- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 9, 2004

Culprits caught

Associated Press

Police have arrested two people for making purchases with money and account numbers found in the lost wallet of actor Tony Curtis.

Mr. Curtis’ assistant reported the wallet missing in August, a month after the actor had passed through Barstow, about 115 miles northeast of Los Angeles. It contained cash, credit cards and personal checks.

Sgt. Rudy Alcantara of the Barstow Police Department said Friday that two women were arrested after detectives found the women had made transactions on Mr. Curtis’ accounts.

Cynthia Ann Devine and Katherine Runge, both of Barstow, were arrested for forgery and unauthorized possession of account numbers, Sgt. Alcantara said.

They also were arrested for possession of methamphetamine, as were several others who were in their homes at the time of the arrests.

Sgt. Alcantara did not say how much of Mr. Curtis’ money was spent. He said the investigation is ongoing.

The 78-year-old actor has starred in numerous films, including “Some Like It Hot” with Marilyn Monroe and Jack Lemmon in 1959 and “The Defiant Ones” with Sidney Poitier in 1958, which led to an Academy Award nomination for both stars.

Mr. Curtis and his former wife, actress Janet Leigh, are the parents of actress Jamie Lee Curtis.

‘Passion’ star guarded

San Francisco Chronicle

“The Passion of the Christ” star James Caviezel is being protected from attack by a security team after his performance as Jesus Christ in the Mel Gibson movie.

Studio bosses are concerned that Mr. Caviezel will be attacked for his role in the controversial film and have hired a “protection squad.”

The film has drawn criticism as being anti-Semitic.

A studio source told the British tabloid newspaper Daily Star on Sunday: “There are some crazy people out there, and everything is being done to protect Mel and Jim from physical attack.”

Mr. Caviezel, a devout Catholic, says, “Of course I’m scared that someone could get it in his head to make me a target.

“But I won’t let this stop me doing my business. I’m an actor, helping to promote a movie I truly believe in.”

Cursed by ‘Gigli’

Internet Movie Database

Filmmaker Kevin Smith has given up hope of hitting the No. 1 spot with his new movie “Jersey Girl” — because Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez have given the project the kiss of death.

The “Dogma” director thought he had landed movie gold when the then-couple agreed to appear in his romantic comedy, but the huge failure of their last joint screen outing, “Gigli,” made him realize people don’t want to see the pair together.

Mr. Smith, a longtime friend of Mr. Affleck’s, thought they made a great couple in real life but admits he can only hope that “Jersey Girl” isn’t a flop at the box office.

“I had the benefit in the beginning of knowing that the movie wasn’t all about them,” he says. “We kept it real quiet in the beginning because we wanted to have a big surprise, but it got punched to the audience with, ‘Guess what, she dies.’

“Once ‘Gigli’ happened, her death became a marketing hook. In all honesty, ‘Gigli’ did kind of wing us and still kind of stings to this day because when I put the movie together it was Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler and Jennifer Lopez, and we had a great shot at being the number one movie the weekend we open. After ‘Gigli’ opened, I realized, ‘We’ll never be the number one movie, and we’re handicapped at this point.’”

Yet Mr. Smith remains confident “Jersey Girl” will be a hit: “As long as they hear our picture is a little better, I think people will turn out,” he says.

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

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