- The Washington Times - Monday, June 26, 2006

Bogie’s block

Scores of Humphrey Bogart fans braved the New York rain on Saturday as the city unveiled a plaque renaming the short stretch in front of 245 W. 103rd St. — the Upper West Side brownstone where the actor grew up — as Humphrey Bogart Place.

Long ago, the brownstone was turned into public housing — but the block, like Paris, will always be his.

“Bogie would have never believed it,” said actress Lauren Bacall, who was married to the Oscar-winning actor from 1945 until his death in 1957.

Born in 1899 to well-to-do parents, a surgeon and an illustrator, Mr. Bogart lived at the home until 1923. He went on to make dozens of films, including the classics “The Maltese Falcon,” “Casablanca” and “The African Queen.” According to Associated Press, the campaign to recognize the actor’s connection to the neighborhood was waged by Gary Dennis — a movie buff and video-store owner who grew up on the same block but didn’t know Mr. Bogart.

“Of all the blocks, of all the streets, in all the neighborhoods in all the boroughs of this city, he had to grow up on mine,” Mr. Dennis said at Saturday’s ceremony, riffing on a Bogart line from 1942’s “Casablanca.”

No jail time for George

Boy George won’t be going to jail. However, the former Culture Club singer got a scolding from a judge yesterday for not complying with the terms of his sentence on a drug charge, AP reports.

“I’m not going to give you another chance,” Manhattan Criminal Judge Anthony Ferrara warned Boy George, who didn’t do the community service required by his plea deal for his conditional discharge.

Boy George, whose real name is George O’Dowd, pleaded guilty in March to third-degree false reporting of an incident. The charge followed his false report of a burglary at his Lower Manhattan apartment, where police said they found cocaine. Under his plea deal, Boy George was to enter a drug treatment program in England and do five days of community service in Manhattan. He also was supposed to pay a $1,000 fine and a $160 surcharge and avoid arrest for any reason during the next six months.

However, Boy George, 45, didn’t do the community service, and earlier this month, Judge Ferrara demanded that the singer show up in court or face arrest. “You have to do the community service,” the judge said. “It’s up to you whether you make it an exercise in humiliation or in humility.”

“If you don’t do the community service, I’ll make you a promise: You’re going through that door,” Judge Ferrara said, pointing toward the entrance to the jail cells. He then gave Boy George until Aug. 28 to complete the community service.

Louis Freeman, Boy George’s attorney, said Judge Ferrara’s annoyance was “based on a misunderstanding” that his client was trying to avoid complying with the sentence. Mr. Freeman said Boy George always intended to comply with all the terms of his conditional discharge but had proposed working with an HIV/AIDS charity while taking part in an outpatient drug-treatment program for himself. The judge rejected that proposal.

“He’ll probably be raking leaves in Central Park or something like that,” Mr. Freeman said of Boy George, who was referred to the Sanitation Department for possible assignment. When he left the community service assignment office, Boy George quipped, “I’m going to be teaching basketball in Harlem.”

The former star’s drug woes reportedly led to the collapse of the Culture Club, which had several hit singles including “Karma Chameleon” and “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?” in the 1980s.

Mag praises Pitt

Brad Pitt was named one of “15 People Who Make America Great” by Newsweek magazine for using his megawatt star power to shine some light on some often neglected causes in Africa.

Mr. Pitt, a constant target of the paparazzi, told the magazine that he figured if the cameras were going to follow him and girlfriend Angelina Jolie everywhere, the two might as well lure them somewhere that needed the world’s attention.

“It’s the first time I’ve actually felt like we have some degree of control over it,” Mr. Pitt told Newsweek in the issue that arrived on newsstands yesterday.

Mr. Pitt and Miss Jolie also sold the first picture of their daughter, Shiloh, to People magazine for a reported $4 million, saying all proceeds would be donated to charity.

Also among the 15 people or corporations named on the Newsweek list were CNN “American Morning” anchor Soledad O’Brien, whom the magazine said showed an “inner rage” while reporting on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina; and Rick Warren, author of “The Purpose Driven Life,” AP reports.

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

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