HANDSOME ACTOR JOHN AGAR DIES
John Agar was an interesting man. Anyone who was married to Shirley Temple had to be. Because of his connections in Hollywood, as the result of his marriage, Agar managed to get parts in some pretty successful John Ford movies. But his career went on the skids and by the 1950s he could only land parts in low-budget movies such as "Revenge of the Creature" and "The Brain From Planet Arous." His life and career were reborn in the '70s when he found new fun attending nostalgia and sci-fi conventions, signing autographs and talking with fans who still remembered his work. Agar first became nationally known when, at age 24 and a member of the Army Air Corps, he married "America's Sweetheart" Shirley Temple. She was 17 at the time. After serving in the military, the handsome Agar was offered a contract in Hollywood. The Los Angeles Times says Agar was paid $150 a week (not bad in the late '40s) and given acting lessons. He and Temple starred in "Fort Apache," with John Wayne and Henry Fonda. Later, the husband and wife appeared together in "Adventure in Baltimore." He also appeared in "Sands of Iwo Jima" and "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon." Long-time Hollywood producer A.C. Lyles told the publication that Agar obviously got his foot in the Tinseltown door because of his marriage to Temple; but he went on to prove himself a fine actor and "a lovely person." Agar has died of emphysema. He was 81.
IS MIKE WALLACE REALLY NEARLY 84?
Seems hard to believe that TV newsman Mike Wallace is turning 84 in just a few weeks. He still sounds the same as he has for decades and certainly isn't looking his age. It's even more difficult for young people to realize that the hard-boiled newsman began his career as a TV actor and quiz show moderator. During his acting days he used the name Myron Wallace and appeared on such programs as "Suspense" and "Studio One." With wife, Buff, he co-anchored two early pioneering "husband and wife discussion" shows "All Around the Town," and "Mike and Buff." He even spent a short stint acting in a Broadway play. Now, though, there are reports that he's about to slow down -- for the first time in his long career. People magazine's online service says that Wallace -- who was there from "day one" when "60 Minutes" was launched in the 1960s -- is reducing his workload. He told colleagues this week that it's time to cut back. So far this season Wallace has prepared more "60 Minutes" segments than any of his colleagues.
BROOKS & DUNN TO VISIT LENO
The award-winning country duo Brooks & Dunn says it has been booked to appear on Jay Leno's late-night program. CMT confirms that the April 12 date will be just two weeks in advance of the latest Neon Circus and Wild West Show tour. The 2002 version of the group's highly successful road show kicks off in Minneapolis late this month. Brooks & Dunn's latest hit "The Long Goodbye" will be featured on the NBC broadcast. By the way, the two are still in rehearsals in Nashville for the tour. Going along this year is an all-star lineup, including Chris Cagle, Trick Pony, Gary Allan and Dwight Yoakam. Cledus T. Judd will act as master of ceremonies. For more information check out brooks-dunn.com on the Internet.
LATEST COSBY PROJECT IN LOW GEAR
Plans to bring a live-action version of comedian Bill Cosby's stories about Fat Albert to the silver screen have apparently been put on hold. The 64-year-old funnyman was in pre-production at 20th Century Fox until a reported difference of opinion arose between Cosby and the film's director and its chief writer. According to Hollywood Reporter, Cosby, writer Charles Kipps and director Forrest Whitaker had "creative differences" about the course the film should take. There are reports that Whitaker may be replaced on the project, which was to have gone into full production next month. The temporary flap was apparently not too rancorous. Meanwhile the official word is that the project is "on hiatus" and will resume once the personality conflicts are resolved.
RUKEYSER TO RETURN TO TV
It wasn't that long ago that journalist Louis Rukeyser was axed by PBS after more than three decades of hosting a weekly Wall Street program. Now, according to CNBC, that cable news provider has convinced the former financial reporter to come to its stable. A new program -- to be called "Louis Rukeyser's Wall Street" -- will have its initial airing on April 19. The show's broadcast time, 8:30 p.m. eastern time, is the same slot that his old PBS show held for 32 years. The arrival of Rukeyser at CNBC will necessitate a reduction in air time for its long-standing financial broadcast "America Now." The departure of Rukeyser from the public network was not pretty. There are reports that he would not go along with a plan to revamp the show -- for decades produced by Maryland Public TV in the Baltimore suburbs. PBS had wanted to expand the format, but that would have meant that Rukeyser would have not had the lead role, something he would not accept. He lobbied against the changes. PBS was determined. Rukeyser was given his pink slip. CNBC stepped in. ON A PERSONAL NOTE: I remember years ago, while working at an ABC radio network affiliate in the Midwest, that Rukeyser was a frequent contributor to that network's weekend wrap-up of correspondents. He was, at that time, reporting from London. His reports, even back then, made my weekend brighter. Welcome back, Mr. R.
PAVAROTTI VISITS, WICHITA IN AWE
One of the world's greatest singers, Luciano Pavarotti, has taken Wichita, Kan., by storm. The Wichita Star newspaper says that the tenor helped the city's new opera organization in a fund-raiser at the Kansas Coliseum. Nearly 6,500 fans showed up. Some paid up to $500 per ticket for a chance to meet the 66-year-old singer. Wichita was so thrilled to see the personable Pavarotti that its mayor, Bob Knight (no, not the basketball coach) gave him the key to the city. Additionally, the publication says that the city's symphony ended a bang-up season with a performance of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1. Conductor Andrew Sewell was joined by young Canadian piano virtuoso Stewart Goodyear in what the paper calls a performance filled with "delicate filigree and loud, shuttering chords ..." It looks as if the arts community in Wichita (the city that recently gave us sextuplets) is in good hands. By the way, Pavarotti, if he has done nothing else during his career, once hit nine consecutive high C's in the aria "Pour mon ami, qual destino, qual favor" in full voice, rather than in falsetto, as is customary. The feat electrified a 1966 London audience and made him an "overnight success."
UPI DAILY SURVEY QUESTION NO. 307
Here it is one week before Tax Day and I still haven't made my annual trip to the paperwork preparer. I may have some grasp of the English language but I'm nearly phobic when it comes to dealing with numbers. So, today's question: "Are your taxes done? Do you do them yourself?" Put TAXES in the subject line and send to email@example.com via the Internet.
RESULTS OF QUESTION NO. 302 (DMV)
First of all, let me issue a warning based on my experience last week of spending THREE afternoons in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles, all because of a mistake that could happen to you. After having my car re-smogged four times because the computer kept spitting out the paperwork, it was discovered that each time a technician had done the work he had used a bar-code scanner to "see" my VIN on the door frame of my newly purchased used car. What was not discovered, until the third day, was that the door was from another vehicle, used as a replacement, and its VIN did not match the VIN on the dashboard, the car's real identification number. So, if you buy a used car, make sure that the VIN on the door is the correct one. WHEW! As far as your experiences at the DMV from last week's question: SJ says she owns a "classic" car and the DMV needs to be "more gentle" in dealing with people who own older vehicles. Romayne says that when she needed work done at the DMV "the lady there couldn't have been nicer." Lori, on the other hand, is one of many who says that "you wait for hours" to get anything done at her office. She lives in Michigan. Len, who lives in 'Vegas, reminded me of the long lines at one of the branches he and I visited. Juanita, who lives in Gilroy, Calif. (the garlic capital of the world) says she simply makes an appointment. Additionally, several noted that if you live in an urban area it's sometimes easier to drive an hour to a DMV in a small town and have the work done there. OH ... AND THANKS to those who answered our "Nestle dog" question. It was ventriloquist Jimmy Nelson who owned Farfell. Wonder what ever happened to him? TOMORROW: Do kid's still love music?