Hollywood Digest

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter  |  Jan. 30, 2003 at 3:38 PM
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Six months after his nearly fatal racecar crash, actor Jason Priestley has recovered from his injuries and is back to work in the entertainment business.

Priestley ("Beverly Hills 90210") showed up last week at the Sundance Film Festival to promote his new movie, "Die Mommie Die" -- described as the story of a woman who kills her older husband so she can be with a younger lover (Priestley).

The actor told People magazine that he is doing "much better" but still curtailing his physical activities somewhat.

"I'm not going to be skiing this year, unfortunately," he said.

In an interview with Barbara Walters scheduled to air on ABC Friday night, Priestley said he stopped breathing after he slammed his car into a wall at 180 mph at Kentucky Speedway last August -- and "actually checked out" for almost one minute.

He said when he regained consciousness he was terrified.

"I thought to myself, 'Can I move my legs? Can I move my feet?' We all know about Christopher Reeve," he said.

Reeve ("Superman") was paralyzed from the shoulders down in a horseback riding accident in May 1995.


"Let's Make a Deal" host Monty Hall heads for Philadelphia on Monday to receive the prestigious Legion of Honor Gold Medallion at The Chapel of Four Chaplains.

The chapel was dedicated in 1951 at Temple University to honor the memory of four U.S. Army chaplains who gave their life jackets to four soldiers on the USAT Dorchester -- a troop transport ship with 902 people on board that sank in the Atlantic Ocean on Feb. 3, 1943, after being torpedoed by a German U-boat.

Some of the 230 survivors told of seeing the chaplains -- Lt. George Fox, Lt. Alexander D. Goode, Lt. John P. Washington and Lt. Clark V. Poling -- locking their arms together and praying as the ship went down.

The Legion of Honor Gold Medallion is presented to "a person whose service and leadership has brought them to national or worldwide attention, and whose very life epitomizes the sacrificial spirit of The Four Chaplains."

Hall joins a list of recipients that includes former presidents George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan and Harry S Truman. The medallion has also been presented to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, former U.S. Sen. John Glenn and legendary entertainer Bob Hope.


The Screen Actors Guild will honor TV producer Dick Wolf with its Outstanding Diversity Award, in recognition of his "contributions to casting diversity."

Wolf -- best known as the producer of the Emmy-winning TV series "Law & Order" -- will receive the award Friday in Hollywood, at a forum and tribute titled "Latino Legacy in Hollywood."

Hector Elizondo ("The Princess Diaries," "Tortilla Soup") will moderate a panel discussion called "Latinos in Entertainment: Good Business Sense." The panel will include actor Gregory Sierra ("Sanford & Son," "Barney Miller"), Peter Murrieta (producer-creator of WB comedy "Greetings from Tucson") and several network and production company executives.


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced that Halle Berry and Jennifer Lopez will be presenters on the 75th Oscars telecast.

Berry will be making her third appearance as an Oscar presenter. She made history last year, becoming the fist black to win the best actress Oscar, for her performance in "Monster's Ball."

Lopez will be making her sixth appearance on the Oscars telecast.

The 75th Academy Awards will be presented on March 23 at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, in ceremonies to be televised by ABC.


Tippi Hedrin, the star of Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds" and "Marnie," received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Thursday.

Rich Little was scheduled to participate in the event, doing his impression of Hitchcock. A publicist for Hedren said that, due to "unforeseen restrictions," actual birds would not be released at the unveiling ceremony as planned.

Hedren -- whose recent screen credits include "Pacific Heights" (1990) and "Citizen Ruth" (1996) -- is also an animal rights activist. She maintains a wildlife preserve north of Los Angeles that is home to about 60 big cats -- including a lion, a tiger, a leopard and a cougar.


Frances McDormand reportedly will join Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton in the cast of the romantic comedy by "What Women Want" writer-director Nancy Meyers.

The untitled project features Nicholson as a man who can't help falling in love with the mother (Keaton) of his young girlfriend (Amanda Peet). McDormand will play Keaton's sister.

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