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People in the News

Eds: Updates with items on Billy Joel, Phylicia Rashad, Paul Sorvino and Tony Danza. Contains items on Donald Trump, Dick Van Dyke, Jane Clayson Johnson, and Terry Jones

AP Photo NYET140, NYET141, NYET142, NYET143, NY111, ILCHN101-104, NYET131

By The Associated Press

WEST BABYLON, N.Y. (AP) – Proving the adage yet again that one man’s trash is another’s treasure, a radio station has collected the smashed front grill from Billy Joel’s car wreck last month and is auctioning it off for charity.

Joel suffered minor injuries when he lost control of his vintage 1967 Citroen on a rain-slicked road near his Long Island home on April 25 and slammed into a house.

The singer-songwriter received a small cut on his left ring finger but refused medical attention. The wreck was the third in two years for Joel. Last year he was hospitalized after smashing his car into a tree along a highway on far eastern Long Island, and he escaped serious injury in a crash in East Hampton in June 2002.

WBLI morning show co-host Steve Harper said Monday that the grill is being offered on eBay, where it will remain until 12:45 p.m. Thursday.

The station’s “Slam the Stunt Man,” collected the debris off the street at the crash site, Harper said. A Nassau County police spokesman said Joel has not asked for the grill back, so there’s no legal reason the station can’t sell it.

A spokeswoman for Joel didn’t immediately return a call for comment.

Proceeds will go to Long Island charities, although Harper said station officials are still discussing the exact beneficiaries.

NEW YORK (AP) – Rudy and Theo would be proud: Claire Huxtable, matriarch of “The Cosby Show” clan, was named best TV mom in a new poll released just in time for Mother’s Day.

Played by Phylicia Rashad, Claire Huxtable was the witty, tough mother of five who also worked as a lawyer. Rashad played alongside Bill Cosby’s Cliff Huxtable for 8 years, until the NBC sitcom ended in 1992.

The 55-year-old actress, who’s starring in the Broadway production of “A Raisin in the Sun” with Sean Combs, also was named “TV mom closest to your own mom in spirit.”

Opinion Research Corporation conducted the poll from April 8-11. Results were based on 720 adults who have a living mother or mother-in-law. The margin of error was plus or minus four points.

Mrs. Cunningham of “Happy Days,” played by Marion Ross, was second, followed by Marge Simpson of “The Simpsons,” who’s voiced by Julie Kavner.

WASHINGTON (AP) – If Tony Soprano and Paulie Cicero, the don from “GoodFellas,” put contracts out on each other, who’d get whacked first?

“Paulie is much more lethal,” the actor who played him, Paul Sorvino, told AP Radio. “Jimmy (Gandolfini, who plays Tony) does a wonderful job, but in terms of the way the characters are set up, Paulie is much more Machiavellian, Paulie is much more of a ponderer and a thinker. He does very little by impulse and that’s a much more dangerous person.”

Sorvino, who now spends much of his time painting and sculpting, recently sold some of his pieces in Washington to benefit The Paul Sorvino Asthma Foundation.

“GoodFellas,” from 1990, “is certainly a great movie and I’m proud to be in it, but it’s only one small section of what I am and it’s completely antithetical to my personality,” Sorvino said. “It’s nothing like me as a human being.”

Any chance of him turning up on “The Sopranos”?

“I don’t think they can afford me,” the 65-year-old actor said. “I’ve done it on the big screen. What would I play, a visiting don?”

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) – Tony Danza is frank about why he left his native Brooklyn to attend the University of Dubuque.

“It was the school that accepted me,” said Danza, a 1972 graduate. “I had the possibility of a wrestling scholarship.”

The 53-year-old actor, best known for his TV roles in “Taxi” and “Who’s the Boss?” will return to his alma mater Saturday to receive an honorary doctorate in humane letters.

“I just wish my parents could be here to see it,” said Danza. Instead he’ll bring his wife and three kids, including son his 33-year-old son, Mark, who was born in Dubuque.

He’ll also perform his musical variety show “Tony Danza Live!” Friday at Five Flags Theater, with proceeds benefiting the University of Dubuque music program.

On the Net:


RENO, Nev. (AP) – Donald Trump will assume the role of apprentice himself when he puts his frailties on display in an atmosphere many find more intimidating than the corporate board room: the golf course.

Trump, comedian Jimmy Fallon and actors Kurt Russell and Luke Wilson are among the first-time players entered to play July 16-18 at the American Century celebrity golf tournament on the shores of Lake Tahoe, officials for NBC Sports told The Associated Press.

“The pressure will be on and I’ll have to perform,” Trump said in a statement issued Sunday through his New York office. “It’s a tournament that has both big names and serious competition.”

Tourney regulars Michael Jordan, John Elway, Mario Lemieux and Mark McGwire will return to the Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course for the 54-hole event with a $500,000 purse.

Other newcomers include NFL quarterbacks Peyton Manning, Trent Green, Carson Palmer and David Carr, along with singer Nick Lachey and talk-show host Carson Daly, tourney officials said.

Trump’s caddy might hear Trump’s famous line – “You’re fired!” from his hit television show “The Apprentice” – if the real estate tycoon loses too many balls on the 7,445-yard course. But don’t count on it.

“A lot of people don’t realize this, but he is a very, very good golfer,” said Jon Miller, senior vice president for programming for NBC Sports.

DANVILLE, Ill. (AP) – Nobody told Dick Van Dyke you can’t go home again.

Sixty years after he graduated from Danville High School, Van Dyke returned over the weekend to be honored by the community he left to become a television star.

“A lot of memories are popping into my head,” the 78-year-old said. “It’s just incredible, the sights, the sounds, the smells.”

Van Dyke watched a student production of “Bye Bye Birdie,” a play he appeared in on Broadway just before he starred in “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”

He took the stage with the students, singing and dancing with them.

“It has been amazing to know that one of my idols will be sharing the stage with us,” said Johnny Howard, a high school student who’s playing the same role in “Bye Bye Birdie” that Van Dyke played on Broadway. “It’s a dream come true to me.”

Van Dyke also attended a reception and a tribute to him, which former classmates, family members and friends attended.

“I never got this much attention in high school,” he said.

LOGAN, Utah (AP) – Former CBS “Early Show” co-host Jane Clayson Johnson offered Utah State University’s class of 2004 some advice she put into practice herself: Keep your perspective.

“There is more to life than a job; there is more to life than a successful career,” said Johnson, who recently walked away from broadcasting after 15 years.

The 1990 Brigham Young University graduate co-hosted the early morning show with Bryant Gumbel. When he decided to leave the show, she was reassigned in September 2002 as a news correspondent, contributing to the “CBS Evening News with Dan Rather” and “48 Hours.”

Then last year, hours after Mark Johnson proposed to her, she received a call from her agent with an offer for a four-year contract. The couple weighed her options before she chose to give up her career, move to Boston and start a family.

“When I left broadcasting … I was on top of the world. But this has been one of the most important lessons of my life: There will always be another project,” Johnson said Saturday.

“I didn’t ever want to look back … and point to a bookshelf of videotapes and say that’s been my life. It’s so much easier to write a resume than it is to craft a spirit.”

She expects to become a mother this fall.

“There are seasons in life. Don’t ever let anyone try to deny you the joy of one season because they believe you should stay in another season,” Johnson said. “Listen to yourself. Trust your instincts. Keep perspective.”

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Monty Python’s Flying Circus alumnus Terry Jones doesn’t mince words about why the troupe’s film “Life of Bryan” is being rushed into rerelease this month.

“It’s shameless commercial opportunism on our part,” Jones told the Philadelphia Inquirer for Sunday’s editions.

The original plan was to get the movie prints out in August, which marks the 25th anniversary of the troupe’s tale of an accidental messiah. Then came Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ.”

“We just saw the opportunity and thought we’d take it,” Jones said. “We’re definitely trying to cash in on Mel’s enormous success.”

Jones, who directed the wickedly funny biblical send-up, also helmed “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” and “The Meaning of Life.” A quarter-century ago, “Life of Bryan” sparked controversy and bans.

“That was rather good, really, because it gave us a lot of publicity,” Jones said. “It also gave us a great ad line in Sweden, because the Swedes regard the Norwegians as having no sense of humor, and as it was banned in Norway the Swedish distributor ran a line that read, ‘This film is so funny it was banned in Norway!”‘

AP-ES-05-03-04 1414EDT

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