Oct. 29, 2001 at 5:16 PM
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The American Film Institute says it's going to honor already much-honored actor Tom Hanks with it's life achievement award. Hanks is only 45 and is the youngest filmmaker to be honored by the group. Previous honorees include Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, Clint Eastwood, Bette Davis and Orson Welles. The ceremonies honoring Hanks will be held next June at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood and Highland in Los Angeles. From "Forrest Gump" to "Philadelphia" to "Saving Private Ryan," Hanks has been involved in some of the most important movies in recent years. Through all of this, United Press International's Pat Nason says that Hanks has become one of the most influential actors in Hollywood.


The second wife of the former Shah of Iran has died in Paris. The report, from French Radio, says that Soraya Esfandiari Bakhtiari -- daughter of an Iranian magnate and a German mother -- married the Iranian leader in 1951. During the wedding ceremonies she wore a Christian Dior gown of silver lame, sent by airplane from Paris. Her marriage to the shah lasted only eight years; the couple divorced after she failed to have any children. During her time as wife of the shah she became famous for keeping a pet seal in a palace fountain. She was 69.


The bus in which "the mother of the civil rights movement" Rosa Parks refused to give her seat to a white man has been auctioned in Oak Brook, Ill. An anonymous institution made the winning bid -- $492,000 -- for the rusted-out yellow and green 1936 GM bus. The suburban Chicago auction house where the sale took place says that there were nearly 50 bids for the bus. The auctioneers went to great lengths to make sure that the bus was the real McCoy. Parks, a 42-year-old seamstress at the time, refused to give up her seat and decided to sit in a section of the bus earmarked for "whites only." The separation by race on Montgomery, Ala., buses and other transportation in the south was mandated by segregation laws of the time. The bus was purchased by an Alabama family and used for some time as a storage unit. It surfaced in the 1990 movie "The Long Walk Home" about the Montgomery bus boycott that followed Park's courageous actions. Parks is now in her late 80s.


Except for recent hawking of his long-awaited CD project "Scarecrow" and the announcement of plans to play selections from it during several live radio talk-format sessions, country icon Garth Brooks has been in a kind of self-imposed hiatus. Now, according to, Brooks says he's planning to appear in a special Christmas show in early December. The news provider says that Brooks will appear in "Lime Creek Christmas" in the intimate Roy Acuff Theater. The production will combine dramatic performances by actor Anthony Zerbe and music by Brooks. The pair has performed the show once before, during the Christmas season of 1991 in a Sheridan, Wyo., theater. Profits from the Nashville event will go, in part, to the Grand Ole Opry's trust fund.


Despite efforts by fellow bandmembers to silence him during an interview session, British rocker Lee Ryan -- of the group Blue Star -- made comments about the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center that have generated a hornet's nest of criticism. Appearing at the headquarters of a London Tabloid, the Sun, he said that the terror attacks in NYC had been "blown out of proportion." He noted that of more important concern were the deaths of elephants around the world. When a London radio station relayed his statements, the phones rang off the hook. More than 95 percent of those calling trashed the boy band singer, most demanded that he be sacked from the group. The Sun says it has received emails condemning the rocker's statements from many New Yorkers who learned about the outrage online.


As thousands of men and women continue to dig through the rubble of what was once the World Trade Center complex in NYC, some experts are saying that continuing exposure to a "cocktail of contaminants" rising as smoke may put them at risk for serious diseases down the road -- including leukemia. England's Guardian newspaper, in a special report from the Big Apple, told readers over the weekend that on one day alone the level of benzene -- known to cause leukemia and other cancers -- was nearly 60 times the norm at "Ground Zero." Other toxic substances are in the air as fires in the depths of the rubble continue to burn, nearly seven weeks after the disaster. The publication says that in the hours immediately after the collapses few rescue workers wore respirators, now most all do.


Over the weekend the parts of the country that change back and forth from Standard to Daylight Saving (NO "S" ON THE END OF THAT WORD) Time reverted to Standard. Being from Indiana, a state that moved time zones when I was a kid and then suffered the problem of having it not get dark until 11 at night as the result, I have always been fascinated with time. Remember my question about how many clocks you have? Well, here is today's question: "What are your feelings about Daylight Saving Time?" Put DAYLIGHT in the subject line and send to via the Internet.


Last week we asked if you had done much, if any, of your holiday shopping. We drowned in replies. Here is a quick sampling: LB is among those who have progressed in years to the point that her holiday buying list is about four feet long. She reports that she has most of it done, but with 13 grandchildren, children, in-laws, friends, extended family, there is still a long way to go. Pat in Ontario -- though finished with her shopping -- says that she is offended with the way stores "jump the gun" each year, putting out the Christmas stuff before Halloween. On a personal note: Pat, your last name is the same as a WWI veteran who lived in southern Indiana years ago. Got any family there? Amanda, our high school friend, (who says she loves this column. Well, at her age, kids are misdirected) says that she is broke and no one she knows needs a present anyway. Hmmm. Bev shops for nieces and nephews first. LBani knows a true bargain, shopping as early as last spring in preparation for this Christmas. Alison is among many who say they wait until the last minute. Finally, I got an email from Sally who says, in large, easy-to-read type: "I'M DONE!" So am I, today. GBA.

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