson
"Jack is the hippest place on earth, a killer smile and a pair of sunglasses," said Michael Douglas last week at the annual Kennedy Center Honors in D.C., where his friend Jack Nicholson, 64, was honored (with Quincy Jones, Julie Andrews, Van Cliburn and Luciano Pavarotti) for lifetime contributions to American culture. Nicholson, a three-time Oscar winner in a career that spans 40 years, gave Andrews a hug and a kiss, telling the actress, "You're looking groovy," and spoke with Scoop about the honor.
Where were you when you found out that you had been selected for this award?
Where I usually am—in bed.
Who told you?
Quincy [Jones] and I are old friends. He called and told me and told me not to tell anyone because it hadn't been announced yet.
How did it feel?
I was overwhelmed. I'm a World War II baby, so I'm very patriotic. I felt proud and humble.
One might think by now that you had seen it all. Yet you're still impressed?
No American can come into Washington and not feel overwhelmed by it. I've made a couple of movies here, and I like coming here. You never get over the thrill.
Compare D.C. and L.A.
When politicians come to California, we think of them as amateurs; but when actors come to Washington, they're amateurs.
President Bush called you "one of the true greats of this or any other generation of actors." He also said, "Americans cannot resist the mystery, the hint of menace" that you bring to roles. You should be looking forward to your White House visit today.
It's always thrilling, no matter who is the President. But I am a big Democrat.
How does this honor compare to other awards?
All comparisons are odious.
What are you going to do with your medal?
I'll look at it and see if I can't redesign it so it fits a tux better.
ON THE BLOCK
UNLOADING A FULL HOUSE
Ten years ago John Stamos stood on five pristine acres in the Malibu mountains and imagined his dream house. He built a 7,800-sq.-ft. Mediterranean-style structure with five bedrooms, indoor barbecue, party room complete with copper bar, gym, recording studio, office, pool, spa with waterfall and a three-car garage. Today Stamos, 38, has bigger dreams, despite the recent cancellation of his TV series Thieves. He and wife Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, 29, sold their Malibu property for $2.25 million and will build a new home on a 20-acre Los Angeles ranch.