Tributes continue to come from all over the world for John Entwistle, the bass player for The Who, found dead in his Las Vegas hotel room Thursday. He was in the gaming capital (with other members of the group) to kick off the aggregation's latest tour. It was to have begun at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. But instead, that venue became the center of attention for another reason. It was in one of the hotel's rooms where Entwistle's body was found and its staff notified police. He was affectionately called "The Ox" and was with the other members of the group when the highly musical group was formed four decades ago. Published reports indicate that surviving members Peter Townshend and Roger Daltrey were too distraught to issue comments, though they did post a note on the former's official Web site -- petetownshend.co.uk. One of the great comments came from the Stone's Bill Wyman. He noted that in public Entwistle was the "quietest man he ever knew, but on stage ... the loudest." A massive heart attack was likely the cause of death. Additional tributes can be found on the late musician's official site, johnentwistle.com. John Entwistle was only 57.
RODMAN: MAVERICKS USED ME
To hear flamboyant National Basketball Association standout Dennis Rodman talk, the Dallas Mavericks franchise used him for all they it get from him and then tossed him out. In an interview with the New York Post, Rodman is quoted as saying that he "packed 'em in" in Dallas and his reward was being shown the door. From the team's point of view, it fired Rodman after only five games for a series of violations, including showing up late for practice and being too hung over to play. Now Rodman is asking for yet another chance. He says he's "about 75 percent of the way" to finding another team. In the meanwhile he's been spending time back in the Los Angeles area. Finally, Rodman tells the publication something that would seem odd coming from a player whom many people consider to be a prima donna: "Everybody wants to be a superstar," he says ... instead of being a team player.
BUSBY BERKELEY SUBJECT OF MUSICAL
If you are part of the younger generation but have marveled at some of the incredibly intricate scenes in musicals of the '30s and '40s in which an "army" of young singers and dancers performs on massive sets in intricate, kaleidoscopic patterns, you need to know that the man who designed many of those cinemagraphic wonders was Busby Berkeley. And, according to gossip columnist, his incredible work is about to become part of a "musical biography" to be called "Buzz! (Nothing Succeeds Like Success)." Some real theater heavyweights are joining forces to mount the production: Composer Alan Menken ("Beauty and the Beast," "Pocahantas," "Aladdin," "Little Mermaid"), lyricist David Zippel ("Hercules," "Tarzan," "Mulan") and writer Larry Gelbart ("A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," "M*A*S*H," "Tootsie"). In addition to conceiving and directing all those on-stage ballets, Berkeley also created the water-borne routines for myriad Esther Williams films. The show will feature as many as 10 huge production numbers and is set to premiere in Las Vegas.
FIRST HEISMAN WINNER IS DEAD
The football player who was the first to ever be awarded the prestigious Heisman Trophy has died of lung cancer after a long illness. According to the Chicago-Sun times, Jay Berwanger died at his home in a suburb of the Windy City. In addition to winning Heisman No. 1 he also became the first college player to be drafted by the National Football League. He was a standout at the University of Chicago in the 1930s. He played at a time when players had to know all the positions and be able to play offense as well as defense. He excelled in both. Jay Berwanger was 88.
MAHER ENDS RUN WITH 'INCORRECT'
For nine seasons "Politically Incorrect" broke new ground on television. Now it's ending its run to mixed reviews. Some feel that host Bill Maher created a real niche, with his impish smile that masked what many think was a blowhard's personality. The show, according to Minneapolis Star-Tribune review Neal Justin, had some hot and tense moments. One of the most volatile came in 1997 when Chevy Chase and TV producer Steven Bochco were on the panel. Chase noted that people should watch less television and turn more to books, suggesting that they read Thomas Hardy instead. This infuriated Bochco, who has been the driving force behind some of the medium's most controversial hits ("L.A. Law," "Hill Street Blues," Murder One"). Bochco and Chase almost exchanged blow. The question now may be: "What next for Maher?" The show may be a hard act to follow, even though its success was based on non-experts pontificating about the events of the day in a format whose very contrivance caused the audience to expect the show to push the envelope to the breaking point ... or beyond.
COUNTRY FANS TO GET RADIO NETWORK
During the past decade or so network radio has shrunk. At the same time a few large companies have come in, gobbling up radio stations right and left. Now that ownership rules have been abandoned by the Federal Communications Commission, it's possible for one person to own a ton of stations in the same market. At the same time network radio news has become nearly nonexistent. There was a day when at the top of the hour it was hard to find a radio station not carrying a network or local newscast. Only those ABC affiliates who carried "News at 55" had music at :00 on the clock. And, the venerable Mutual Broadcasting System and ever the NBC Radio Network have gone dark. Maybe it's time for a new radio network. Well the folks at Westwood One -- who ironically took over Mutual and NBC Radio and pulled the plug on both -- think that way. Starting July 1 they are teaming with Country Music Television in launching the CMT Radio Network. Initially it will produce daily features and concerts. No plans in the works for hourly newscasts, although lately the world of country music has been so busy there's almost fodder for that much coverage. The network figures to reach about 60 million homes.
UPI DAILY SURVEY QUESTION NO. 365
Well, here we are ... the 365th question. One year of our survey, wow. Today's anniversary question is: "If you were told you had to eat the same three food items at every meal -- morning, noon and night -- for the rest of your life ... what three items would you eat?" (Drink not included). Put FOOD in the subject line and send to firstname.lastname@example.org via the Internet.
SPECIAL NOTE: In order to tie up a few loose ends and retool in order to retrieve your past replies, our SURVEY is taking a one week vacation. We'll return on July 3 with another year of questions and answers. In the meanwhile, feel free to contribute whatever you wish. GBA.