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)?