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Entertainment Today: Showbiz News

By KAREN BUTLER, United Press International

NOLTE NABBED FOR DUI

Recovering alcoholic Nick Nolte was arrested earlier this week after cops in Los Angeles stopped him for speeding and allegedly discovered him "drooling" and "completely out of it" behind the wheel of his 1992 Mercedes-Benz.

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The 61-year-old star of "Affliction" and "The Prince of Tides" was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs Wednesday afternoon.

California Highway Patrol spokesman Leland Tang said cops initially stopped Nolte because they saw his car weaving across the southbound lanes of the Pacific Coast Highway into opposing lanes of traffic. They decided to arrest him because they thought "he looked very much like he was under the influence," Tang stated.

"We have strong reason to believe there were drugs involved," he added, declining to specify the type of pharmaceutical Nolte is suspected of abusing.

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The actor, who sported disheveled hair and a bright Hawaiian shirt in his police mug shot, was set free on $2,500 bail.


ACTRESS KIM HUNTER DEAD AT 79

Oscar-winning actress Kim Hunter died of a heart attack at her home in New York City this week. She was 79.

Best-known for her portrayal of Stanley Kowalski's long-suffering wife, Stella, in the 1951 film, "A Streetcar Named Desire," Hunt also appeared as a simian scientist in three "Planet of the Apes" movies, as well as dozens of other films, TV shows and plays during a career that spanned nearly six decades.

A liberal Democrat who was black-listed in the 1950s, Hunter enjoyed a come-back in the 1960s and worked steadily until 2001. Her last major film roles were in "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" and "A Price Above Rubies."

"Kim Hunter was a fine actress and a wonderful person," is how Charlton Heston remembered his "Planet of the Apes" co-star. "The world has lost a unique talent."


DR. PHIL DENIES SEX ABUSE CHARGE

Frequent "Oprah" guest Dr. Phil McGraw is denying charges he sexually abused a female patient in the 1980s.

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"I have never so much as patted this woman on the back," an upcoming issue of TV Guide quotes the self-help guru as saying. "(That claim) was absolutely and totally false."

The National Enquirer recently published a story in which a woman, who claims McGraw had sexually abused her while she was a patient, filed charges with the Texas State Board of Examiners and Psychologists.

According to TV Guide, the board reprimanded McGraw in 1989 only "for hiring the woman too soon after she was a patient," not for any sexual misconduct.

"It was fully investigated and dismissed," the 52-year-old therapist emphasized.

A popular talk-show guest and author of the best-selling book, "Self Matters," McGraw starts hosting his own syndicated show, "Dr. Phil," this Monday.


ANOTHER REALITY SHOW?

High-octane movie king Joel Silver has agreed to executive produce a reality show for NBC that (supposedly) will transform one aspiring actor and actress into action stars.

According to the New York Post, the 10-episode reality series, aptly called "The Next Action Star," will track producers as they search for potential male and female stars with "that indefinable 'it' factor." The winners will star in a Silver-produced NBC TV movie, tentatively titled "Hit Me."

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The series is expected to kick off next summer with a nationwide hunt for prospective stars. Twelve finalists will then move to Hollywood, where they will take acting, training and combat lessons and be treated like stars.

Contestants will be eliminated at the end of each episode after competing in a series of stunt action sequences.

"Uncovering new talent is a fascinating process and we are excited to share this experience with the public," Silver told The Post.

Silver has produced some of the most successful action movies in Hollywood history, including the "Die Hard," "Lethal Weapon" and "Matrix" franchises.


'9-1-1' WINNING NUMBERS IN SEPT. 11 LOTTERY

New York State lottery officials have confirmed the winning numbers for its Sept. 11 Pick 3 drawing were, indeed, 9-1-1. Although many have noted the numbers coincide with the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States, officials insist, "It's just the way the numbers come up." There were 5,631 winners.

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