- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Shields shoots back

Actress Brooke Shields has returned fire on former pal Tom Cruise for passing judgment on her “misguided” use of drugs to combat postnatal depression, according to the Internet Movie Database.

In an interview with “Access Hollywood’s” Billy Bush, Mr. Cruise, who claims to have helped drug addicts kick their habit through the controversial Scientology belief system, criticized the “Suddenly Susan” star for becoming dependent on Paxil following the birth of her daughter, Rowan.

Referencing Mr. Cruise’s forthcoming movie “War of the Worlds,” Miss Shields said, “His comments are dangerous. He should stick to saving the world from aliens.”

Not quite forever

A British children’s home immortalized in the John Lennon-penned “Strawberry Fields Forever” closed yesterday after 69 years of looking after Liverpool’s disadvantaged youngsters.

Reuters News Agency reported that all the children had left the Salvation Army’s Strawberry Field home and that child care at the Beaconsfield Road site ended yesterday. No decision has been made on the fate of the home or its iconic wrought-iron gates. Both became well-known to thousands of Beatles fans after the song was released in 1967.

“A few administrative staff will stay on for the short term to wrap everything up over the next couple of months,” a spokeswoman for the Christian charity said.

Mr. Lennon used to visit the home as a boy to play with childhood friends on its grounds. He modified its name to make it flow more smoothly with the song’s melody.

Unclean Slate

Actor Christian Slater was arrested early yesterday morning and charged with groping a woman on a Manhattan street, police spokesman Detective John Sweeney said.

The woman, who was not identified, flagged down police to report the incident, Mr. Sweeney told AP. Mr. Slater was found nearby, and the woman identified him as the man who had groped her.

Mr. Slater, who’s appearing on Broadway in “The Glass Menagerie,” was arrested on a charge of third-degree sexual abuse.

New head at Hirshorn

Ned Rifkin, the current Smithsonian under secretary for art, is stepping down as head of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Gardens, according to museum officials.

The new director will be Olga Viso, who currently serves as the museum’s deputy director. She will assume the position Sept. 1.

Mr. Rifkin took over as the museum’s head in 2002, succeeding James Demetrion, who held the position for nearly 17 years.

“It became clear that each of the positions required full dedication,” Mr. Rifkin said yesterday. “During this time, the deputy director has demonstrated successfully that she can run the museum with great talent and vision. … the opportunity was to give her the chance to lead and for me to take on the more global responsibility full time.”

Miss Viso joined the museum in 1995 as assistant curator and was named an associate curator three years later.

The museum opened in 1974 with a collection of more than 6,000 works donated by Joseph H. Hirshhorn.

Compiled by Scott Galupo, Ann Geracimos and Christian Toto from staff, Web and wire reports.

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