- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 12, 2005

Brad’s crusade

Actor Brad Pitt said yesterday he felt uncomfortable using his superstar status to draw attention to Africa’s troubles in a high profile TV interview last week, but insisted the United States must take the lead in global efforts to help the continent.

While many viewers may have watched Mr. Pitt’s interview Tuesday on ABC television hoping for revelations about his relationship with actress Angelina Jolie, he devoted most of the time to talking about a recent tour of Africa.

“I understand celebrity’s a currency, and no, I’m not going to cash that chip in unless I have to,” Mr. Pitt said of his action in an interview with ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” program broadcast yesterday.

Speaking of his trip to Ethiopia, Mr. Pitt added: “My first few days, I found the scene so daunting, complex in their horror, and the end of human existence in some way, and it’s not till little by little I begin understanding how we could change this. And we can change this.

“For me the humanitarian argument is enough. There’s no argument, in meeting these people, and having a woman who’s worried about the kids she is going to leave behind, because she is ravaged with AIDS, and saying, ‘please, get the drugs.’ We just don’t understand these kind of predicaments.”

Mr. Pitt said that American people must put more pressure on the government.

“I believe that we should be leading this planet, as the richest country in the world, as the superpower that we are, that we should be leading this fight, and we should be sending our president, Bush, on a wave of support to say, ‘This is something we’re going to take the reins on, and bring the rest of the industrialized countries with us.’

“What we’ve got to understand now, this is not just a cause, this is an emergency,” Mr. Pitt added.

No special treatment

Pfc.Steve McQueen was confined for being absent without leave, Lt. Clark Gable’s cameraman enlisted with him and Pfc. Elvis Presley was a public relations headache for the Army, according to U.S. military documents released Thursday. “Elvis Presley will not be released in a manner different from any other inductee serving overseas,” the Army’s adjutant general wrote to citizens who complained following reports that the rock ‘n’ roll icon would get an early “good behavior” discharge.

Johny U.

Late-night television king Johnny Carson now has a department at his alma mater named after him.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Department of Theater Arts is now called the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film.

The university’s Board of Regents approved the name change Friday.

Mr. Carson, who hosted the “Tonight Show” for 30 years, approved of the name change before he died in January at age 79. The idea was presented to him by university officials before the legendary talk show host donated $5.3 million to the school in November.

He graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1949.

Compiled from wire reports by Kevin Chaffee

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