LeVar Burton (Roots, Star Trek: The Next Generation) recently-donated a kidney to his mother, Erma, who is in her 70s and has been suffering from diabetes since 1982. Doctors performed the six-hour transplant operation in late May at Sutter Memorial Hospital in Sacramento after determining that the 44-year-old actor and his mom were a good match. She was on a donor list, but the odds of her getting a kidney weren’t good. Her health has improved dramatically, I’m told, and LeVar is recovering nicely.
John Travolta just returned to L.A. from a 25,000-mile, 11-day trip on his own Boeing 707 to promote his latest drama, Swordfish. Although two pilots accompanied him along with Warner Bros, executives and personal assistants, Travolta did some of the flying himself. At one point he gave a lift to his Aussie costar Hugh Jackman (who joined him in the cockpit during landing) from Melbourne to Sydney. The studio, by the way, picked up the tab for the jet fuel, which I figure to be about $300,000, give or take a few thousand.
Now that CBS has cancelled his series Nash Bridges after six seasons, I hear that Don Johnson is pulling up stakes in San Francisco and moving his wife, Kelley, and their 18-month-old daughter Gracie to their ranch outside Aspen. The couple’s Victorian mansion in Pacific Heights is expected to go on the market soon for about $8 million.
To get a PG-13 rating for crazy/beautiful, which stars Kirsten Dunst as a rich, troubled teen on a downward spiral, director John Stockwell had to trim some steamy scenes she has with costar Jay Hernandez. But that didn’t stop Disney from trying to exploit Dunst’s sex appeal—much to her dismay. The 19-year-old actress was watching MTV when she saw a 30-second spot for the movie where shots of her dancing provocatively in an open jeep were intercut with such unsubtle road signs as Slippery When Wet and Dangerous Curves Ahead. “I was so embarrassed,” she says of the amateurish-looking ad. “How horrible and cheesy-” After she conveyed her objections, the studio yanked it.
Stuart Little, the computer-generated mouse in the hit movie, was invited to apply for a Visa card by Associates National Bank, a subsidiary of Citigroup. The application was sent to Columbia Pictures in Culver City, Calif., noting, “soon you can carry a Visa card with a credit line up to $4,000.” How silly. Everyone knows Stuart is too small to carry a card that big. Does the bank regret the error? Well, yes and no. “Stuart Little is well-regarded,” says a Citigroup spokeswoman. “He made millions…and looked like a good credit risk. Unfortunately, mice are ineligible for credit at our institution.”