The Insider

UPDATED 02/24/1997 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 02/24/1997 at 01:00 AM EST

The 4½-year marriage of Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown has surely seen its bumps in the road. Witness one recent spat, which actually ended with Houston being forced off a bus in the middle of Utah. Brown and his reunited band, New Edition, finished a late-January gig in Albuquerque, and on the bus ride to their next date in Salt Lake City, Houston and Brown started screaming at each other. Brown then had the driver pull off the highway so Houston, the couple's 3-year-old child, Bobbi, an assistant and a nanny could get out. A second tour bus, right behind, picked them up, but Houston and her entourage headed directly to the Salt Lake airport and flew back to Los Angeles. Brown stayed behind with the band but failed to show when the group performed at Salt Lake's Delta Center....

While the successful re-release of Star Wars promises to fatten the bank accounts of writer-director George Lucas and the film's distributor, Twentieth Century Fox, the same cannot be said for Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, who, as relative unknowns when the movie opened in 1977, all cut similar low-rent deals. According to Ford, he earned $1,000 a week for the 10-week shoot, plus an additional one-quarter of 1 percent of the movie's net, which is tantamount to nothing, given Hollywood accounting practices designed to make even the biggest box office winners look like losers. In other words, says Ford, the money currently being raked in at the box office "doesn't mean bubkes to me."...

For years, Frank Sinatra's wife, Barbara, and his older daughter, Nancy, have maintained an icy relationship, mostly regarding access to Frank. But the two women recently got together in Rancho Mirage, Calif., where they co-autographed copies of The Sinatra Celebrity Cookbook, a new collection of recipes that will benefit the Barbara Sinatra Children's Center for abused children. A source tells me that the 81-year-old singer's precarious health has prompted mother and stepdaughter to try to put their differences behind them "for the greater good."...

Although Madonna failed to get an Oscar nomination, preliminary discussions are under way at Columbia for the Evita star to play a female Mad Max in a thriller called Pin Cushion. Her post-Apocalyptic mission: to protect a young boy whose blood contains an ingredient needed to fight off a deadly plague. The project has been kicking around Hollywood for years. Actresses previously linked to the film include Cher, Sharon Stone and Demi Moore....

Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner recently gathered 100 friends—including Billy Crystal, Neil Simon, Mel's wife, Anne Bancroft, and Carl's son Rob Reiner—in an L.A. recording studio, where the two ageless performers tried out material for a proposed new album, The 2000 Year Old Man in the Year 2000, an update of their classic '60s shtick.

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