Archive for Sunday, November 12, 2000

People, Faces, & Things

November 12, 2000


So long, Mr. Rogers

It's a sad day in the neighborhood. Longtime children's TV host Fred Rogers plans to introduce his last new neighbor next year, his production company announced Saturday.

The 71-year-old host and creator of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" will shoot the final episode of the show in 2001, but he won't be hanging up his cardigan just yet.

After 50 years in television and 33 years as the show's host, Rogers is turning his attention to his Web sites, publications and special museum programs. And he'll still provide gentle advice in reruns.

The show has gained a wide audience among children and parents who appreciate its simple lessons and Rogers' soothing manner. Rogers has taught children how to share, how to deal with anger and even how not to fear the bathtub by assuring them they'll never go down the drain.

How the Grinch stole $20M

Most people would say Jim Carrey has it made: He makes $20 million a movie, he gets to be a Dr. Seuss character for Christmas, and he got the girl Renee Zellweger.

But the comic actor tells Details magazine that making obscene amounts of cash isn't all it's cracked up to be. "With me," Carrey said, "it's just numbers on a page. I don't exist in that world. All I need is three meals a day, a comfortable place to live and my car."

Not surprisingly, Carrey doesn't get much sympathy for the dire predicament he's in.

"At this point, nobody gives a damn what my problem is," he says. "I could literally have a tumor on the side of my head and they'd be like, 'Yeah, big deal, I'd eat a tumor every morning for the kinda money you're pulling down."'

Fighting racism on screen

Cuba Gooding Jr. says that while most current movies resort to violence when dealing with racism, his new film bucks the trend.

"This is one of the few scripts I've read in which a black man faced racial aggression and opposition, and rose above it ... And didn't have to kill somebody to do it," said Gooding, whose movie "Men of Honor" opened this past week.

Gooding, who won an Oscar in 1997 for his work on "Jerry Maguire," plays a diver who was the first black man to become a master chief, the Navy's highest enlisted rank.

He said he's proud that the film doesn't soft-pedal the racial animosity that existed in the Navy during the late 1950s or sensationalize his character. "I didn't want to play (him) in this movie as an angry man," Gooding told the Los Angeles Times.

A parade for Tom

It was confetti and Times Square crowds last New Year's Day for Tom Brokaw. For 2001, he'll see roses aplenty. The NBC anchorman was announced Friday as grand marshal of the 112th Rose Parade, part of the Tournament of Roses festivities Jan. 1 highlighted by college football's Rose Bowl.

Brokaw won acclaim for his book "The Greatest Generation," which told the story of Americans who were born in the 1920s, grew up in the Depression and fought World War II.

The battle for Groucho

Forget "A Day at the Races" and "A Night At the Opera." Groucho Marx has become the central character in a new production: A Fight at the Courthouse.

In a legal battle over two anthologies about the late comedian, Robert Bader, author of "Groucho Marx and Other Short Stories and Tall Tales," has filed a federal lawsuit accusing another writer of plagiarism.

The defendants are Random House Inc. and author Stefan Kanfer, who created "The Essential Groucho, Writings by and for Groucho Marx."

In the suit, Bader said Kanfer's book copies passages "virtually verbatim" from his book, which was published in 1993 as an anthology of Marx's best short comic pieces over a 50-year period.

Bader said he notified Random House and asked that distribution of Kanfer's book be stopped but that the publisher ignored him.

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