PASSAGES: Happy Birthday, Liz Taylor

02/28/2002 01:30PM

CELEBRATED: Movie legend Elizabeth Taylor turned 70 on Wednesday, and as she told the Associated Press that day, "I had a party last night. I'm having one tomorrow. And I think I'll have one over the weekend." And despite everything -- eight husbands, career (and weight) fluctuations and some life-threatening illnesses -- the indomitable La Liz claimed, "I feel like 45." Being 70, she said, is "no different from being 69. It's a round number, and there's something about roundness that has always appealed to me" . . . IMPROVED: Basketball great Michael Jordan, 39, underwent 90-minute arthroscopic surgery Wednesday to repair torn cartilage in his right knee, reports The Washington Post. Team officials said the operation went "great," though Jordan will have to miss at least five games. With only six weeks left in the season, USA Today reports, Jordan's absence could keep the Wizards out of the NBA playoffs . . . LOBBIED: Cynthia Nixon, 35, who plays the cynical lawyer Miranda on HBO's "Sex and the City" and is the mother of a kindergarten student, went to New York's state capital Tuesday to request money for New York City schools from the state legislature and Gov. George Pataki, reports the Associated Press. "If Miranda were real, I would try to persuade her to send her son to a public school because I believe in them," she told leaders in Albany. "But (the schools) are working in spite of what seems at times like the government's best efforts to do them in." The Pataki administration is appealing a landmark 2001 state court decision that ordered the state to spend more than $1 billion more on New York City schools . . . DIED: Legendary '40s and '50s B-movie tough guy Lawrence Tierney, 82, died in his sleep Tuesday at a Los Angeles nursing home, reports AP. A veteran of 80 movies, and famed for drunken brawls that led him into the slammer offscreen, Tierney's most notable roles were in 1945's "Dillinger" (he played the top gun) and as the leader of the murderous group in Quentin Tarantino's 1992 movie "Reservoir Dogs."

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