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Archive for Monday, July 10, 2000

People, Faces & Things

July 10, 2000

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A role to sing about

Bronson Pinchot doing Shakespeare?

Pinchot, 40, who played Balki Bartokomous in the TV sitcom "Perfect Strangers," sings and dances in his role as a thieving troubadour in Public Theater's "The Winter's Tale."

Pinchot made his singing debut last fall in Broadway's "Putting It Together," a review of songs from Stephen Sondheim musicals.

"When I was first in that show I couldn't sing," Pinchot said in Sunday's Newsday. "I hired a singing guy and had a lesson every day for months. It was learn while you earn. Like the old MGM studio system. Let's see what we can do here."

Pinchot is ecstatic about the new turn his career has taken and about his new life in New York.

"I made one close friend in L.A. in 15 years, whereas here there's already 10 people whose shoulders I would cry on if something bad happened."

The prince's new coat

Prince William's royal coat of arms was revealed Sunday and included a unique addition -- a tribute to his late mother, Princess Diana.

The coat of arms, which marks the prince's 18th birthday, incorporates aspects of the royal arms used by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles in addition to a small red escallop shell derived from the Spencer coat of arms.

The escallop motif, used by Princess Diana, has been borne by the Earls Spencer since the 16th century and was a popular symbol for medieval pilgrims.

The design was incorporated at Prince William's insistence, a palace spokeswoman confirmed. The design was also approved by the queen and Prince Charles.

"It is a welcome innovation to incorporate maternal symbols into the royal family's arms and it is something that Prince William and his family wanted to do," said Peter Gwynne-Jones, who organizes coats of arms on behalf of the royals.

For old time's sake

Pete Townshend, chief songwriter and guitarist for The Who, describes the rock group's latest reunion tour as a get-together with old friends.

"It's the kind of thing that people do when they're retired, isn't it -- they go on a cruise with their golf clubs or something," Townshend, 55, said in Sunday's Newsday.

Townshend, who immortalized the words "Hope I die before I get old" in the song "My Generation" almost 35 years ago, is in the midst of a 20-date tour with two other surviving members of The Who, singer Roger Daltry and bassist John Entwistle.

Recently separated from his wife of 34 years, Townshend says his life is at a crossroads. And he is somewhat mournful about where nearly four decades of rock has taken him.

"I thought that rock and roll was a different form of show business. I thought it unlocked something different about the human spirit and about the artistic process. And of course it didn't."

Life stands still

The negative publicity about the murder of her daughter faded Saturday as Patsy Ramsey attended her 25th high school reunion in Parkersburg, W.Va.

"Good things happen when I'm around these people who I've known for most of my life," Ramsey said at a reception in her honor at a local church. "It's like life has stood still when I return to Parkersburg."

Patsy and John Ramsey are the parents of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey, who was killed in 1996 in the couple's Boulder, Colo., home. The pair traveled from their home in Atlanta to attend the reunion.

About 90 former classmates, friends and family members who were invited to a reception offered words of encouragement to the couple. The Ramseys were greeted by modest media attention.

Police have said the couple remains under suspicion for their daughter's death. In their recent book, "The Death of Innocence," the Ramseys theorize their daughter was killed by an intruder. No arrests have been made in the case.

Life after Disney

Michael Ovitz isn't having any trouble keeping busy these days.

The former Disney president's Artists Production Group just signed a $900 million deal with the film production arm of Europe's Canal Plus to produce 15 films -- with budgets ranging from $30 million to $80 million -- for the international market over the next three years.

APG already has more than 35 projects in development, including Ed Burns' "Sidewalks of New York," Michael Crichton's "Timeline" and the political thriller "The 28th Amendment." Also set for production this year are "Gravity," based on Tess Gerristsen's best seller, and Tom Clancy's "Rainbow Six."

Scouts' honor

The Boy Scouts of America will award its highest honor to country singer Louise Mandrell.

Mandrell, who helped raise more than $1 million for the scouts, will receive the Silver Buffalo Award at her theater in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., on Tuesday. Previous winners include Bob Hope, Jimmy Stewart, Walt Disney and President Ford.

The Boy Scouts, based in Irving, Tex., aim to build character and foster citizenship in young men through outdoor activities, achievement programs and mentoring.

"It is people like Louise Mandrell that share their talents and energies with our organization that make scouting possible for the youth of America," said spokesman Mike Hoover.

Mandrell, who is the sister of country star Barbara Mandrell, has entertained at many scouting events including the National Jamboree. Since 1994, she has hosted the annual Louise Mandrell Celebrity Shoot in Nashville, which benefits the scouting program in Middle Tennessee.

Mandrell scored hits in the 1980s with "Save Me" and "Maybe My Baby."

Today's birthdays

News correspondent David Brinkley is 80. Pop singer Neil Tennant is 46. Eunice Kennedy Shriver is 79. Boxer Jake LaMotta is 79. Broadway composer Jerry Herman is 67. Folk singer Arlo Guthrie is 53.

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