- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 2, 2006

Message from beyond

Chris Farley, the funnyman who died more than eight years ago of a drug overdose, is making an appearance — on billboards that advertise treatment for drug and alcohol addiction.

The outdoor ads — the first major commercial use of his image approved by his family — feature a photo of the smiling, famously bloated comic with the slogan, “It wasn’t all his fault.” The ads tout a new addiction treatment from Hythiam Inc.

The first billboard was scheduled to appear today in Los Angeles near the Chateau Marmont on Sunset Boulevard, the hotel where Mr. Farley’s idol, comedian John Belushi, died of a drug overdose in 1982.

“We felt it was an effective way of getting people to focus on our message point, because it’s unusual to see a celebrity in this fashion,” said Terren S. Peizer, Hythiam’s chief executive.

Mr. Farley — whose wild antics on “Saturday Night Live” earned him comparisons to Mr. Belushi, another veteran of the show — died Dec. 18, 1997, in Chicago of an accidental overdose of morphine and cocaine. He was 33.

The billboards will appear in the Los Angeles area. Mr. Peizer said talks are under way with estates of several other dead celebrities, whom he declined to identify.

Hythiam paid Mr. Farley’s estate $25,000 for the right to use the image.

Pitt on the prowl

Brad Pitt visited the Dominican Republic this week to scout real estate.

The actor took a helicopter to the Samana peninsula, on the north coast, and the eastern towns of Miches and Punta Cana to look into real estate projects with art dealer and promoter George Nader.

He was photographed Friday afternoon after a meeting with German architects Lars Kruckeberg and Wolfram Putz at a hotel in the colonial district of Santo Domingo, the country’s capital. The architects had previously refurbished Mr. Pitt’s and girlfriend Angelina Jolie’s house in Los Angeles.

The couple, who co-starred in 2005’s “Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” are expecting their first child this year.

Miss Jolie — who was in the Caribbean nation in January filming the movie “The Good Shepherd” with Robert De Niro — did not accompany Mr. Pitt, said her publicist, Holly Goline, who confirmed Mr. Pitt’s trip.

Mr. Pitt will narrate a series on environmentally friendly structures and sustainable architecture in June on public television.

Musician honored

Jazz great Dave Brubeck, who has written more than 45 religious works including songs, hymns and carols, will be honored by the University of Notre Dame with its Laetare Medal.

The school will present the 85-year-old pianist with the medal — considered the most prestigious honor for American Catholics — during its May 21 commencement.

Since 1883, the Laetare Medal has been awarded annually to a Catholic “whose genius has ennobled the arts and sciences, illustrated the ideals of the church and enriched the heritage of humanity.”

“His life and his music splendidly interweave the celebration of beauty with the imperative to worship,” the Rev. John I. Jenkins, president of Notre Dame, said of Mr. Brubeck.

Mr. Brubeck is best known for writing a number of jazz standards, including “In Your Own Sweet Way” and “The Duke.” Since the Dave Brubeck Quartet disbanded in 1967, he has focused on writing many religious compositions.

His long career includes the classic album, “Time Out,” which featured the hit “Take Five.”

Out of action

Jackie Chan says he’s still in pain from a recent chest injury sustained while filming his latest movie, “Rob-B-Hood.”

“It’s still swollen. It really hurts,” the 51-year-old action star told reporters Friday at the opening festivities of a Hong Kong rugby tournament.

Mr. Chan, whose screen credits include roles in the “Rush Hour” movies, said an X-ray showed no broken bones but cartilage injury.

“Breathing hurts. … It hurts to draw my fist. It’s been hard filming fight scenes these past two days,” he said.

Mr. Chan was injured March 23 when a stuntman wearing the wrong shoes kicked him. Mr. Chan has suffered numerous injuries performing his own stunts.

• Compiled by Kevin Chaffee from wire reports

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