Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Fruitcakes of the stars

A hard sell

Fruitcake sales have been suffering in recent years. It's not a secret.

I like the idea Collin Street Bakery uses to boost interest in this holiday famous fruit-laden tradition. The annual press kit from this Texas bakery that's been around since 1896 includes a list of the famous celebs who annually enjoy fruitcake. Here's a few of the one-page list of who's who: Ernest Borgnine, Jayne Meadows, Gary Collins, Mary Ann Mobley, Dr. J, Dom DeLuise, Stefanie Powers and Vanna White. If you're interested, find these fruitcakes a (800) 248-3366 or

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Sandy Duncan brings back 'The King and I'

Popular actress coming to Fort Myers in traveling musical

Sandy Duncan sounds husky when she picks up the phone in her hotel room in Green Bay, Wis. Where's the sugar-coated chirp Americans have come to know from Broadway's "Peter Pan" and her appearances on television in "The Hogan Family" and Wheat Thins commercials?

The temperature in northern Wisconsin hovers in the brittle 30s. The weather dries out Duncan's throat, but she has to perform "The King and I" again tonight.

"I like the show, I like the people I'm working with, but I find the schedule daunting," she croaks into the phone.

Warm, sunny Fort Myers sounds pretty good to Duncan. Her run next week at Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall marks the end of her stint in the show before Stefanie Powers takes over.

"Each place has its challenges," Duncan said, diplomatically. "In Florida, the humidity makes the wigs frizz."

This won't be her first trip to Southwest Florida. The Tony-nominated actress emceed an awards show for young performers here in 2001 — and served as grand marshal of the Edison Festival of Light parade on the same trip. Last season, she performed at the Philharmonic Center for the Arts in Naples.

"Anyone who works in live theater has been to Florida a lot," Duncan said. "There's more theater and more opportunities for performing than any other state. It's sort of the second New York down there."

More work is being staged outside than inside New York City, she said, because Broadway shows aim for tourists, not theatergoers.

Since June, Duncan has been the one playing tourist, though, traveling around the country as the "I" in "The King and I."

For the uninitiated, that's Anna, the British widow hired to tutor the horde of children sired by the King of Siam (now called Thailand). The perennially popular 1951 musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein features songs such as "Getting to Know You," "Hello, Young Lovers" and "Shall We Dance."

Set in 1860s Bangkok, the show deals with clashing cultures and egos, as the King and Anna fall in love despite his stubbornness and her independence.

The current production tries to freshen the musical's appeal to modern audiences by emphasizing the realities of the story.

"It's not just this precious little operetta," Duncan said. "If the music takes you out of the story it's wrong, particularly for audiences today. When these things were originally done, the acting was larger than life. These were the tunes of the day people wanted to hear. Today we've heard them all. You have to engage the audience in other ways."

When Anna and the king finally waltz together in the second act, the audience inevitably bursts into applause.

"That scene is the culmination of them talking at each other and about each other for two hours," Duncan said. "It's the first time they really touch and make contact on a romantic level. That's a big release."

Equally striking is the ball gown Anna wears in that scene, a floor-length satin dress supported by hoops.

Although some of her costumes weigh 30 pounds, 58-year-old Duncan said the most challenging part of doing the show is the rigorous routine of performing night after night. In Fort Myers, she dons the heavy couture for eight shows from Tuesday through Sunday.

"It's pretty grueling to do for seven months," she said. "By Sunday, you're tanked. I've never done this before. I've toured for short periods — a long time ago. In those days, you'd stay a month in a city."

Still, "The King and I" holds a special place in Duncan's life. She made her professional debut at 12 as one of the Thai princesses in a Dallas production of the musical. Back then, she was primarily a dancer; she learned to sing and act later.

"It never occurred to me one day I would play Anna," she said.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Slaughter of Wild Horses

Dear All,

This was brought to my attention by the woman with whom I have worked to save some of the North American Wild Horse populations that were in greatest danger of collection for slaughter or for sale to the horse butchers. It is a fate that is unspeakably horrible and if you once could see the films on the treatment and slaughtering methods used for horses you would have nightmares for weeks.

These Mustangs do not deserve this fate and are only a threat to the BLM (Bureau of Land Management), because they might compete for grass with the cows that the BLM allows to graze on federal lands, from which they receive money.

The fact that the land where the horses are found is in many cases national parklands under the management of the BLM who really do not answer to anyone
for their actions, makes the land usage almost entirely at their discretion unless activists alert the population to the private agendas of the BLM.

This lovely piece of legislation was slipped in at the eleventh hour unannounced, just before the holiday and the congress will vote on it this coming MONDAY.

Can you please read this...send it to everyone you know...and call or email your Senators or use the number in the statement. AND PRAY !!!

Thank you.

Stefanie Powers

For Californians...The Hon. Senator Barbara Boxer ...
The Hon. Senator Dave Feinstein...202 224 3841


Dear Friends of Wild Horses,

Please stay in touch with ISPMB as we have the most current information on the
legislation that will kill thousands of wild horses.

Correction - hot line for the White House (202)456-1111

Please flood your Representative's lines asking that they remove Rider #142 from the Appropriations Bill HR 4818.
Tell them that you will not stand by while our wild horses are slaughtered.
The wild horses represent what our country stands for and that is

They meet
on Monday at 2PM and work through Wednesday. There is time to STOP

Here is the link to the H.Rpt. 108-792 Conference Report to Accompany
4818 - Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2005. Click on Division E
which covers
appropriations language for DOI, either the text version or the PDF
whichever you prefer. The amendment is under Sec. 142. The text is as

3 of Public Law 92-195 (16 U.S.C. 1333) is amended--
(1) in subsection (d)(5), by striking ``this section'' and all that
through the period at the end and inserting ``this section.''; and
(2) by adding at the end the following:
``(1) IN GENERAL.--Any excess animal or the remains of an excess animal
be sold if-- ``(A) the excess animal is more than 10 years of age;
``(B) the excess animal has been offered unsuccessfully for adoption at
least 3
``(2) METHOD OF SALE.--An excess animal that meets either of the
criteria in
paragraph (1) shall be made available for sale without limitation,
through auction to the highest bidder, at local sale yards or other
livestock selling facilities, until such time as-- ``(A) all excess
offered for sale are sold; or ``(B) the appropriate management
level, as
determined by the Secretary, is attained in all areas occupied by wild
roaming horses and burros.
``(3) DISPOSITION OF FUNDS.--Funds generated from the sale of excess
under this subsection shall be-- ``(A) credited as an offsetting
to the Management of Lands and Resources appropriation for the Bureau
of Land
Management; and ``(B) used for the costs relating to the adoption
of wild
free-roaming horses and burros, including the costs of marketing such
'`(4) EFFECT OF SALE.--Any excess animal sold under this provision
shall no
longer be considered to be a wild free-roaming horse or burro for
purposes of
this Act.''.

Even though it
is highly unlikely that we can get this amendment pulled before the
signs it, we are working Nancy Pelosi's office just in case, if at the
least she can make a statement on the House floor on Monday so it can
recorded in the Congressional Record.

Below is how to access your Representatives and Senators. Call and

Call these numbers and e-mail

President Bush - 202-456-1111

VP Cheney - 202-456-2461

Senator Harry Reid - 202-224-3542
Senator Conrad Burns 1-800-344-1513 or 202-224-2644

For more information please contact ISPMB at

Thank you for your help!

Karen A. Sussman
President, ISPMB

PO Box 55
Lantry, SD 57636


Auction of bighorn sculptures Saturday

COACHELLA VALLEY: Thirty-one of the life-size artworks go on the block in Rancho Mirage.

Bighorn sale

What: Path of the Bighorn Auction

When: Saturday

Hours: Registration and viewing begins at 11 a.m.; auction starts at 2 p.m.

Where: The Lodge at Rancho Mirage, 68-900 Frank Sinatra Drive, Rancho Mirage

The "Path of the Bighorn" public art project is coming to an end with its first auction Saturday of the life-size bighorn sheep sculptures dotting the Coachella Valley and celebrity drawings of the rams.

Thirty-one of the 107 painted and decorated fiberglass sculptures and more than 100 bighorn drawings by such stars as John Travolta, Susan Sarandon and Kirk Douglas will be sold at The Lodge at Rancho Mirage.

Proceeds from the project, begun two years ago, will benefit the nonprofit Bighorn Institute, a 22-year-old conservation organization that launched Path of the Bighorn to raise awareness of the endangered Peninsular bighorn sheep.

"Our hope is that we will have many of these sculptures that will remain as public art to remind our visitors and residents of this endangered animal," said Lydia Kremer, project coordinator. "None of us expected it to be as large, as well received and as successful as it has become."

Opening bids for the bighorn sculptures, including rams adorned by Cher, Stefanie Powers and Anjelica Huston, weren't disclosed. The live auction is expected to last two hours.

The celebrity drawings - some colorful, some imaginative, and some inscribed with messages - will be auctioned off at $25 per raffle ticket, which will be collected in a box for each drawing.

Alexandra Sheldon, Path of the Bighorn director and president of the institute's Board of Directors, said the money raised from the auction will go toward a $10 million project to build a research and education center for the institute, which has worked to protect the bighorn sheep through recovery programs and captive breeding

"Our office is in a trailer," Sheldon said. "It would be great to build a real building with offices."

Sheldon said she hopes the sculptures will remain in the valley. The 71-inch fiberglass rams, which weigh up to 350 pounds, stand at museums, tourist attractions and other public places. They became so popular that maps were created to point people to each sheep's location.

About 20 sculptures, including the one at Palm Springs International Airport, will remain as public art, Sheldon said. The other artworks will be sold at future auctions, she said.

Sheldon said she won't be able to attend Saturday's sale. "I can't see them go," she said. "My dream is that all location people will buy them."

Better Nutrition

Heart to Heart with Stefanie Powers
by Bonnie Siegler

Not in a million years could you say that Stefanie Powers has let herself go. Just spend a little time talking with her, and it's evident what more than 50 years of regular exercise and good eating habits have done for her appearance, her energy and spirit, her staying power and her super-for-any-age shape. Sure, there are laugh lines around her twinkling eyes and tiny creases that appear with the famous smile. But her legs are still long and slender, her waist is girlishly slim, and that mane of red hair looks as lustrous as it did during her reign as Jennifer Hart on TV's

At 5'7", the former girl from U.N.C.L.E. admits, "There's a phenomenon that occurs when you put on more mass as you get older, so the question of trying to maintain a physical condition for women is really quite challenging because no woman knows how she's going to age until it starts to happen. We have to keep in touch with the changes and with our bodies as much as possible. We can look at our parents and see how we might play out genetically."

Graceful Aging
As for her own genetic map, Powers explains that she is the caregiver to her 91-year-old mother who suffers severe osteoporosis and who lives with her. "I'm witnessing my mother's osteoporosis on a daily basis. We have to learn about our bodies to be able to maintain healthy equipment."

Powers takes anti-aging measures, such as drinking lots of water, using sunscreen protection and getting regular exercise. And she is adamant about the benefits of hormone replacement therapy for her overall health and fitness and the role it plays in thwarting osteoporosis.

"I strongly believe in HRT (hormone replacement therapy) as long as you're being tested for all seven elements -- not just the two [elements] that most doctors test," which are estrogen and progesterone levels, she says.

"There are other elements, such as thyroid, growth hormones, bi-estrogen, DHEA and pregnenolene . . . I have my blood tested for these levels every 3 months because we change, as do our levels, in spite of the fact that we're taking a consistent dose. I wish I had these hormone tests in my 20s so that I would know what's normal for me, not what's normal for a test group. Doctors talk about norms that might not be just for you. Do you want to bring your levels up to a premenstrual level, up to a 45-year-old woman's level or up to a 20-something's level? I think the greatest injustice is that we're not told that we should test all our levels at an early age so we have that individual norm level that doctors can refer to as we age. If you're going to take hormones, you have to maintain a watchful eye on what they're doing to your body and how you are reacting. You have to be diligent about your own health because nobody cares more about you than you."

Taking Care
As thorough as she is about HRT, Powers also uses a full spectrum of supplements. "I take a calcium supplement, salmon oils, B-complex vitamins, Cs, Es, antioxidant supplements and a multi," she says.

If Powers seems to have raised the age of sexy, it's been accomplished through years of hard work educating herself on health, fitness and environmental factors.

"I see what my mother is going through. She didn't take HRT. She didn't do weight-bearing exercises, and her osteoporosis is quite bad. So the questions you ask your doctor have to be knowledgeable questions for which you do the research. I read magazines, medical journals and health care books constantly. If I don't learn something new every day, then I honestly believe it's been a day wasted. I've been thinking of health and nutrition almost my whole life," she says.

Calling herself "a clean and healthy liver," Powers says she is one of those lucky people who doesn't gain weight readily and has wisely taken most of the fat out of her diet as a cancer preventative. She also shops as organically as possible, buying essentials such as soymilk, whole grains (cereal, roughage, breads), nuts, dried fruits, and fresh fruits and vegetables whenever she can.

"Eating this way helps ensure a healthy heart," she says.

Breaking a sweat
Another of her sound health insurance measures is working up a good sweat at least three times a week. To this end, Powers does yoga once a week, three hours of aerobic/weight training/anaerobic exercise, a Pilates session and, during the season, she plays polo.
"On a perfect day, a 90-minute yoga class makes my body feel good," says the former dancer. "I do a very intense yoga workout in a hot room, which allows you to perspire. That [gets] rid of all those toxins," she says.

To complement that perfect day, Powers will eat just one solid meal, supplementing it with protein drinks and fresh juices.
"I've been mostly vegetarian forever, though I do eat some deep-sea fish. The truth is, I eat very sparingly. Overall, it makes me feel so much better emotionally and physically," she says.

Cultivating Life
Fueling Powers' 1,000-watt smile -- besides her healthful habits -- is her passion for gardening, whether she's doing it at her Southern California home or at the William Holden Wildlife Foundation in Kenya, for which she serves as president.

"I've grown my own vegetables since the '70s. I had my own chickens, and I continue to do that when I'm in Africa. So I have my own sources of protein -- chickens make eggs, and egg whites are full of protein. Organic gardening has been in my life for a long, long time. I even make my own compost."

Powers first visited Kenya in 1973 with the late actor William Holden. She now spends quite a bit of time at the foundation he started there, which includes an education center and animal preserve in the shadow of majestic Mount Kenya. Perhaps her bond with animals and their preservation has been Powers' most important longevity secret.

"I think having animals around contributes to good health. The very touch of animals and the feeling of this extraordinary bonding is somehow enormously therapeutic. It lowers blood pressure and stress," she says, "and it's comforting. I doubt very much if human beings could ever have evolved without the aid of animals."

Living Well
Known for her grace, beauty, sophistication and knowledge, Powers says that while she got her mother's "general good genes" and expects to live a very long time, she also realizes she's trying to cram many lifetimes into her one.

"I've learned what works best for me, but there are dozens of ways to get in shape, to look and feel better. The most important step is to make a commitment to yourself."

And for over 5 decades, she's been doing just that -- beautifully.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Flint Journal Entertainment News

"THE KING & I," starring Stefanie Powers, Jan. 11-30, Fisher Theatre, 3011 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit. $27.50-$62.50. (313) 872-1000.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Uncle and aunt?

The Man From Uncle spawned a spin-off series The Girl From Uncle starring Stefanie Powers.

But the female version of Solo and Kuryakin's adventures lasted just one season.

Stefanie Powers starred as Uncle agent April Dancer (the name was suggested by Ian Fleming) with her sidekick Mark Slate, played by Noel Harrison.

Powers suffered in comparison to Diana Rigg's Emma Peel in The Avengers, which became a big hit in the USA.

Noel Harrison later guested on Stefanie Powers' 1980s hit series Hart to Hart, in which she starred with Robert Wagner.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Augusta Free Press : It needs to be said

You really had better be careful in this day and age what and whom you write about.

"Brian Rostron is an ass," an anonymous reader wrote to us over the weekend, lodging a complaint at our From the Left Coast columnist's observations on the former "Hart to Hart" star (The Cal ballot maze, Nov. 17 AFP).

"Has he seen Stefanie Powers lately? I believe she's aged very well, and for him to attack her like that without provocation, well, just makes him an ass."

To characterize the line in Rostron's column referring to Powers and her physical appearance ("Stefanie Powers told me that I should vote for the Indian casinos. I think that she used to be on 'Hart to Hart' and hasn’t aged well. Actually, I'm positive she hasn't aged well.") as an attack would be to overstate things quite a bit.

But that isn't a concern to Powers' fans.

"Why does The Augusta Free Press feel compelled to have this idiot as a regular contributor?" asked a reader named Diana Rawlings. "Surely there are more intelligent and capable writers out there. This stuff is dribble at best.

"If Mr. Rostron is so ignorant as to our political process and details of relevant initiatives, and is so obsessed with celebrity bashing and football, he needs to admit his limitiations, stick to writing a home diary and get a more appropriate job for his skill level," Rawlings wrote.

So here's the scorecard here - Rostron pokes fun at the California elections, lobs a line at Powers (other celebrity targets in the missive included Dave Matthews and Arnold Schwarzenegger, neither of whose fans felt compelled to defend their honor, it should be noted), and is called an idiot and an ass for his efforts.

This seems about right for the day and age in which we live. A writer makes a comment about something, and people fight amongst themselves for the right to be the first to say that the writer has gone over the line while themselves going over the line in the course of making their point.

The Top Five People That You Don't Want To Poke Fun At, Because Their Fans Will Get Really, Really Made At You:

5. Rush Limbaugh.

4. The guy who played Urkel.

3. Katie Couric.

2. Donald Trump.

And The Number One Person That You Don't Want To Poke Fun At, Because Their Fans Will Get Really, Really Made At You:

1. The guy who lost to Ruben Studdard on "American Idol."

Monday, November 22, 2004

Stefanie Powers in Central America

Stefanie Powers has just returned from Central America, where she was involved in business for Jaguar.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Child Free TV Couples – Hart to Hart

When I was a kid, I remember sitting at my grandparents' house after school eating Pringles and watching Hart to Hart, starring Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers. Back then I wasn’t thinking about how their crime-fighting adventures would be drastically curtailed if they were dragging a kid around with them.

But now that I have proclaimed myself a member of the child free community, anytime I see a "role model" for those of us who don’t want kids, I take notice. And the Harts are one heck of a role model for child free couples!

Jonathan and Jennifer have it all: a gorgeous mansion, a steamy relationship, and the freedom to skip town and head to a tropical isle or to Paris "on business" at a moment’s notice. They live in high style, are hopelessly in love with each other and enjoy every minute of their lives.

The decision not to give the characters any children was deliberate and helped to create a super couple that proved you don’t have to have kids to be fulfilled in life.

Robert Wagner believed that fans wouldn’t accept the danger-laden lives the Harts led if they had kids. “I mean (viewers) got crazy when we'd go away without the dog,” he said.

In an another interview, Stefanie Powers said that it “just didn’t seem practical” to give them a family.

Indeed, it isn’t practical to introduce a baby into a relationship that is thriving just the way it is. Face it, the Harts could have afforded a whole slew of children. Even though they never talked about it on the show, they must have *chosen* not to have a family. And they are more than content without one.

Sounds like a lot of us, doesn’t it? (minus the Rolls Royce and private jet, of course).

Fight the Powers

Fight the Powers
Stop the Presses
Chris Graham

One thing you don't want to do if you're a columnist: peeve off those in the frighteningly loyal Stefanie Powers fan base.

I'm not joshing there, either.

About how loyal Stefanie Powers' fans are, that is.

Or about how frightening they can be when they get peeved.

"Mr. Rostron's comments about Stefanie Powers and the fact that she 'has not aged well' are totally out of line," reader Betty Leyser wrote of From the Left Coast columnist Brian Rostron's recent missive on the California elections (The Cal ballot maze, Nov. 17 AFP).

"Ms. Powers is an extremely beautiful, intelligent woman, and her political opinions should not draw comments about her looks," Leyser weighed in.

"Mr. Rostron should have done investigating before making such a cruel, sarcastic comment, and he would have seen that he was totally wrong about the appearance of Ms. Powers."


This, incidentally, ended up being just the first of a torrent of letters from Powers fans aimed at Rostron, prompting me to reexamine the piece in question just for my own sake.

I mean, I honestly didn't remember there even being a reference to Stefanie Powers in the column.

Upon further review, of course, Rostron did indeed make a throwaway comment about the actress in a paragraph about movie stars making political pitches this past election season.

"Stefanie Powers," he wrote, "told me that I should vote for the Indian casinos. I think that she used to be on 'Hart to Hart' and hasn’t aged well. Actually, I'm positive she hasn't aged well."

"I bet that your job status makes you feel very free to write all and anything without taking care that maybe you're hurting people," wrote a Carol Guillen from Paris.

As in France.

Apologizing in advance for her admittedly limited grasp of the English language, Guillen suggested that Rostron had set as his goal "to attack with pencil-shot."

"And for what? It's absolutely wrong. It's to be blind not noticing that she looks well for her age," Guillen wrote.

A reader named Dayna Ferro, for her part, wants Rostron to know that she has met Powers "several times, and so have about 100-plus fans at the"

"And we all can't believe how beautiful she is in person," Ferro wrote.

"She looks better now than ever! How dare you say she hasn't aged well. I believe you are mistaking her for Jill St. John!"

(Great. Now the Jill St. John fans are going to get riled up. This is never going to end.)

Chris Graham is the co-publisher of The Augusta Free Press. Nobody ever talks, to hear him tell it, about how well Victoria Principal has aged.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Augusta Free Press: The Cal ballot maze

From the Left Coast
Brian Rostron

I've been meaning to write a recap of the election for my, ahem, many faithful readers, but some things have gotten in the way.

And by things, I mean the triumphant season of the intrepid California Golden Bears football team.

We're 8-1 and Rose Bowl-bound, baby!

And for those reading this who suffer from that dreaded affliction known as East Coast Bias, let me clarify one thing. Cal, California and Berkeley all refer to the same education institution, the University of California, Berkeley. When people are talking about the school's physics department they usually refer to Berkeley, and when they talk about the basketball program, it's Cal or California, but it's the same school.

As many a faithful alumnus will tell you, there's only one Cal in California, and it's in Berkeley. Take that, UCLA.

So back to the election. I, being the model citizen that I am, went to my polling place, the Berkeley Friends meeting hall located in scenic West Berkeley. Now, I love Quakers as much as the next guy, but I also feel odd about voting in Berkeley in the building of a religious movement known for its emphasis on pacifism and commitment to social justice.

It's kind of like having people in rural Alabama vote at the local NRA chapter headquarters. I mean, Dave Matthews was raised in a Quaker home. You don't get more bleeding heart than that, in my opinion.

The first thing I voted for was president. This was pretty easy, and not because the choice was pretty clear, but rather because I, along with about 200 million other Americans, live in a place where there was never a doubt as to which candidate would carry the state. How much damage could my one little vote cause in that case? Maybe you shouldn't answer that.

Next I voted for senator. This was a surprise because up until a week before the election I was unaware that California was having a senatorial election this year. And this ignorance wasn't due to a concerted effort to avoid politics on my part, because the Republican candidate, Bill Jones, didn't even bother to buy a single TV ad in the entire state. I figure he could have at least bought some cheap airtime in Barstow or Death Valley or some other benighted part of the state. I guess he was running just so he could put Failed Senate Candidate on his resume, after Rancher and right before Businessman.

I then moved onto the difficult portion of the California ballot, the innumerable propositions and initiatives. And at this part, I have a confession to make. I'm not the sharpest guy in the world, but I do have a couple of master's degrees. and I'm pursuing a doctorate. That stated, I must say that I'm not bright enough to be part of the California electorate. It's too complicated. They have all of these convoluted propositions, most of which contradict one another, and all of which would never actually do what they were intended to do if they were implemented.

I should move back to a state like Virginia, whose founders didn't trust the judgment of the uneducated masses like myself.

I soldiered on, however, and tried to make educated guesses, while skipping over whole sections of the ballot. The best initiatives involved Indian gaming in California. My favorite was one that claimed that it would minimize traffic congestion that might result from the opening of Indian casinos in urban areas. Of course, what this initiative would have really done would have been to allow horse tracks and card clubs to operate slot machines if Indian casinos didn't pay the state a large sum of money that they are not legally required to pay.

And who had drafted this proposition? That's right, the owners of the horse tracks and card casinos! How this would prevent traffic congestion, I have no idea.

I voted against all of the Indian gaming initiatives, primarily because our amusing governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, told me to do so in a number of ads right before the election. To be honest, I would vote for anything just to have the chance to hear that man say "Ca-li-for-ni-a" over and over again. Man, that never loses its comedic value. His "True Lies" co-star, Jamie Lee Curtis, told me I should vote to give money to children's hospitals. Stefanie Powers told me that I should vote for the Indian casinos. I think that she used to be on "Hart to Hart" and hasn’t aged well. Actually, I'm positive she hasn't aged well.

Finally, I got to what was for me the highlight of the trip - the opportunity to voice my opinion on Berkeley's zany ballot initiatives. I of course voted to decriminalize prostitution and remove all restrictions on medical marijuana, not so much because I really understood or supported these measures but rather because I knew that I would never ever get a chance to vote on these issues in any other city in America.

Surprisingly, both of these measures failed, as did some tax increases to support local libraries. This of course raises the mindboggling possibility that Berkeley has embraced social and fiscal conservatism while becoming a center for college football.

Perish the thought, I say. If that's the case, I may have to start spending more time in adjacent Oakland, which did pass its medical marijuana initiative and thus maintained its Oaksterdam image.

Oh, and one more thing, let's go Bears!

Brian Rostron is a regular contributor to The Augusta Free Press.

The views expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect those of management of The Augusta Free Press.

What do you think? Share your thoughts on this story at

Friday, November 05, 2004

Star’s son is singing success

With My Fair Lady actor Rex Harrison as his father, Noel seemed destined for a showbiz life - but he found his own path to fame.

Children of famous actor parents can either bask in reflected glory or cut it on their own. The latter has been true of the offspring of the most prominent British theatrical dynasties: the Mills, the Miles, the Redgraves - and, of course, the Harrisons.

For Noel, son of Rex Harrison - star of My Fair Lady and Doctor Doolittle - a career in the world of entertainment seemed inescapable. But he chose his own path.

"My father never wanted me to be an actor - the stage was his bailiwick," he says.

"Anyway, I wanted to do my own thing and I have always considered myself as a musician first."

While the billboards of the West End seem the natural place for the name Harrison, Noel's first London engagement in a long time will be in the intimate surroundings of Lauderdale House, where he will present his cabaret show on Sunday November 14.

Noel, who has returned to live in England after 40 years in America, has enjoyed a successful career as a musician, writer, cabaret entertainer and, inevitably, actor.

Before he emigrated to America, he was one of a team who sang the day's news in calypso on the popular BBC Tonight programme and came to notice as a cabaret singer.

As the genes would out, he appeared on TV and in films, most notably in Where the Spies Are and The Best of Enemies, in which he worked with David Niven.

"I went off to America in 1965, where my career initially was as a nightclub entertainer and I worked such venues as San Francisco's Hungry I and at the Persian Room in New York," he says.

"I scored a Top 20 success with the song A Young Girl, written by Charles Aznavour, and from New York I moved to Los Angeles, where my career took another upwards turn when I was cast as the co-lead with Stefanie Powers in The Girl from UNCLE."

That led Noel to being offered numerous guest appearances in top TV series of the day, among them the original Mission Impossible, To Catch A Thief, the Laugh-In and the entertainment spectaculars starring Andy Williams and the comic Jerry Lewis.

The high point of his Hollywood period came with his Oscar-winning soundtrack version of The Windmills of My Mind, written for the original Thomas Crown Affair.

He then briefly returned to Britain for a part in Jonathan Miller's film Take a Girl Like You alongside Hayley Mills and Oliver Reed.

In 1972, he bravely turned his back on Hollywood glitz and headed off to the wild coastal lands of Nova Scotia, where he literally built his own home.

"I suppose you could call it on-the-job training, but with generous neighbours on hand to give valuable advice, I built a home that had no electricity and an outside loo," he recalls.

"But what I gained from the simple life was tranquillity and the bonus of a wonderful view of the north Atlantic coastline."

Despite his move to the Canadian backwoods, Noel's career continued with Take Time, a show about songs and songwriters.

"I used to emerge each year to tour the US in plays and musicals," he says. "And, yes, I did play Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady. I asked my father, as it was probably his greatest role, whether he would mind.

"He told me: 'Go ahead, everyone else is doing it.'"

Noel's other touring roles included King Arthur in Camelot, Count von Trapp in The Sound of Music, Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha, Brian Runicles in No Sex Please, We're British and Lloyd Dallas in Noises Off.

With the rural idyll over, Noel returned to Los Angeles and resumed his singing and acting career, appearing in shows such as The Young Guns and The Tracy Ullman Show.

Ever the versatile and creative spirit, he worked as a screenwriter on a number of series - Vercingetorix, Cuba Libre and The Valley of Hinnom - and, in a more risqué mood, the softcore Emanuelle series.

An admirer of Jacques Brel, the great Belgian modern-day troubadour, Noel created a smash hit one-man show, Adieu Jacques, that has toured extensively.

He continued to act in films and won very good notices in leading US dailies for his part in Henry Jaglom's film Déjà Vu, in which he appeared with Anna Massey.

He also played a dotty millionaire in Norman Gerard's independent film The Murder at China Basin.

Before the millennium Noel, who holds dual British and American nationality, decided to return home.

He retains a quintessentially English character and when he speaks there are traces of that keen-edged accent and timbre that was the Rex Harrison hallmark.

Married three times, he has now set up home at Ashburton, in Devon with his wife, Lori, a theatrical and advertising stylist. He has one daughter and a stepdaughter living nearby.

The theatrical and musical strain is undiluted in the succeeding generation with one of his daughters, Cathryn, a successful screen, TV, stage and radio actor, and a son, Simon, who is also an actor.

Closer to his own career track is Noel's other son, Will, who lives in New Hampshire and works as a musician and songwriter.

Noel has two other daughters, Chloe, who works in the record industry, and Harriet, who trains horses.

If you were to ask Noel what was his favourite thing, the odds-on answer would be his guitar, a constant companion and with which he has played country, folk and bluegrass music.

Clearly, contentment is the major element of this phase of Noel's life, but not to the exclusion of the drive to entertain and create. Indeed, the ideas keep coming.

"I want to do a generational thing with my daughter Cathryn, an exploration of the father and daughter relationship. We are just talking at the moment, but come back and speak to me a year from now".

With his own background and father-son relationship in mind, it will be fascinating to see what Harrisons generation two and three come up with.

Cypriot donkeys find new home in England

TWO Cypriot baby donkeys yesterday joined a herd of other foals in their new home at a donkey sanctuary in England following their rescue in Cyprus, a Paphos animal charity confirmed.

Paphiakos Animal Welfare chairman Christine Panayiotou said the two foals had been flown to Manchester on Wednesday, where the Freshfields Donkey Village, home of The Michael Elliot Trust charity in Derbyshire, took them in.

“The donkeys – aged four and a half months and four months respectively – were received at the airport by crews from BBC and SKY with blankets ready for them. They were taken to heated stables, where they were seen by vets and given dried food. This morning they were put out into a field, where they joined other young donkeys,” said Panayides.

The donkeys’ were flown to the UK after Paphiakos were approached by people involved in the Trust who had holidayed in Cyprus and offered to extend help for any donkeys in need of it.

“One of the donkey’s had been rejected by its mother from birth and the other foal’s mother had died. When the offer was made to take them in, we accepted,” she told the Cyprus Mail.

Founded 13 years ago just outside the village of Peak Forest in the heart of the Peak District National Park, Freshfields’ feeds, cares and supports previously unwanted or badly treated donkeys, while providing handicapped and special needs children with a unique, therapeutic holiday.

According to the Trust’s information leaflet, “any child with special needs may come to us for a holiday of between one and seven days, adopt a donkey for the duration of their stay, and in learning to care for the animal engender mutual friendship, confidence and support”.

Patrons of the Trust include, among others, celebrities such as Judi Dench, Richard Attenborough, Chris de Burgh, Stefanie Powers and Paul Scofield. Charity events raise money to help pay for the animals’ upkeep.

Panayides said the Trust had paid for the donkeys’ travel expenses and the animals would also be used in a SKY documentary, which would be filmed in England and Cyprus.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Both gaming initiatives handed defeat by voters

PALM SPRINGS -- Voters who pulled the lever on two gaming initiatives Tuesday doled out two oranges -- and a lemon -- for two heavily-financed campaigns to expand gambling in California.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s pitch against Proposition 68 and 70 mustered a commanding vote plurality. Both propositions were voted down.

"I think the vote today is a mandate for the governor’s ability to negotiate fair share agreements with California tribes,’’ Todd Harris, a campaign strategist for the governor’s campaign said, as he hovered over vote tallies released from the secretary of state. "I think it also sends the message loud and clear that Californians think it’s a colossally bad idea to let casinos write California gaming laws."

Tribal leaders took the defeat like a poised player holding an ace high.

They’ve known the odds might not be in their favor for weeks now, but rolled the dice to curry voters’ support with high-profile TV ads, featuring big names like Stefanie Powers and Jesse "The Body" Ventura to try to give Schwarzenegger’s assault on Proposition 70 a knock-out punch.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Birthday Message to Stefanie

Dear Stefanie,

Wish you a very Happy Birthday! Hope you are well and enjoying yourself.

I´m a great fan from Germany. Would you ever come to Germany?

Take care!

Best wishes,

Happy Birthday!

Happy birthday to Stefanie! She's 62 years young today.

Monday, November 01, 2004

'80s flashback

The Proposition 70 campaign got help this week when ex-wrestler and former Minnesota Gov. Jesse "The Body" Ventura and "Hart to Hart" actress Stefanie Powers appeared in television commercials backing the tribal gaming initiative.

Todd Harris, a political adviser for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who opposes Proposition 70, sneered at Ventura and Powers in an article in the Desert Sun.

"I don't think most voters look to actors from the '80s for their cues on how to vote," Harris said.

Perhaps not. But what, then, is one to make of a certain movie-star-turned-governor who made his name in "The Terminator" (1984), "Predator" (1987) and "Conan the Barbarian" (1982)?

Sunday, October 31, 2004

In pitch for Prop. 70, tribe thanks state for opportunity

Richard Milanovich, tribal chairman of Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, on Friday wrapped up a whirlwind week for the Proposition 70 campaign with this statement:

"California’s gaming tribes are offering $500 million a year -- for a century -- to California."

Milanovich, who chairs a tribe that has been at the forefront of a ballot initiative to allow an unlimited number of slots, and the introduction of table games such as craps and roulette in tribal casinos, was referring to the corporate tax that would be paid to the state on net profits, if Indian casinos were expanded.

That tax now stands at 8.84 percent.

The people of California were thanked by Milanovich for their generosity in the tape produced at Agua Caliente tribal headquarters in Palm Springs.

"California’s Native Americans have achieved new prosperity and opportunity through gaming,’’ he said, which has been shared with all tribes and can now be shared with the people of California.

Milanovich concluded by saying it was unfortunate that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s campaign against Proposition 70 included "racially charged rhetoric.’’

"But I believe the people of California support Native Americans, and will reject those tactics on Tuesday,’’ Milanovich said.

The comments come on the heels of TV ads by by actress Stefanie Powers and former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura in favor of the measure. And, just 24 hours before Schwarzenegger’s "Road to Reform" bus tour through Southern California.

Stops are planned today in Del Mar, Anaheim and Bakersfield by Schwarzenegger to stump for propositions 1-A; 59; 64; 69 and against propositions 63; 66; 67; 68; 70; 72.

On Friday, during pre-taped interview between Schwarzenegger and radio talk show celebrity Sean Hannity, brief mention also was made of the governor’s stance on Proposition 70. In the show aired locally on KNWZ-AM radio in Palm Springs, Schwarzenegger said he opposed the measure, because "Indians are trying to have a 99-year monopoly and create huge casinos all over the state."

In past interviews Milanovich has said market influences would dictate growth, and a proliferation of casinos is not projected.

Friday, October 29, 2004

A battle of brawn over Indian gaming

Jesse Ventura joins California’s own actor-turned-politico in fray over Prop. 70

The Proposition 70 campaign has become a governor-sized smackdown between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse "The Body" Ventura.

A new television ad, produced by the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, which has spent about $35 million on gaming initiatives in recent years, features former Minnesota Gov. Ventura jabbing at Schwarzenegger’s "Indians are ripping off California" comment.

The San Manuel say the ad is not part of the Yes on 70 campaign.

But Ventura’s musclebound, celebrity-turned-governor counterpart from California doesn’t see it that way and he’s jabbing back.

Schwarzenegger, who has been strident in efforts to convince voters to defeat Proposition 70, the ballot initiative that would allow tribes to expand table games and slot machines in exchange for a state corporate tax, called Ventura’s jab "really funny" during a radio appearance Wednesday in Sacramento.

"A guy from Minneapolis is coming in here and getting involved in this," Schwarzenegger told KTKZ listeners. "But that’s what you have friends for, you know? That’s what they’re for."

Ventura says in the TV ad sent to broadcast across the state that "California Indians are becoming self-reliant, but the government is trying to exploit them again."

Tribal governments offered to share revenues at the same rate other businesses pay -- no less, no more, says Ventura, who appeared in at least two films with Schwarzenegger, "Predator" and "Batman and Robin."

Who’s ripping whom?

Ventura goes on to accuse Schwarzenegger of unfairly demanding tribal governments to pay three times more than other businesses. "Didn’t the governor promise a balanced budget without raising taxes?" he asked, before delivering the punch, "I guess it’s OK to rip off Indians."

The line refers to Schwarzenegger’s statements during the Proposition 70 campaign that some tribes are "ripping off" California by refusing to pay the state an appropriate sum of revenues. The governor has asserted passage of the Agua Caliente-backed Proposition 70 will invoke a "99-year monopoly" on gaming for Indian tribes, and put in place a system with "no auditing and no checking of how much money they make."

Tribal leaders have called the governor’s comment about Indians "ripping off" California racially tinged.

Todd Harris, a "No on Prop. 68 and 70" strategist for Schwarzenegger, said supporters of the gaming initiative may be ramping up the fight with Ventura’s appearance and the TV spot by Hollywood actress Stefanie Powers, but the governor’s tactics won’t change.

"I don’t think most voters look to actors from the ’80s for their cues on how to vote," Harris said.

Spot an ‘education effort’

Jacob Coin, communications director for the San Manuel, said Ventura was paid to appear in the commercial -- at a price the tribe has opted not to reveal -- because he had the same "kind of attitude" on Indian gaming when he was elected governor of Minnesota in November 1998.

After Ventura got to know the tribes, which operate casinos in Minnesota with no revenue sharing program for the state and with compacts that run in perpetuity, Ventura came to understand the impact Indian gaming can have on the economy of local communities and vendors.

"The ad alludes to the issues raised in Proposition 70," Coin said.

"But clearly, it is the tribe’s effort to educate the people in California about the issues of tribal government on its face," all of which are predicated on the Supreme Court ruling that tribal nations have the right to conduct gaming on their land without state or local government interference.

"I know all that," Harris said, before adding, "Somebody should be fired for political malpractice."

"This is a huge waste of money on their part, but if they want to blow their money on a commercial like this, we say, more power to them," Harris said, alluding to a media buy which may have cost more than $1 million. "It just reinforces the idea that these tribes are already making a killing: I mean, they must have an awful lot of money to burn if they’re spending millions of dollars on a commercial like this. What remains to be seen is how much they paid Ventura for it."

Big stakes, big money

A record-breaking amount of funds, $105 million, has flowed into campaign coffers for the Proposition 70 and Proposition 68 campaigns, according to finance reports filed through Oct. 16, which include totals raised and spent for the year.

Proposition 68 is the other gaming measure on the ballot. Put forth by card clubs and racetracks, it would expand slots at these sites, off Indian reservations.

Within that period, Proposition 70 proponents reported raising $26.1 million, with the largest contributor to "70 Yes" being the Agua Caliente Tribe of Cahuilla Indians of Palm Springs, donating $13.7 million; the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians of the San Bernadino area, donating $11 million and the Morongo Band of Mission Indians of Banning, giving $3.5 million.

Tribes have pointed out that the governor is campaigning on taxpayer time.

And regardless of when Ventura’s ad ran, Coin said, someone would have criticized it.

"We believe Jesse Ventura is an appropriate person to help remind the governor there are issues far greater than campaign rhetoric," Coin said. "It speaks to the very heart of what tribal government is all about: It helps them create economies within their jurisdiction."

Comparing strongmen

Observers of Minnesota politics say former Gov. Ventura sounded many of the same campaign themes as Schwarzenegger, so the lobs represent an interesting contradiction.

In 1998, Ventura ran as an outsider who would overcome a partisan climate in the statehouse.

But William Thompson, a public administration professor at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, hired to conduct research for a firm representing tribes on the defeat of Proposition 68, an initiative which would have put slots in California card rooms and racetracks, said he knows Ventura was on "talking terms" with Minnesota tribes because events were filmed with a casino in the background while he was governor.

At the same time, Thompson said, he hopes voters put more stock in the language of the ballot initiatives than the celebrity media spots.

"I don’t like this celebrity stuff in elections," he said. "It represents a visceral negative on money spent in a campaign, whether you’re Republican or Democrat."

Transcript of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's Interview with Eric Hogue, KTKZ Sacramento
(Provided by: The governor’s office)

Time: 8:50 a.m.
Date: Wednesday, October 27, 2004

HOGUE: -- to have him, the governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger joins us now. Good morning, Governor.

GOVERNOR: Good morning, Eric. How are you?

HOGUE: I am doing fine, and it's great to have you this morning on a busy schedule that has you leaving California, going to my home state of Ohio, and campaigning for the president, sir.

GOVERNOR: Well, thank you. Let me tell you, I'm looking forward to this trip. We're leaving here on Friday morning and going to get in there, and we're going to participate in a big rally they're going to have in Columbus.

Of course in Columbus -- I have a long history with Columbus because I won the Mr. World competition there in 1970, and ever since then the city has brought me great luck. I've been going back there many times since then, you know, for business, and establishing after-school programs and promoting my movies, visiting friends, investing money there.

And of course the Arnold Classic, which is the world bodybuilding championship, we have been holding there and promoting for the last -- well, since 1976 -- so for the last 28 years. So it's really wonderful to go back there again, this time, of course, for a very important reason, and this is to re-elect President Bush.

HOGUE: You know, it's the first time you go back to Ohio -- of course, you've done great work there in the past -- but now the governor of California, off of your endorsement speech at the convention. And yesterday, when you were campaigning for Gary Podesto in Vacaville, you mentioned the fact that you feel and believe that this is similar to Ronald Reagan and the former president's work against communism, with the president against terrorism here. Is that true, sir?

GOVERNOR: Well, you know -- I mean, I have a very good memory. I remember that, you know, I was, you know, a big fan of President Reagan. And I remember that in the '80s it was the same thing, there were protests all over the world about, you know, warmonger, and the guy that wants to start the nuclear war, and wants to start Star Wars, and confronting the Russians, and, you know, this is disastrous, and all these kinds of things, you know? And he's not popular overseas, and it was like a really unbelievable kind of attack on him, because he was very strong and he confronted the issues straight on and he did not, you know, back down.

And so I said to myself, you know, now, this period reminds me very much of the 80s when President Reagan confronted communism and eventually, even though he was criticized by so many, you know, peace loving people -- which of course we all are peace loving people -- but sometimes you have to fight for peace, and you have to fight the enemies, and you know, confront them.

And that's what President Bush is doing now with terrorism. You know, he confronts it head-on, he does not back off, he does not waiver, he doesn't blink. He's staying in there strong. And that's what I like about the President, that he has, you know, tremendous strength inside and he stays in there. And I think that people will vote for him because of that.

HOGUE: You know, Governor, there's been so much in the media -- and I call it shock and awe -- that you're actually, as a Republican governor, going to go and campaign for the President in Ohio. Are you surprised with the media, you know, stumbling upon the fact that you are a Republican here? I mean, how do you answer all the press who try to be shocked over this endorsement here, sir?

GOVERNOR: Well, I mean, first of all, you have to understand, the press is absolutely correct about making something out of it, because it is an interesting story. It's an interesting story, because here I am, a Republican governor in a state that has a majority of Democrats. So that's already very odd.

Number two, I have been very bipartisan. I have brought both of the parties together, and that's why we accomplished so much this last year, from the 15 billion dollar recovery bond to the balanced budget initiative, Workers' Compensation reform, budget, all of those things were done in a bipartisan way.

Now all of a sudden, here I am, the bipartisan guy that now goes out and votes, endorses, and promotes, you know, and campaigns for George W. Bush to get re-elected. So that's interesting.

Then I'm also, you know, married to a Democratic wife who comes from this, you know, historic family, and my mother-in-law is right now here staying with us, so we have interesting discussions ever day about politics, Democrats versus Republicans, Kerry versus Bush, and all that stuff.

So I think there are interesting stories there. You know, how does that all play, and how does this work out? And so I totally agree with the press. It is interesting, people like to read about it, and they're fascinated.

For me it 's a balancing act, of course, because if I don't campaign for President Bush the Republicans will be angry. I f I do campaign for President Bush the Democrats are angry. And so I think there's a happy medium, which I made very clear, that I will not go and travel around the country with the President because my work is here, I have to pay attention to all the propositions here. I was sent to Sacramento to work for the people of California. But I will go to Ohio and campaign for President Bush and do this one stop, because I am a Republican and I want to support my Republican president.

HOGUE: Well, and the word back here, in state you've been marvelous on -- I know right now 68 is not a concern, because they pulled away. 70 is still on the ballot, and a no on 70 would help us out in the future. And let me just get you --

GOVERNOR: Well, 70 is very important, and as a matter of fact I just heard, just recently, that even Jesse Ventura, my pal --

HOGUE: M-hmm?

GOVERNOR: -- had done a commercial for -- in favor of Proposition 70, which is really funny. A guy from Minneapolis is coming in here and getting involved in this. But that's what you have friends for, you know? That's what they're for.

But in any case, it is important for people to know that this is the worst proposition, Proposition 70, because it is a 99-year monopoly of Indian gaming tribes, and unlimited amounts of slot machines with no auditing and no checking of how much money they make, and if the machines pay out the right amount of money. So I am totally against that. I think that all the newspapers, all the columnists are against it. There is a huge coalition of different organizations that are against it. I think the people should vote no on Proposition 70.

HOGUE: Well, I agree. I want to see you do more work on your compacts and the contracts that you have initiated on your own. I think that's where we ought to lend the weight.

Let me set you up on a great concern that I have and a lot of folks have, and that's Proposition 66, this weakening of the three-strikes. You're going to begin to come back after the Bush endorsement and then work on this one as well, right sir?

GOVERNOR: Well first of all, I'm working on it right now. As you know, we have held a huge press conference last week about Proposition 66 to let the people know -- as a matter of fact, it was Democrats and Republicans, labor and businesses, and also the victims of rape and child molest and all this -- all were there at the news conference. And we all came out, together with our Attorney General Bill Lockyer, to basically say to the people, vote no on Proposition 66 because it will basically let out criminals, dangerous criminals, from prisons all over the state. And these are murderers, these are rapists, these are child molesters that will be getting out of prison and into your neighborhoods, and your neighborhoods will not be safe.

And it is a terrible idea, because we had a high crime rate in the beginning of the '90s. Then the people voted, with a 72 percent majority, for the three-strike system. Since then crime has been reduced dramatically, more than half of the national average. Homicide went down by 40 percent since then. So why do we want to change it now? Why do we want to weaken it? Why do we want to let the criminals go out there roaming the streets and making it dangerous?

I'm so against that, and I think the rest of the state will be against it. And this is why I'm campaigning very heavily, and we have a TV spot coming out this -- as a matter of fact, today. It will have me in a TV spot saying no on Proposition 66.

HOGUE: You're going to Ohio to endorse and campaign for the President, and yet a concern about a pumpkin yesterday. I can assure you, Governor, that in Ohio all of the pumpkins are Republican.

GOVERNOR: I hope so.

HOGUE: No pumpkins that look like Senator Kennedy. Governor, we thank you for your time. Go got 'em there in the Buckeye State. And when you get back, we've got your back for a brand new session. We appreciate your time today.

GOVERNOR: Terrific. And make sure the people know to vote yes on Proposition 64, the shakedown lawsuits, and no on Proposition 72, which is a job killer. Thank you very much.

HOGUE: Governor, thank you.

GOVERNOR: Thank you. Bye-bye.

HOGUE: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, bye-bye. Giving his time, and of course --

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Reminder: Stefanie's Birthday

Celebrity birthdays for the week of Oct. 31-Nov. 6:

Nov. 2: Actress Stefanie Powers is 62.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Actress joins tribes in support of Prop 70

‘Hart to Hart’ star offers services free for ad in favor of 99-year tribal compact

PALM SPRINGS -- Long before the movie "Palm Springs Weekend" was branded by late-night TV watchers as a cinematic time machine back to a more innocent era in the desert, Stefania Zofia Federkiewicz was living it.

The girl who became Hollywood actress Stefanie Powers led an idyllic life, trekking to the desert to ride horses across Indian country.

She visited the desert frequently, and reportedly developed a bond with the canyons -- and their people -- some liken to a gentle wind passing through palm trees.

No wonder Powers, best known for her role in the 1980s television drama, "Hart to Hart," refused to take any pay for her 30-second spot in a "Proposition 70 Yes" campaign ad dubbed, "Share."

The TV ad, created by San Diego-based Woodenship Advertising & Public Affairs, began running over the weekend and is slated to run through Nov. 2. It promotes passage of a ballot initiative that would require casino-owning tribes to pay 8.84 percent of net profits from an unlimited number of slot machines and table games in exchange for a 99-year compact.

In it, Powers stands amid tribal members to tell viewers, that Proposition 70, which applies the standard corporate tax rate to Indian gaming is "fair for all Californians."

"After centuries of despair, some Indian tribes now have a chance to prosper,’’ she says. "Indian casinos would pay the same rates as other California businesses and be required by law to share their revenue with less fortunate tribes."

Where governor stands

But unlike the 1963 movie Powers filmed in Palm Springs which Variety described as a "hymn to spring and romance," Field Polls show passage of Proposition 70 may be no good-natured romp.

Detractors outweigh supporters by a margin of 10 percent, poll results show, with roughly 25 percent of the electorate undecided.

Proposition 70, and a second gambling initiative that would allow card rooms and racetracks to gain 30,000 slot machines, Proposition 68, continue to look "deader than a doornail," said Todd Harris, a spokesman for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Harris has likened the impact of Proposition 70 for Palm Springs, if it passes, to a Las Vegas on steroids, noting its passage will lead to a proliferation of casinos in the desert -- quite possibly on Section 14 in downtown Palm Springs, or within vast amounts of tribal-owned owned by the Agua Caliente.

Powers’ spot on the TV ads presents no alternative, he added.

"Apparently, Victoria Principal wasn’t available," Harris said.

Local views

But State Sen. Jim Battin, R-La Quinta, said he believes Powers’ emergence in support of Proposition 70 changes the equation in a political battle that has -- until now -- pitted Schwarzenegger against the tribal nations.

"She adds an objective opinion," Battin said.

"She does add a new element to this," agreed Richard Milanovich, chairman of the tribal council of the Aqua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, one of two Indian nations at the forefront of Proposition 70, the other being the Morongo Band of Mission Indians. "People who know Stefanie know she talks from the heart."

As for any inference that passage of Proposition 70 and Measure U could mean another casino will spring up in Section 14 is not correct, Milanovich said, "We have no intention to put another casino in Section 14." Milanovich said he thinks a 10-year-old master plan, written five years before The Spa Casino opened, is being held up as proof of this erroneous notion, and is meant to muddy the political waters.

"It looks like the governor is following a script that is not factual,’’ Milanovich said.

No script intended, according to Harris.

The governor believes that if Proposition 70 passes, Measure U will be the "least of the worries" for the people of Palm Springs, Harris said, as "the entire Coachella Valley will become one big casino."

Tribal lands inspired Powers

Powers, an animal rights activist, was reported to be in Kenya, so could not be reached to chat about her TV ad motives.

Bob Nelson, president of Woodenship Advertising, said Powers told him she personally knew no members of the Agua Caliente or Morongo tribe.

But her treks familiarized Powers with the land, and Indian people before casinos changed the economic equation for tribal nations in California.

"She came to us,’’ Nelson said, and even helped write the script, saying the days she rode horses through the Agua Caliente and Morongo reservations stand among her most enjoyable experiences as a youth.

"She feels a very strong kinship with Native American people," Nelson said.

Jamie Fisfis, 70 Yes spokesman, said he thinks the ad has brought debate over the Indian gaming initiatives back to point, away from racial overtones that characterized the last few weeks of the campaign.

Nelson agreed.

"The image that the tribes want to end with is one of a united state,’’ he said. "People who are Indian and not Indian -- together, working to help improve our state."

Excerpts From the Fall 2004 WHWF Newsletter

William Holden Wildlife Foundation Newsletter - Page 2


This September I returned to the States after six weeks in Kenya. My stay was very busy and rewarding. The day after I arrived I was called on the radio by the Game Ranch/Wildlife Conservancy manager, Bunge. "We have a new baby," the voice said. I jumped in my car and met Bunge at the entrance to the paddocks where the bongos from the States are housed. This is the second birth from this group of bongos and a very happy event. Don and Iris Hunt, the principal owners of the Game Ranch now turned Wildlife Conservancy, are calling the new baby "Hope" and indeed she is the hope of the future.

The Education Center is extremely busy with students, seminars and the Bongo Awareness Program. The Awareness Program will be conducted by Francis Maina, who will take the news of the repatriation of the bongo to Mt. Kenya, to the five districts surrounding the Mt. Kenya National Park. These five districts contain the people whose cooperation in years to come will be crucial to the success of this project.

Our seminar this year was a bit of an experiment based on the theme "Does Conservation Make Good Business Sense?" We combined a group of business students with a conservation club and had a very interesting weekend. We will definitely develop this idea further.

We are completely redesigning our Web site, which should be operating by the time you receive this newsletter - so have a look and tell us what you think, please! Our Newsletter's "new look" has received rave reviews, and it has also raised questions. I want to assure you that even though our newsletter is more colorful, and I hope more interesting, we are still using recycled paper and soy based biodegradable ink, so rest easy!

I have recently expanded my conservation work outside the WHWF. For a few years I have been discussing conservation efforts with Jaguar Motor Co. of North America. I was appointed as their conservation consultant and have authored the Jaguar Conservation Trust. This year the JCT began by giving small grants to groups in Belize and Guatemala to preserve and protect jaguars. I will bring you more on the JCT in our next newsletter, and we will have a link on our Web site. Meanwhile...


Stefanie Powers

William Holden Wildlife Foundation Newsletter - Page 3


While driving across the Game Ranch in March, Stefanie spotted a warthog piglet on its own. She stopped the car and carefully looked around for the mother. Finding the baby abandoned, she grabbed it after a romp in the bush. She examined the baby to find it was covered with lice and somewhat unstable on its feet, which may have been the reason it was abandoned. She put the baby on her lap and drove straight to the Animal Orphanage, where Iris Hunt met her. Iris has raised many orphans in peril, and her trusty staff and she have nursed him to health. He is growing rapidly and doing fine, amusing everyone who comes to visit by rolling over to have his belly scratched!

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Stefanie's Birthday - November 2

Stefanie sent personal notes to her liason to forward to those who contributed to the donation in honor of her upcoming birthday.

Stefanie and Proposition 70

An analysis of TV ad supporting Proposition 70

The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians introduced Proposition 70 in January, following Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's remarks during his recall campaign that tribes with casinos were not paying their "fair share" and should help relieve California's budget deficit.

The ballot initiative would require casino-owning tribes to pay the state 8.84 percent of their revenues from slot machines and table games. That's the same rate paid by California corporations.

In exchange, they would be allowed to sign 99-year agreements to operate an unlimited number of slot machines and Las Vegas-style games, including roulette and craps, both currently banned in California.

Details of the ad:

_ Title: "Share"

_ Length: 30 seconds

_ Created by: Woodenship Advertising & Public Affairs

_ Aired: Saturday throughout California

_ Dominant images: Actress Stefanie Powers, best known for her role in the 1980s television drama "Hart to Hart," standing with a group of tribal members.

_ Script:

Powers: After centuries of despair, some Indian tribes now have a chance to prosper. Prop. 70 can help Indians and all Californians. Indian casinos would pay the same rates as other California businesses and be required by law to share their revenues with less fortunate tribes. In exchange, Indian casinos can grow but only with environmental review and only on reservations. Vote yes on Prop. 70. It's fair for all Californians.



The commercial, the campaign's last television ad, claims tribes would "now have a chance to prosper" under Proposition 70.

But those tribes have been able to operate casinos and slot machines since 2000, when voters approved an initiative that legalized tribal casinos and ratified compacts about half of the state's tribes signed in 1999. Now, Indian gambling is estimated to be a $5 billion to $6 billion industry.

Today, California tribal casinos have become an estimated $5 billion to $6 billion industry.

The initiative would require casino-owning tribes to continue paying into two funds - one that distributes $1.1 million a year to each tribe without a casino and the other to about 25 counties where tribal casinos are located. This fiscal year, $25 million was released to those counties to address traffic, crime and other problems associated with casinos.

The new compacts Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger reached with 10 tribes - nine were ratified by the legislature - eliminated revenues for local governments but still require those tribes to share revenues with tribes without casinos.

The governor's administration estimates those agreements would bring the state as much as 25 percent from gambling revenues, or hundreds of millions of dollars annually plus an additional $1 billion for transportation projects.

Schwarzenegger has claimed the initiative does not go far enough to protect communities and local governments.

Proposition 70 would require tribes to account for environmental impacts from new casinos and casino expansions. Also, they would have to collaborate with communities and local governments to develop plans to address casino-related problems.

The initiative, however, does not elaborate whether "environmental impacts" would include crime or traffic problems.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Lowell Thomas Awards Dinner-Explorers Club

Lowell Thomas Awards Dinner 2004

Champions of Conservation
Friday, October 22, 2004
Central Park Boat House (entrance at East 72nd Street), New York City. Cocktails begin at 6:30pm, dinner at 7:30pm. Attire is black tie or native dress.

The Lowell Thomas Award is presented by the president of The Explorers Club to explorers who have distinguished themselves through exceptional work in the field.

Tickets to the dinner are SOLD OUT as of October 15, 2004. Thank you for your support of Jim Fowler's Champions of Conservation. We regret that, after the 15th, no cancellations may be accepted.

Live Auction
A select live auction will be conducted at the dinner, promoting two conservation-based trips.

This year's honorees:

* Dr. Edward O. Wilson—Harvard professor, internationally regarded as the preeminent biological theorist of the twentieth century and a pioneer in the field of biodiversity, a term he coined.
* Stefanie Powers—Actress and president of the William Holden Wildlife Foundation.
* Dr. Alan Rabinowitz—Director for science and exploration at the Wildlife Conservation Society and acclaimed protector of jaguars, leopards, and tigers.
* Gary Comer—founder of Lands End who has adopted abrupt climate change as a philanthropic cause.
* Dr. Bill Burnham—Chief executive of The Peregrine Fund, devoted to restoring peregrine populations, studying and conserving birds of prey, training conservationists, and educating the public.

Stefanie looked absolutely gorgeous in her Bill Blass ensemble when she accepted her award. She had her hair up with a clip, and it looked absolutely wonderful!

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Loose Ends

Yesterday morning, Stefanie taped a radio show called "Loose Ends." Those of you in UK may be familiar with it. It will be aired in UK on New Year's Eve. Stefanie performed one song from her CD "On the Same Page" and did a brief interview with several others who appeared last night at the Cabaret Convention.

15th Annual Cabaret Convention

A presentation of the Mabel Mercer Foundation, produced by Donald Smith. Musical director, Forrest Perrin.

Maureen McGovern flew in from North Carolina, where Broadway-bound "Little Women" is in tryouts, to put her playful spin on "My Heart Belongs to Daddy," accompanied by Jay Leonhart's wordless vocal assist and flavorful string bass chords. The Cole Porter classic served to open the 15th Cabaret Convention, the annual Town Hall fete produced by Donald Smith in memory of the doyenne of cabaret song, Mabel Mercer.

Friend and publicist of Mercer, Smith is the executive director of the Mabel Mercer Foundation, which aims to perpetuate the popular American song through the art of cabaret. Once again he has gathered the creme de la creme of Gotham niteries for this weeklong all-star homage.

Barbara Carroll displayed her customary keyboard artistry with a feathery interpretation of Richard Rodgers' "The Sweetest Sounds," laced with touches of Bach and Debussy. Getting a jump on the Harold Arlen centennial year, Carroll sang the plaintively assured romantic resolution "As Long as I Live."

Natalie Douglas announced that "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" was clearly all about sex and underscored her intro by singing the original suggestive Lorenz Hart lyric from "Pal Joey" with saucy allure. Broadway diva Christine Ebersole praised the Garden State with John Pizzarelli's trademark tune "I Like Jersey Best," penned by Joe Cosgriff.

A rare Manhattan appearance by the Page Cavanaugh Trio swept in on a refreshing California breeze. Page was the guy at the piano in those breezy Doris Day musicals of the '40s, and his hip recordings have become collector's items. "Walking My Baby Back Home" was a staple of his repertoire, long before Nat King Cole and Johnnie Ray put their mark on it. A tastefully subtle cocktail pianist and vocalist, Cavanaugh took "After You've Gone" for a spin of rapid changes of chords and tempos.

A glam Stefanie Powers, backed by Cavanaugh, offered a seductively sultry "I've Got a Crush on You" by the Gershwins and the old Ruth Etting dance-hall lament "Ten Cents a Dance." Cavanaugh accompanied Powers as he does on a new Jambo CD, "On the Same Page," adding zestful assist.

A perky Daryl Sherman also revisited "Pal Joey" with an aggressive command, "Do It the Hard Way."

Sherman, who plays the Cole Porter piano at Waldorf's Peacock Alley and is off to London to gig at Pizza in the Park, sang Porter's ardent confessional "I Concentrate on You."

"All in Fun," the Jerome Kern-Oscar Hammerstein ballad which was a staple of Mercer's repertoire, was eloquently framed with reflective heartbreak by Marlene VerPlanck, a singer with an uncommonly perfect sense of pitch, time and passion. Sidney Myer, a popular fixture at Don't Tell Mama and one of cabaret's best friends, brought the crowd cheering to its feet as he rendered some original comic parodies with a Noel Coward bite and delivered his quips with droll comic timing.

Concert concluded with Wesla Whitfield, who sings with poetic grace and wisdom and knows how to involve a listener with musical stories of love requited and unrequited. "You Don't Know What Love Is" may be one of the most telling musical commentaries on the subject of heartbreak. For a world facing troubled times, Whitfield's beautiful was "Lost in the Stars" by Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson, a Broadway hymn of comfort and assurance.

Fest continues with Christine Andreas, Karen Mason and Sarah Partridge on tap for today. Tributes to Julie Wilson at 80 is set for Thursday and the late composer Bart Howard on Friday. "A Cabaret for Cole" celebrates the Porter legacy Sunday afternoon.

Lighting, Gemini Prods.; sound, Triton Sound; stage manager, Rick Meadows. Musicians: Jay Leonhart, Phil Mallory, Joe Cohn, Boots Maleson, Mike Greensill, Dan Andrews, David Snyder. Performers: Barbara Carroll, Spencer Day, Natalie Douglas, Christine Ebersole, Allan Harris, Maureen McGovern, Sidney Myer, Stefanie Powers, Page Cavanaugh Trio, Daryl Sherman, Theresa Tova, Marlene VerPlanck, Wesla Whitfield.

Monday, October 18, 2004

The King and I - Powers Pilates

Stefanie Powers begins rehearsals for KING & I in December and goes on the road in January.

Powers Pilates, Stefanie's new book, will be released March 1, 2005.
You can pre-order it now at at a 30% discount, and it's eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping. CLICK HERE to pre-order.

So much theater, so little time

The Detroit metro area is brimming with stage goodies. For instance:

Detroit's Fisher Theatre blossoms with a season of great offerings. Now through Oct. 31, see "Thoroughly Modern Millie." Tickets are $32.50 to $72.50. On its heels from Nov. 2-21, get the full treatment in the great musical based on another movie, "The Full Monty," with tickets $16.25-$65.

That's followed by the Andrew Lloyd Weber musical "Evita," Nov. 30-Dec. 12, with seats at $13.75-$65. All tickets are available at the box office or through Ticketmaster. Then actress Stefanie Powers headlines in "The King and I" Jan. 11-30, with tickets $32.50-$65.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Stefanie Powers in New York City

Stefanie Powers is in NYC for a few days. Today she's doing a KING & I publicity shoot. Monday she will be performing at the Cabaret Convention with the Page Cavanaugh Trio. Friday she will be receiving an award at the Explorers Club annual ceremony.

Monday night's event and Friday night's event are open to the public.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Cabaret Convention Line-Up Announced

The final line-up for the 2004 Cabaret Convention at New York's Town Hall has been announced.

The week-long convention, which salutes the best of New York cabaret, will play Manhattan's Town Hall Oct. 18-24. Ticket prices for the convention are kept as low as possible with $25 seats available for all performances. Higher priced seats are available for $40 and $100. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the acclaimed convention, which is subtitled "The Festival of American Song."

The "Gala Opening" night performance, Oct. 18, will feature the talents of Barbara Carroll, Spencer Day, Christine Ebersole, Allan Harris, Maureen McGovern, Sidney Myer, Stefanie Powers (with The Page Cavanaugh Trio), Daryl Sherman, Theresa Tova, Marlene VerPlanck and Wesla Whitfield. Show time is 6 PM.

Stars Explore Their `Animal Side' at Playboy Mansion in Support of Wildlife WayStation

LOS ANGELES--Oct. 13, 2004--

10th Annual Safari Brunch Guest List Grows with Celebs Committed to Cause; Dr. Michael Nobel to Present Award; Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins and Stephen Bishop Headline Pop MusicFest for the Animals

Celebrities and other Who's Who in Southern California will take a 'walk on the wild side' at the Playboy Mansion Saturday, October 16, in support of The Wildlife WayStation, a haven for the rescue and care of wild and exotic animals who have been abused, injured, abandoned, orphaned or are ill. The event is the major fundraiser of the year for the privately funded, 501(C)(3) charitable organization/facility located in the Angeles National Forest.

In addition to the star-studded guest list, Montana, an 8-year-old White Tiger who calls the WayStation home, will be in attendance along with additional wild and exotic animals. A presentation of Paws of Fame awards to legendary environmentalist and paleo-anthropologist Dr. Richard Leakey and international film star Sharon Stone will highlight the event. Dr. Michael Nobel, great grandnephew of Alfred Nobel, founder of the Nobel Prize awarded annually since 1901 for achievements in chemistry, physics, medicine, literature, and peace, and chairman of the family society's board of directors and chairman of the Appeal of the Peace Prize Laureates Foundation, will present the International Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr. Richard Leakey.

WHEN: Saturday, October 16 -- 11:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Best Photo Opportunity -- 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

WHERE: Playboy Mansion at 10236 Charing Cross Road
(between S. Mapleton and Sunset)
Beverly Hills

WHO: Martine Colette, Founder of The Wildlife WayStation

Honorees: Sharon Stone, Dr. Richard Leakey, Dr. Jack Stephens
and Rebecca Solomon

Partial List of Celebrities (subject to change):

Jillian Barberie, co-host of Good Day L.A.
Michael Clarke Duncan, The Green Mile and more
Mick Fleetwood, co-founder of Fleetwood Mac
Dennis Hopper, Easy Rider and Speed
Bernie Kopell, Dr. Adam Bricker of the Love Boat
Constance Marie, ABC's The George Lopez Show
Mike Marino, Comedian
Michael Nobel, great grandnephew of Alfred Nobel, founder of the Nobel Prize award
Courtney Peldon, HBO's hit Entourage
Stefanie Powers, ABC's Hart to Hart
Nicollette Sheridan, ABC's Desperate Housewives
Gene Simmons, bass guitarist for Kiss
Betty White, TV star seen on The Golden Girls

ACTIVITIES: Pop MusicFest for the Animals produced by Grammy Award
winning producer Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins featuring
Stephen Bishop, Joy Enriquez and singing sensation Jamia
Simone Nash recently seen on The Tonight Show; Silent,
Super-Silent and Live Auctions; much more.

MEDIA: Exceptional visuals and interview opportunities are
available to a limited number of media. For additional
information or to confirm your attendance, please contact
Terry Wills or Jessica Roswell at 310-524-0200. Contact
Terry Wills at 310-877-1458 or Jessica Roswell at
310-227-9234 day of.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Rabbit Fever

Stefanie has done Rabbit Fever. She plays the mother of a teen who is addicted to the Rabbit, as are many people in the movie. Mom is trying desperately to get her daughter to stop using the Rabbit. One day, the daughter comes home and Mom is busy with the Rabbit. :-)

Monday, October 04, 2004

Sandy the Schoolmarm

Returning to the traveling stage after a long hiatus, Duncan revels in her role in 'The King and I'

It's early afternoon and Sandy Duncan is coming off a catalog bender that lasted till dawn.

On the floor of her hotel room in Charlotte, N.C., the remains of the night: Harry and David, Crate and Barrel, Garden Botanika - catalog after catalog, many of them bearing the marks of a compulsive page turner.

"Last night I had 50 or 60 catalogs, and of course once I got going I have to get through them all," said the Texas-born actress. "I fold the pages in half and put them aside and never order anything. I even look at the crappy ones. They are so amazing. "Who would order this?' I ask myself. I'll see in the light of day if any of them make the final cut."

Life on the road never gets easy, and Duncan - who is playing the role of schoolmarm Anna Leonowens in the touring company of "The King and I" - has discovered tricks for winding down after an evening on the stage. At age 58, Duncan has not taken her act on the road since "My One and Only" toured 17 years ago.

Yet Duncan's decision to join "The King and I," opening Tuesday at Shea's Performing Arts Center, was not a difficult one - despite the 20-city, seven-month schedule.

"In my opinion, it is one of the five best shows ever written," she said during a phone interview from Charlotte. "It combines dance and book and music better than most. And the role of the woman is stronger than in most musical comedy. Very often it's silly and sappy, and Anna is not."

Anna does fall in love, however, with a Siamese king who has a football team of children. Make that several teams and several wives. But that doesn't deter the head-strong governess who, with her son, must adjust to the customs of a Far Eastern country in the 1860s.

Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein wrote "The King and I" in 1951, their first musical play based on a true story. Five years later, Twentieth Century Fox released the film version with Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner in the lead roles. It became the second highest grossing movie of 1956.

The phenomenon known as "The King and I" stems from a novel written by Margaret Landon called "Anna and the King of Siam." The novel was based on the memoirs of Anna Leonowens, a 19th century Brit who was nanny to the king's brood.

In researching her role of Anna, Duncan not only read the novel, she viewed an early film version made in 1946 starring Rex Harrison and Irene Dunne.

"I read everything I could get my hands on," Duncan said, "and I saw this old, old film version. It's kind of an eerie creepy movie, the tone of it. The dialogue is almost a direct left from the stage production."

Interpreting a classic is no easy task. With the touring version of "The King and I," Director Baayork Lee manages to adhere to tradition while maintaining a contemporary sense. Maybe that's because - at the age of 5 - Lee appeared in the original Broadway musical.

"Baayork did not reinvent the wheel," Duncan explained. "She gave it a fresh approach and put her stamp on it, but she was very respectful of the show as it should be done.

"I think the real strength is the purity with which she approached it in terms of the way it looks," Duncan added. "The opulence of it. Being honest to a tradition and upholding that and not doing something that is avant garde and so offhand."

Lee's influence has been felt around the world. On Broadway, she created the role of Connie in "A Chorus Line," serving as assistant to Michael Bennett. Her directing credits include: "Porgy and Bess" at the Tome Opera in Italy and "Barnum" for Cy Coleman in Sydney, Australia. In summer 2002, Lee also directed the European tour of "Jesus Christ Superstar."

Duncan, whose performance in "Peter Pan" earned her a Tony nomination in 1980, was last on Broadway in "Chicago." That was 31/2 years ago. On television, she is perhaps best known for her Wheat Thin commercials and for her comedy series "Funny Face," for which she earned an Emmy nomination.

"I would love to do a wonderful new musical or play, but I don't know what the reality and feasibility of that is because so few are written," Duncan said. "But I'm not going to sit around pining. I've had a very lovely, successful career and I enjoy what I do. So, I'd like to do something new, but I'm not killing myself if it doesn't happen."
Duncan joins a long line of stars who have played the King's Anna including Marie Osmond, Hayley Mills, Angela Lansbury, Jeannette MacDonald, Betsy Palmer, Betty White and Florence Henderson. When Duncan leaves the tour in January, the role of Anna will be played by Stefanie Powers.

"We couldn't be more different," said Duncan. "Physically, and our demeanor."

Duncan pointed to the recent Broadway revival of "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" as an example of the evolving state of professional theater.

"They do that every six years," she said. "Theater is almost becoming a repertory in that there aren't any new products. They recycle the standards and the audience goes to see a different actress or actor interpret that role. That is not conducive to creating stars in the theater."

Duncan kicked off "The King and I" tour in Pittsburgh in June, with stops in Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago and Boston. As for touring, she believes that life on the road is best tolerated by the young.

"I think touring is for the very young. My son would love to do a tour. I'm not sure I would do another tour, to be honest with you," she said. "He's got a Pepsi commercial in Europe. I just tell him: "Honey, just be sure you love it because otherwise it won't sustain you. Otherwise you can not take the rejection, the unemployment and all the other things that come with this business.' "

Friday, October 01, 2004

A Côte d'Azur retreat for a café society singer


Roll up the steep driveway to Bobby Short's Villa Manhattan; pass through the high, electronically controlled gates, jog a few short steps uphill to the right and find yourself overwhelmed by the luxurious profusion of his garden.

Ringed with cedars, olive trees, cork oaks and stands of mature oleander, the garden offers lush green perspectives of the region that has stirred the souls of Picasso, Man Ray and Jacques Brel, among others.

At almost 5,000 square meters, or 1.2 acres, it unfolds up a pleasant incline and ends at a terraced hillock, compensating for what is sorely absent in most New Yorkers' lives: outdoor living.

"I spend most of my time sitting on a terrace at the table," said Short, a popular entertainer who has spent the past 36 years performing at New York's chic Café Carlyle.

"In New York, being out of doors poses a problem."

Short, who turned 80 in September, suffers from neuropathy, a nerve disorder that makes it difficult for him to climb to the far reaches of the garden.

So he has put the house up for sale, at E1 million, or $1.2 million, and has announced that this is his last season at the Carlyle.

"I have reached a kind of crossroads," said Short. "I am not young anymore. I have property in New York, and I have to make up my mind where to live."

In a telephone interview, Short said it was by accident that he discovered the modest home, which has 205 square meters, or 2,200 square feet, of living space and an additional 100 square meters in the sous-sol, or lower floor.

He had spent time entertaining in clubs in Paris in the early 1950s, before he became known in New York.

He visited friends in the exclusive hilltop village of Mougins, a discreet resort for the wealthy and artistic some five kilometers, or three miles, north of Cannes, and felt comfortable there.

So he rented houses for two summers and, finally, the villa became available.

For a man who dons a tuxedo every night during the season, the atmosphere at Villa Manhattan is a decided contrast.

The house is modest and relaxed, with the emphasis on gracious, even luxurious, outdoor living. It was built in the 1960s of stone and glass, with terra cotta tile floors.

"What attracted me was the size," he said. "It is ideal for one person. Many of the villas on the Côte d'Azur are very large."

The house has four small bedrooms, although the bedroom adjacent to Short's has been converted to an office, and four bathrooms.

They have housed some celebrities, including the socialite and designer Gloria Vanderbilt and Stefanie Powers, the actress.

He also fondly recalls that Jean Sablon, one of France's top cabaret artists, once joined him for lunch.

Most of the real work, imagination and investment have gone into the garden. Living in the south of France means "your garden is expensive and the water is expensive, because you use so much of it," Short said.

Scattered around the site are three sitting areas, or conversation corners, two of which take special advantage of the panorama of the city of Grasse to the north and the Maritime Alps beyond.

Music has always been integral to Short's life. His cupboards spill over with CDs. In the living room, he has a Japanese-made Kawai piano, finished in black lacquer, that he says he uses a lot.

Still, "I would think if I sell the house, I would leave the piano here," Short said. And, for the right price, he would throw in the rest of the furniture and the sculptures as well.

After all, he said in those gravelly tones that New York café society knows well, "I see no reason to go into the furniture business."