Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Ex-wife bashes Hanks

Tom Hanks is seen as one of Hollywood’s nice guys — but the two-time Oscar winner’s first wife strongly disagreed with that perception.

In newly unearthed court papers published in the upcoming biography “The Tom Hanks Enigma,” by David Gardner, actress Susan Dillingham charged that Mr. Hanks harassed her and attempted to kill her career, the New York Post reported yesterday.

“My husband has repeatedly verbally abused and humiliated me during the past 90 days in my home. This caused me to suffer great emotional distress,” Miss Dillingham wrote in a letter to a Los Angeles court in an effort to secure a restraining order against the actor.

Miss Dillingham, whose stage name was Samantha Lewes, died from bone cancer in 2002. During their messy divorce, which began in 1985 and dragged on for three years, she said Mr. Hanks tried to force her into depositions as she took the lead roles in a series of plays.

“[It’s] designed to harass and upset me at a time when I should be focusing all of my energies on my job,” she wrote in one legal missive. Mr. Hanks shot back in his own legal filing, claiming that Miss Dillingham was delaying a divorce trial “merely to harass me and try to squeeze an unfair settlement out of me.”

The couple — college sweethearts who wed after their son, Colin, was born in 1977 — began to have problems when Mr. Hanks’ career took off in such hits as “Splash” and Miss Dillingham’s stalled. They also had a daughter, Elizabeth, in 1982. A year after the divorce, Mr. Hanks wed actress Rita Wilson.

Mr. Gardner also reveals that Mr. Hanks’ younger brother, Jim, played a Forrest Gump-type character in a little-known soft-core adult film two years before his older sibling created the role that won him an Oscar. In “Buford’s Beach Bunnies,” Jim Hanks invented the “now-famous jerky run associated with Forrest Gump” and, like Gump, showed a shy politeness toward women by calling them “ma’am,” the author says.

Madonna defies church

Pop star Madonna was suspended from a cross in the finale of her Moscow concert last night despite a plea from the Russian Orthodox Church to drop that part of her act, Reuters news agency reports.

The Material Mom, 48, has outraged Christian groups across Europe by staging a mock crucifixion and wearing a crown of thorns on her global “Confessions” tour. In the finale of her show, she sings while suspended from a cross.

Madonna, a lapsed Roman Catholic whose shows have been denounced by the Vatican, has attracted accusations of blasphemy throughout her career. The Orthodox Church had called on concertgoers to boycott last night’s performance, but the show was a sellout and Madonna drew an estimated 50,000 people.

Stamp of approval

The Beatles will appear on a set of British stamps in January, the Royal Mail announced yesterday.

The stamps will feature the famed quartet’s album covers, including “With the Beatles,” “Revolver,” “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, “Abbey Road” and “Let It Be,” reports Agence France-Presse. The Fab Four — lead guitarist George Harrison, rhythm guitarist John Lennon, bassist Paul McCartney and drummer Ringo Starr — appear on the album covers.

It was just last year that the rule was deliberately broken that members of the royal family were the only living people allowed to be identifiable on British stamps. There was uproar among philatelists and royal-watchers alike in 1999 when Queen drummer Roger Taylor could be seen clearly in the background of a stamp honoring the band’s legendary late singer Freddie Mercury.

Former Beatles Mr. McCartney and Mr. Starr are still alive. Mr. Lennon was murdered in 1980, and Mr. Harrison died of cancer in 2001.

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

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