Muhammad Ali gave fellow Parkinson’s sufferer Michael J. Fox the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for his crusade against the disease at the March 17 Celebrity Fight Night, an annual fundraiser in Phoenix. But the event’s organizers wanted to surprise Fox with a more personal gift. That came moments later when his former Spin City cast-mate Barry Bostwick gave him an acoustic guitar autographed by the actor’s favorite musician, James Taylor. An ecstatic Fox strummed a few chords, then headed backstage, where he discovered the second part of his gift—a note inside that read, “Dear Michael, Call me for lessons, JT.”
Got stress? Try a TV job. At ABC Sela Ward and the Once and Again gang enjoy complimentary massages and yoga classes at work. Bradley Whitford and the staff of NBC’s The West Wing have “adjusted” to having chiropractors visit their set each week. And when shooting runs late on FOX’s Malcolm in the Middle, a cappuccino wrangler is always on call. Sighs Malcolm star (and Whitford’s wife) Jane Kaczmarek: “I wanted them to bring in a martini bar, but I don’t know if that would work with the kids.” If only nine-to-fivers had it so good.
Burt Reynolds may be follicle-ly deprived, but he hasn’t lost his sense of humor. During a recent performance in Amsterdam, the American improv troupe Boom Chicago spotted the actor in the audience and invited him onstage, only to have a heckler shout, “Nice hair!” Reynolds, who was then in The Netherlands filming The Hermit of Amsterdam with Julie Christie, demanded that the culprit join him, explaining, to much applause, “This is my hair because I paid five [expletive] thousand dollars for it!” After challenging the man to pull off the pricey rug, Reynolds and the heckler hugged.
Having conquered the music world, Grammy-winner Macy Gray is making inroads in Hollywood too. The soulful chanteuse will be seen in at least two upcoming films: She turns up as a street person in Denzel Washington‘s Training Day and plays herself in 2002’s Spider-Man. On the latter, Gray was joined by more than 700 extras for her “Times Square” concert scene, which filmed March 15 on an elaborate set in Downey, Calif. Gray wailed the song “Nutty Nutmeg Phantasy” from her forthcoming album. Even the professional Spider-Man crew couldn’t stop themselves from dancing to her new tune.
For Diane Farr, joining the male-dominated cast of ABC’s new comedy The Job had all the charm of a fraternity rush. Thanks to Denis Leary and the boys, the on-set menu consisted of “buckets and buckets” of Church’s fried chicken, ice cream and after-hours hard drinking. The former model and cohost of MTV’s Loveline whose book The Girl Code, a humorous guide to relationships, hit stores on Valentine’s Day, had to fit in to survive: “At the end of six weeks I curse like hell and smoke like a fiend. It’s absolutely insane!”