Entertainment Today: Showbiz news

By United Press International  |  May 1, 2002 at 4:45 AM
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It's official -- the fifth installment of CBS's highly successful "Survivor" series will take place on an island in Thailand.

Specifically, it'll take place in Tarutao National Park, Thailand's first marine park, consisting of about 50 islands. The 16 castaways will share the 58 square miles of the park's largest island, Koh Tarutao, with a wide range of monkeys, snakes and bird life. The isle was once used as a prison for long-term punishment and political prisoners.

The Thai government has granted the production access to the island, which is normally closed to visitors from mid-May to mid-November.

"Survivor: Thailand" is scheduled to premiere this fall.


The four children of Bonny Lee Bakley have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Robert Blake, accusing the Emmy-winning actor of shooting his wife to death.

Blake -- who pleaded innocent to charges of murder, solicitation and conspiracy -- faces a court hearing Wednesday to set a date for a preliminary hearing and take up the question of bail. Blake's chauffeur-bodyguard, Earle Caldwell, pleaded innocent to conspiracy and was released on $1 million bail posted by Blake last week.

Caldwell was also named in the suit, which was filed on Monday by the administrator of Bakley's estate on behalf of Rose Lenore Sophie Blake, Blake's nearly 2-year-old daughter by Bakley, an 8-year-old daughter named Jeri Lee Lewis and two grown children, Glenn Paul Gawron, 22, and Holly Lee Gawron, 21.

The lawsuit -- which seeks unspecified general and punitive damages -- was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court in Burbank five days before the first anniversary of Bakley's death.

Bakley was killed May 4, 2001, while she sat in Blake's car near Vitello's restaurant, where the couple had just eaten. Blake told investigators he had gone back inside the restaurant to retrieve his gun, which he said he had left in their booth, and when he came back to the car, Bakley was shot.

Blake, 68, was arrested April 18 and is being held without bail at the Men's Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles.


Nicolas Cage and producer Garry Marshall are being honored at The National Italian American Foundation's second annual West Coast Awards Gala Thursday in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Oscar-winning director Ron Howard will present Marshall with a NIAF Career Achievement Award, while Cage will be the first inductee into the NIAF's new "Italian American Hall of Fame" for his work in cinema.

Other celebrities expected to attend include Richard Crenna, Robert Davi, Dom DeLuise, Jack Klugman, Robert Loggia, Joe Mantegna, Giovanni Ribisi, Alex Rocco, Antonio Sabato, Jr. and Connie Sellecca, along with musician and television host John Tesh.

The event is a fundraiser for the foundation's scholarship and education programs.


Bill Cosby is being inducted into NBC's "Walk of Fame" this Friday at the NBC Experience Store in New York City. Phylicia Rashad, Cosby's co-star on "The Cosby Show," and Robert Culp, his "I Spy" co-star, are also expected to attend the ceremony.

Past inductees include Milton Berle, Sid Caesar, "The Howdy Doody Show," and, most recently, Willard Scott.


The Video Software Dealers Association has decided to honor George Carlin with its first Freedom of Expression award, to be presented at the VSDA's 2002 convention in Las Vegas in July.

The trade group will actually honor Carlin more or less in perpetuity, by naming the award the George Carlin Freedom of Expression award for all future honorees.

"There could be no finer honoree for an award championing the fight to retain freedom of speech and creative expression than the incomparable George Carlin," said VSDA President Bo Andersen. "His commitment, in the face of the most severe censorship efforts, to express his uniquely entertaining world view to hundreds of millions around the world has enriched us with more than 40 years of laughter and awareness."

Carlin is perhaps best known for a routine called "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television." He has released 14 comedy albums. Ten were nominated for Grammys, and three -- "Braindroppings," "Jammin' in New York" and "FM And AM" -- won Grammys.

"Braindroppings" was based on his best-selling 1997 book of the same name. Carlin wrote another bestseller, "Napalm & Silly Putty" in 2001.

The VSDA announced last week it will honor Sylvester Stallone as its Action Star of the Millennium.

(Thanks to UPI Hollywood Reporter Pat Nason)


Martin Scorsese, Susan Sarandon, Lauren Bacall, Mike Wallace and Alan Alda are among the panelists who'll take part in Tribeca Film Festival 2002 panel discussions.

Also scheduled to participate are Akiva Goldsman, Jon Stewart, Wendy Wasserstein, Nora Ephron, Sheila Nevins, and Sydney Lumet in a series of discussions and lively debates on a wide range of topics surrounding the entertainment industry, independent film, and a passion for cinema.

The film fest, in its inaugural year, will be held May 9-11 in the Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan, New York.


For 20 years, television's "The McLaughlin Group" has been one of America' most watched public affairs programs. Over time, it spawned the punditry careers of well-known media stars like FOX News' Fred Barnes and Morton Kondracke, Newsweek's Eleanor Clift, U.S. News' Michael Barone, and The Washington Times Tony Blankley.

McLaughlin has himself became a media phenomenon -- having made cameo appearances in four major movies about Washington and, in the highest of all cultural accolades, been the subject of a devastating lampoon by master impersonator Dana Carvey on NBC's "Saturday Night Live."

This Sunday, McLaughlin and company will make merry at Washington's Willard Hotel in commemoration of the show's anniversary at a party hosted by, of course, Cristina and John McLaughlin.

(From UPI's Capital Comment)

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