- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 19, 2003

Trouble in ‘Oz’

New York Post

The reviews weren’t so great, but the audience at Thursday’s opening of “The Boy From Oz” enjoyed the show thoroughly. Among those seen in the glittering crowd were Ron Perelman and Ellen Barkin, Rosie Perez, Candice Bergen, Beverly Sills, and Julianne Moore.

Singer Barbara Cook dabbed her eyes during a tender ballad by leading man Hugh Jackman.

Could she be an investor?

Most of the reviews have singled out ‘Oz’ star, Mr. Jackman — who portrays the late Aussie-born showman Peter Allen in the $13 million production — for high praise while admonishing the production, directed by Philip McKinley, as “bogus” and “tatty,” and so lacking in substance as to put unreasonable demands on its taut leading man, the Australian newspaper, the Sydney Morning Herald noted.

Fowl play

New York Post

Pamela Anderson’s feathers are ruffled over the way KFC treats its chickens before they’re slaughtered and fried.

The vegetarian vixen is clucking that the popular fast-food chain pumps its birds full of hormones and kills them by scalding.

“I am calling for a boycott of all KFC restaurants until my friends at PETA tell me that you have agreed to be kinder in your practices,” Miss Anderson said in an open letter to Prizim Brands, which owns 760 KFC stores in her native Canada.

The actress has been a card-carrying member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals for years. She isn’t the only celebrity to try to fry KFC. Earlier this year, Jason Alexander was dropped as KFC’s spokesman after he met with PETA and demanded a meeting with the bird brass at the chain.

Hip-hop heavyweight Russell Simmons, Paul McCartney and Chrissie Hynde have all attacked KFC. Miss Hynde even got arrested at an anti-KFC rally in Paris. The celebs say their current protest isn’t aimed at pulling the plug on the poultry purveyor, known as “Kentucky Fried Cruelty” to the meat-is-murder set. They just want it to be more humane in the way it treats its flock, according to PETA.

KFC, for its part, has repeatedly rejected the animal rights zealots’ claims.

Kudos for Streep

Associated Press

The American Film Institute will honor Meryl Streep with its 32nd Life Achievement Award.

The film organization’s board of trustees selected the 54-year-old star of “Sophie’s Choice” and “The Hours” to receive their highest honor. Miss Streep is set to accept the award June 10 at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood in a ceremony that will be broadcast by USA Network.

“Her talent, range and determination to master her craft bring out performances that sometimes border on the ethereal,” trustee chair Howard Stringer said Friday. “In that sense, she is truly peerless.”

Miss Streep received her first Academy Award nomination for her 1978 portrayal of the long-suffering daughter and girlfriend in the gritty Vietnam-era drama “The Deer Hunter,” the first of several pairings with Robert De Niro, last year’s AFI honoree.

Miss Streep, a two-time Oscar winner, is known for her ability to convincingly adopt various accents, ranging from her portrayal of a Polish Holocaust survivor in 1982’s “Sophie’s Choice” to the Italian wife who has an affair with Clint Eastwood’s character in 1995’s “The Bridges of Madison County.” She recently starred in “Angels in America” and will portray the ambitious, ruthless mother of a trained assassin in a remake of “The Manchurian Candidate.”

Previous AFI winners include Barbra Streisand, Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood, Elizabeth Taylor and Bette Davis.

Jean recovering

Internet Movie Database

Rapper Wyclef Jean has been hospitalized for exhaustion and dehydration after becoming ill from food poisoning.

Mr. Jean became ill last Tuesday, the day after appearing at The Source Hip Hop Music Awards in Miami, and was admitted to a hospital.

“Apparently, he was on his way back from his promotional tour in Europe and got food poisoning,” says Lois Najarian, publicist for Mr. Jean’s label, J Records.

Miss Najarian says the former Fugees star, who turned 31 on Friday, is also suffering from exhaustion after a heavy promotional tour for his new album “The Preacher’s Son,” due out next month.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports.

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