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On the Bench

“Baseball isn’t really my sport,” says Dennis Quaid, 48, who stars in The Rookie as a high school science teacher taking one last shot at pitching in the major leagues. “Growing up in Texas, it was all about football. You have to at least try out. I did, but soon I noticed two things: I was too small and I hated getting hit. So I went into acting. It was safer.” That hasn’t stopped him from sharing a love of the game with his 9-year-old son Jack (with ex-wife Meg Ryan). “When I was training for this, I’d show Jack my pitching stance and he’d tell me if I looked goofy or what I was doing wrong,” says Quaid. “I coach his team. He’s good, but with Little League, the kids are just running around or they stand in the outfield like the Night of the Living Dead zombies.”


Most aspiring actors wait tables to make ends meet, but Bill Paxton found a way to pay the rent and hobnob with Hollywood royalty—as a parking attendant at the Beverly Hills Hotel when he was 18. “I parked cars for Ruth Gordon, and Cary Grant, who gave great tips,” says Paxton, 46, who directs and stars in the new thriller Frailty. “One day Jack Nicholson handed me his ticket and I ran to where his car should have been, but I found an old, beat-up Volkswagen. I ran back and said, ‘I can’t find your car. Oh my God! Something must have happened.’ Nicholson did one of those eyebrow moves and said, That is my car.’ I drove it up, and he gave me five bucks and did this crazy laugh as he drove away. Later, I found out that he kept the first car he had when he came to Hollywood.”

Party of Fire

While in Monaco prepping for cohosting duties at the World Music Awards (airing April 21 on ABC), Jennifer Love Hewitt learned a whole new meaning for the term party crasher. “On the first night, we went to this restaurant that when you are done eating, you can take your plates and chairs and smash them into little itty-bitty pieces in this thick fire pit,” says Hewitt, 23. “Shaggy and I were throwing chairs. I actually got a little too into it. I grabbed a huge table with help from Shakira‘s band and threw it into the fire. I figured this is the one time in my life that I am going to be able to break a bunch of stuff and not feel bad. I definitely let out my inner rock star.” Hewitt releases a lot more of her inner rock star this summer with Bare Naked, her fourth CD. Will the cover art reflect the album title? “I won’t be naked, so don’t even think it,” says Hewitt. “That would require way too much working out.”

Daddy Duty

His new FOX sitcom may be titled Andy Richter Controls the Universe, but at home, Andy Richter’s 15-month-old son Willy calls the shots. “I was up at 5 this morning getting him Motrin because his molars are coming in,” says Richter, 35. “When he’s up, he’s up. He has no snooze bar,” While Richter enjoys family life, he reluctantly admits that he and actress-wife Sarah Thyre (Strangers with Candy), 33, hired a part-time nanny. “We feel guilty about that,” he says. “Why have a baby if you are not going to get involved? People with two and three nannies, I feel like it’s not really having a baby. If it cries and you don’t have to get up, that’s not really having a baby, you know? That is just getting a new hobby.”

Change of Venue

Signing autographs may be part of a celebrity’s official duties, but for Ashley Judd, some places are definitely off limits. “If I’m in the airport bathroom, I don’t think it’s appropriate to slide a pen and paper under the stall,” says Judd, 33, currently starring in High Crimes, a legal thriller. Her big sister, singer Wynonna, however, thinks any place is acceptable for fan appreciation. “My sister disagrees with me and says it comes with the whole kit and caboodle and is not open to negotiation. But this is where I get selfish.”