- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Self-intervention

Comedian George Carlin, who became a counterculture hero in the 1970s with routines about drugs and dirty words, said this week that he was voluntarily entering a drug and alcohol treatment program.

“I’m going into rehab because I use too much wine and Vicodin,’ said Mr. Carlin, 67, whose latest book, “When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?” is a national best seller.

“No one told me I needed this; I recognized the problem and took the step myself,” he said.

The name and location of the facility weren’t disclosed.

The stand-up comedian said he has never been treated in a rehabilitation facility.

“I know it isn’t easy, but I’m highly motivated and will do whatever’s needed,” his statement continued. “My levels of use are nowhere near the worst you hear about these days. I could easily have continued functioning at a good level for a while, but my use would have progressed.

“I would have been in deeper trouble, and I didn’t want to tolerate that.”

Too much ado

“Roses are Red” crooner Bobby Vinton nixed plans for a statue and tribute to him in his hometown of Canonsburg, Pa.

A group led by borough council member Jean Popp, who graduated from Canonsburg High School with Mr. Vinton in 1952, had hoped to raise $100,000 — $70,000 for the statue and another $30,000 to publicize its dedication, including banquets, printed materials and souvenirs, according to Associated Press.

However, the 69-year-old singer e-mailed borough Manager Terry Hazlett, saying he wouldn’t support the effort.

“I feel that a tribute of this magnitude, with all that is going on in the world, and to ask the community to raise $100,000, is inappropriate,” he said.

Mr. Vinton also noted the honor is “premature,” as he hasn’t retired yet.

New magnolia

Associated Press

Actress Rebecca Gayheart, who gained popularity as the Noxzema girl in the skin-care company’s ads, has joined the cast of “Steel Magnolias,” opening on Broadway in April.

Miss Gayheart, 32, appeared on the TV show “Beverly Hills, 90210” in the 1990s and has more recently been seen on the FX series “Nip/Tuck” and Showtime’s “Dead Like Me.” Her movie credits include “Scream 2” and “Urban Legend.”

She will play bride-to-be Shelby, the role portrayed by Julia Roberts in the 1989 movie version of Robert Harling’s play, the Monday announcement said.

Also in the Broadway cast are Delta Burke as Truvy, the owner of a Louisiana beauty parlor. Christine Ebersole will play M’Lynn, Shelby’s mother.

The production, directed by Jason Moore, begins preview performances March 15 at the Lyceum Theatre and opens April 4.

“Steel Magnolias” was one of off-Broadway’s biggest hits, opening in 1987 and running for more than 1,000 performances.

Besides Miss Roberts, the film also starred Sally Field, Dolly Parton and Shirley MacLaine.

Close shave

Better celebrity tsunami news: Vacationing action star Jet Li injured his foot as he protected his daughter from waves that flooded his hotel in the Maldives, Hong Kong newspapers reported yesterday.

The “Hero” star was with his daughter in the hotel’s lobby Sunday when huge waves gushed into the hotel, the Apple Daily newspaper reported, quoting a friend vacationing with Mr. Li. The actor struck his foot on a floating piece of furniture while picking up his daughter, a report said.

Hey, hey, hey’

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — Kenan Thompson, who plays the title role in the new “Fat Albert” movie, hopes he doesn’t get typecast.

“You always gotta watch yourself when you’re playing … such an iconic character because you don’t want to be trying to audition for something else and all anybody wants to do is ‘Hey, hey, hey’ … and kick you out of the audition,” Mr. Thompson recently told reporters, according to AP Radio.

The live-action film, directed by Joel Zwick, is based on the animated TV series comedian Bill Cosby created in the 1970s about adolescents growing up in Philadelphia.

Mr. Thompson said he wore a form-fitting fat suit to play the role.

“I had all this belly to get around and a little more booty, but, you know, it was cool,” the 26-year-old actor-comedian said.

Compiled by Scott Galupo from Web and wire reports

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