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Archive for Sunday, October 1, 2000

People, faces & things

October 1, 2000

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Romano doesn't bet on it

Ray Romano sees only one upside to his old gambling habit: he didn't have much money to blow at the time.

The actor, who plays sportswriter Ray Barone on the CBS sitcom "Everybody Loves Raymond," says his hobby of betting on sporting events during his days as a struggling standup comedian turned into a compulsion.

"In a casino, you gotta give them money up front. But when you make a phone call to a bookmaker, you can say, 'Put a thousand dollars on this' even if you don't have the money on you," Romano said in the Oct. 9 issue of Us Weekly.

"The good part was that I didn't have a lot to lose, so it's better that I had the habit then than now," said Romano.

Romano, 42, says he gave up gambling 11 years ago.

De Niro mum at festival

Robert De Niro is known for his ability to adapt to a variety of roles. Talking about his talents isn't one of them. On Friday, De Niro was presented with the Donostia Prize lifetime achievement award, a highlight of the San Sebastian Film Festival in Spain.

Known for his reluctance to talk off screen as he is for volatility on screen, De Niro's answers at a packed press conference were typically scant on detail and his smiles to an eager audience were few and far between.

De Niro, who has appeared in more than 50 movies, won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in "The Godfather, Part II" in 1975. Eight years later, he won the Best Actor Award playing an aging boxer in "Raging Bull."

Brockovich bill backed

Chalk up a political victory for Erin Brockovich.

A bill backed by Brockovich to require stricter testing for a carcinogen in San Fernando Valley drinking water has been signed by Gov. Gray Davis.

The measure requires the state Department of Health Services to determine the levels of chromium 6 in the valley's water systems.

In 1992, Brockovich, a legal aide, and her boss initiated a headline-grabbing lawsuit that resulted in a utility paying $333 million to residents of the California desert town of Hinkley. The residents contended the utility contaminated their water with chromium 6, an odorless chemical suspected of causing cancer.

Earlier this year, a film about the case, "Erin Brockovich," was released. It starred Julia Roberts and made Brockovich, a Lawrence native, and her boss famous.

A closet full of advice

Dean Cain has advice for closeted gay actors working in Hollywood: If anyone asks, don't tell ... at least if you value your career.

"I think it's difficult for an actor who is gay to openly say that they are gay, because I think that it will absolutely hurt their career," Cain tells TV Guide Online. "It will hurt their career horribly because they won't get offered the same roles. Anne Heche is a great example," said the star of "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman," who plays a gay stud in the comedy "The Broken Hearts Club."

"I think people watched 'Six Days Seven Nights' saying, 'Oh, she's gay. I don't see the chemistry with Harrison Ford. She's gay.'

"Try to play a leading man where he has a romance, and I would imagine that would be hard. I think that's unfair, but I think that's the way it is right now."

However, Cain didn't hesitate to accept the role of love-'em-and-leave-'em Cole in "Broken Hearts" even though some people have wondered about his own sexual orientation.

"Honestly, I never thought there was any speculation as to my sexuality," admits Cain, who has a 4-month-old son with model Samantha Torres.

"But I knew there was a large gay audience that liked to watch 'Superman.' And that was wonderful."

Goodness, gracious birthday

Great balls of fire Jerry Lee Lewis is a senior citizen!

About 500 fans and well-wishers showed up at the legendary rocker's ranch in Nesbit, Miss., to ring in his 65th birthday on Friday.

The visitors, who had paid $250 each for a weekend with Lewis, did not complain when his appearance was delayed by oatmeal and a nap.

Shortly after 2 p.m., as the band played "Twist and Shout," Lewis took the stage and blew out the dozens of candles that had already charred the icing on his piano-shaped cake. It came complete with a keyboard made of white icing and KitKat bars.

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