Comedic actor Brendan Fraser has a lot of fans, and for a very good reason. He is not only a nice guy, but he's loyal to his fans, doing nice things that a lot of actors wouldn't. According to the New York Post, during a recent outdoor film shoot, he was confronted by a gaggle of his fans, all asking for autographs and photos. He graciously stopped and talked and signed his name, dutifully, for everyone who asked for an autograph and posed for fan photographs. Suddenly one of those in the crowd demanded that he take his shirt off so some sexier shots could be taken. Even though the director of the scene demanded the Fraser get back to work, he ripped off his shirt and stood there, delighting his fans. The publication suggests that many stars would have shouted an expletive and bolted. But not Fraser. Good for him.
LOWE TO LEAVE 'THE WEST WING'
The immensely popular TV show "The West Wing" is about to lose one of its most popular stars. NBC says that Rob Lowe is planning to leave the hit series. Lowe plays the director of White House communications on the hit show. The show's scenario will have his character, Sam Seaborn, taking another assignment. People magazine says that Lowe's salary was about $75,000 an episode and he may not be pleased at being a "low-end employee." There are reports that Martin Sheen's paycheck is in the $300,000-per-show range. By the way, during last year's Emmy Awards, Lowe was the only major member of the cast to not be nominated for his work on the show.
COUNTRY'S RIMES PREPARES FOR NO. 20
Country star LeAnn Rimes turns 20 in a few weeks and in honor of the milestone, she's preparing to release a new CD. The news provider country.com says that the compilation will be called "Twisted Angel" and will be released on Curb Records. The initial single from the CD, "Life Goes On," will be sent to country radio stations in about two weeks. Rimes is preparing a video of some of the cuts of the album. The project will be shot in New Orleans with Matthew Rolston as director. He's best known for his video work with Jewel, Madonna and Jennifer Lopez. Rimes says that she has very eclectic tastes when it comes to music. Her love of myriad forms of music will, apparently, be evident in her new album.
CUSTODY ACTION IN THE BLAKE CASE
You'll notice that this column hasn't said much about embattled star Robert Blake. There's a good reason for that. After surviving the media orgy surrounding the Simpson case, many of us in the world of journalism have vowed: "Never again!" But there's been a development, not relating directly to the events of the case, that is worth reporting. Custody of Rose Blake -- the two-year daughter of Blake and his former, now-deceased wife Bonnie Bakley -- has been awarded to Blake's adult daughter, Delinah. All-news station KNX says that the Delinah has cared for the child at her home in Hidden Hills, Calif., since September of 2000. Bakley's surviving sister, Margerry, had also requested custody of the child. After the court's decision Bakley told reporters that she is satisfied with the verdict and was there only to insure that she would have visitation rights.
DWIGHT YOAKAM HIRES HIMSELF
For years country's Dwight Yoakam was in the Warner Bros. music stable. Now, according to his publicist, Yoakam is moving his music to his own company, Electrodisc Sights and Sounds. The fledgling company will have to rely on another firm, though, for distribution of its products. At the current time Yoakam is the only artist recording for the company. Few other plans have been announced. He is apparently sinking a lot of his own money in the new music company. Yoakam is about to come off a long and successful tour with Brooks & Dunn. The final concert in the series is this weekend. There are reports that he may announce some solo gigs for the coming weeks. Meanwhile, Warner Bros. says it will gather some loose ends from previous recording sessions and issue a Yoakam "farewell" disk in the fall.
MANY NEWS GROUPS PLANNING 9/11 TRIBUTES
Many worldwide media outlets have announced their plans for special programs on 9/11. After all, we're only now inside 50 days of the bittersweet anniversary. Among those with special plans are London's Channel 5 television. The station has released information, relayed by the Hollywood Reporter, that it's put together footage from the horrible events of that day that has not been shown on television. A news crew was working on a special project for the Discovery Channel called "Animal Precinct." The crew was able to shoot film of both towers before each collapsed. Some of the footage was taken at close range. A few of the sequences have been seen at previous times, but the large majority of the tape will be brand new. In addition, there are reports that the first family is making plans to participate in several American broadcasts.
UPI DAILY SURVEY QUESTION NO. 380
Today is another Friday Forum day. Send any comment you'd like to firstname.lastname@example.org via the Internet.
RESULTS OF QUESTION NO. 375 (GURU)
Last week we asked for your comments on your favorite radio or TV guru or "do-it-yourself" personality. From a random sampling, here are some of the replies: The No. 1 vote getter was NPR's "Car Talk." Tom and Ray are big hits with readers, hands down. By the way, the show's Web site says that Martha Stewart was once a guest. Julia Child, even though she's been out of vogue for years, came in second. I was also happy to see that the late Bob Ross -- the PBS painter who could do an entire portrait in less than half an hour and was once a guest on my UPI Radio Network broadcast -- got several votes. His old shows are still running. Also getting votes were several of the on-air chefs, including Emeril and Martin Yan. On the non-cooking side, classic carpenter Bob Vila received several votes. One surprise entry came from CWS who said this all-time favorite do-it-yourself guy was Mr. Wizard, Don Herbert. His original show was called "Watch Mr. Wizard." It ran from 1951 through 1965. The Internet Movie Data Base says that Herbert celebrated his 85th birthday earlier this month. MONDAY: More of your thoughts. GBA.