Archive for Sunday, July 16, 2000

People, Faces & Things

July 16, 2000


A model citizen

Tyra Banks may be a supermodel, but she's not above spilling ketchup on her fingers or braiding her hair at summer camp.

At TZONE, a free, weeklong camp she established to help girls develop self-esteem and leadership skills, Banks is known simply by her camp name: B-B-Q.

"When I first got here, they all looked at me as 'The Supermodel,"' Banks, 26, said Thursday. "Now, nobody calls me Tyra. Well, sometimes they forget."

The 52 campers, ages 11 to 15, were selected based on essays they wrote about issues teen-age girls face.

Banks, the first black model to appear on the cover of GQ magazine and the Sports Illustrated annual swimsuit issue, said she's trying to teach the girls that everyone is beautiful in her own way. She said she also went through an awkward period when she turned 11 and grew three inches in three months.

"My family used to call me the ugly duckling that turned into a swan," Banks said Thursday.

Kirk praises Israeli leaders

Kirk Douglas, in Israel to pick up a lifetime achievement award, gave Prime Minister Ehud Barak words of encouragement.

The 83-year-old Hollywood legend, whose ties with Israel go back many years, took the stage at the Jerusalem Film Festival Thursday night and recalled all the Israeli leaders he's known: David Ben Gurion, Golda Meir, Menachem Begin, and Yitzhak Rabin, of whom he added: "I loved that man."

He saved Barak for last. "May he fulfill his mission," Douglas said, prompting a sustained cheer from the audience. Barak was at Camp David for a summit with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Douglas also spoke of his love for Israel and his concerns about its religious-secular divide.

The son of Russian Jewish immigrants, Douglas has starred in "Spartacus," "Champion" and "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral."

Britney too big for Denver

Oops! Britney Spears has canceled a sold-out show because the production apparently is too big for the stage at Red Rocks Amphitheater outside Denver.

The world-famous venue has played host to dozens of major acts, including the Beatles.

"We did everything possible to prevent the show from canceling," promoter Chuck Morris said Friday. "Telling my 7-year-old daughter that Britney wasn't coming was the hardest thing I have had to do all year."

Fans snatched up more than 9,000 tickets for the July 26 concert in less than an hour when they went on sale in February.

Spears' current 50-date tour, "Oops! ... I Did It Again," has been one of the summer's hottest, featuring an elaborate set with movable platforms, giant props and a special-effects-laden video.

Godfather of Soul in trouble

A utility worker has accused James Brown, the 67-year-old Godfather of Soul, of swinging a knife at him and holding him against his will.

According to police, the worker went to Brown's home on Beech Island, S.C., to respond to a complaint that the power was out. After entering an unlocked security gate, he met Brown, who told him to wait. When Brown returned, he was carrying a suit and said, "That means I'm a government agent, and I can lock you up for trespassing and sneaking around on my property." Brown then allegedly approached the worker with a steak knife.

The utility company said there was nothing wrong with Brown's electricity and they didn't know who called in the complaint.

Brown, whose hits include "I Got You (I Feel Good)," and "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag," served a sentence for assault and weapons convictions from 1988 to 1991. In 1998, he completed a 90-day drug treatment program to avoid a two-year prison sentence on marijuana and gun charges. Brown said he used the marijuana for medicinal purposes to treat eye ailments.

Smits joins 'Star Wars' cast

Emmy-winning actor Jimmy Smits, formerly of TV's "L.A. Law" and "NYPD Blue," will join the cast of "Star Wars: Episode II," now filming in Australia, People magazine reports.

Smits, most recently opposite Mel Gibson in Wim Wenders' "Million Dollar Hotel," will be donning the robes of Bail Organa, the Alderaan senator and future stepfather of Princess Leia.

Smits had his agents contact casting director Robin Gurland to declare his interest in the project. But Gurland already had him pegged for the part.

"I'd thought of Jimmy for the role before George Lucas had even confirmed the character's appearance," Gurland said.

Also on board is prolific British actor Christopher Lee, best known for wearing Dracula's cape in the '50s. Lee will play a "charismatic separatist."

'Sixth Sense' team returns

"The Sixth Sense" writer/director M. Night Shyamalan and Bruce Willis have re-teamed for a film that looks just as spooky -- and potentially as successful -- as its predecessor, Empire magazine says.

In the upcoming supernatural thriller "Unbreakable," Willis will play a security guard who discovers a mysterious secret about himself after he survives a train wreck. While the horrific accident claims the lives of 131 passengers, Bruce emerges completely unharmed.

"Shaft" star Samuel L. Jackson, who starred with Willis in "Die Hard With a Vengeance" and "Pulp Fiction," plays a man in a wheelchair convinced Bruce's character is a superhero.

Today's birthdays

Tennis great Margaret Court is 58. Actor-singer Ruben Blades is 52. Rock composer-musician Stewart Copeland is 48. Dancer Michael Flatley is 42. Actress Phoebe Cates is 37. Actor-comedian Will Ferrell is 33. Actor Corey Feldman is 29.

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