Two Much Spice
Variety, it seems, can add life to a Spice. Geri Halliwell, 27, the artist formerly known as Ginger Spice, is now perched atop the British charts with her single “Lift Me Up.” She aced out Emma Bunton still with the Spice Girls as Baby Spice, who issued a solo single, “What I Am,” the same day, Nov. 1. The British tabloids ran screaming headlines about the battle between the two. Spice War—or hypefest? The former mates—Geri left the group in May ’98—are taking the high road in public. However, an observer at the London party to celebrate Halliwell’s arrival at No. 1 said that all everyone talked about “was the victory [over Bunton].”
The ABCs of ALPHA & BETA
Who da man? Gore’s campaign flap spotlights a law—or flaw?—of the jungle
The bully, the boss, the Big Man on Campus: He is alpha male, hear him roar. Bill Clinton is according to feminist author-turned-political-consultant Naomi Wolf, who, says TIME, advised Vice President Al Gore to join the alpha boys if he wants to win the White House. Not everyone agrees. The public “has mixed feelings about alphas,” says Jerald Jellison, a professor of social psychology at USC. “We like the fact that they’ll get things for the group and that they’ll protect us from harm. On the other hand, we’re afraid they’ll take advantage of us.” Jellison includes portrayals by Wall Street’s Michael Douglas, Star Wars’ Harrison Ford and Happy Days’ Henry Winkler among his favorite fictional alphas. At right, Scoop further clarifies the alpha-beta soup:
Clint Eastwood: Feel lucky calling Dirty Harry anything but alpha? Well, do ya, punk?
Bruce Willis in Die Hard: Runs barefoot over broken glass, kills bad guys. Alpha plus.
Television’s Judge Judy Sheindlin: Got a problem with that? Objection overruled!
Oscar the Grouch: Back away from my garbage can, you annoying hand puppets!
Barney Fife (Don Knotts): This guy let Andy Griffith boss him around. Need we say more?
Bruce Willis in The Story of Us: Sensitive suburban guy endures trial separation.
Judge Joseph Wapner: Went from People’s Court to cable’s Animal Court. Meow, meow.
Elmo: Hey. he asked to be tickled! Face it, pal, you’re just a big red dust bunny.
Hannibal Lecter has finally gone too far. After dining on a security guard in The Silence of the Lambs, the doctor’s carnivorous exploits in Hannibal, the sequel, are just too grisly for Jodie Foster, who played FBI agent Clarice Starling in the 1991 film. Foster, who turns 37 on Nov. 19, told W magazine she will not reprise the role in a film sequel and felt the book “betrayed” her character. So which lucky Hollywood starlet will flesh out Starling? Scoop asked casting director Janet Hirshenson to handicap the field. “You need someone whom you would believe to be an FBI agent,” she says. “My top three picks would be Helen Hunt, Ashley Judd and Angelina Jolie. Winona Ryder could also be good.” Hannibal producer Dino De Laurentiis hopes he’ll never have to choose among them. “I’m sure [Foster] is going to do it,” he says, “after she reads the script.”
Cher and the Suspect Sheik
When you’re Cher, people simply enjoy throwing you parties. So when Saudi Arabian sheik Sulaiman Al Kehaimi—whom she had briefly met in London—tossed her a 50th-birthday bash in May 1996 at his $80 million chateau in Monte Carlo and presented her with the keys to a Lamborghini sports car, there was no real cause for suspicion. After all, the guy’s a sheik.
Except he may not be. In October, Al Kehaimi, 39, was put on trial for fraud and theft in Oxford; the closest he comes to royalty, claimed a prosecutor in court, is as “a prince amongst confidence tricksters.” Although he was never accused of stealing from Cher—he was charged with swindling others out of some $520,000 in phony investments and loans—the prosecution livened up the proceedings by showing a video in which he presented the surprised singer with her lavish gift. (Cher had no comment on the trial.) Al Kehaimi, who lived in a mansion near Oxford and flew pals to Paris for tea in a Boeing 707, “liked the company of stars,” says friend Alan Whitehead, a nightclub owner. Last week, Al Kehaimi was acquitted of all charges. But the prosecution maintains that the French chateau wasn’t really Al Kehaimi’s—and Cher never got her Lamborghini: Al Kehaimi reportedly sold it to pay off debts.
Rickles: This Spud’s for You
Still rude after all these years, Don Rickles, 73, isn’t most people’s idea of a children’s entertainer. But his turn as Mr. Potato Head in 1995’s Toy Story (where he memorably called a hockey puck a “hockey puck”) is about , to be reprised in the upcoming Toy Story 2. Scoop caught up with Mr. Warmth in Los Angeles.
How did you get involved with Toy Story?
For some fluky reason somebody mentioned my name to [Toy Story director] John Lasseter. He came down and said, “We’d like to test your voice, Don, for Mr. Potato Head.” I said, “Why me?” He said, “Looking at the character and knowing your humor, we think it’s a perfect fit.”
How does one prepare to be Mr. Potato Head?
First, I find out what the money is. Secondly, I go into a studio and they show me the dialogue and I say, “Okay.” It was not doing what my great friend Robert De Niro would do and find out Mr. Potato Head’s motivation.
How often do people misinterpret your humor or sarcasm?
After almost 40 years of doing this, anybody who comes to see Don Rickles knows pretty much what I do and accepts it and enjoys it. But I got tagged with this word insult, and it’s really not that way. I wouldn’t be a survivor and still be a headliner in Las Vegas and all these different places if I was mean.
Did you ever regret something that came out of your mouth?
You can’t worry. You can’t please everybody, but you’ve pretty much got to go with the majority and what you think is funny. I’m beyond worrying.
What makes you laugh?
Honest things that happen. Not jokes so much. I’m not a big one for jokes. I can’t tell a joke, believe it or not. If you gave me a thousand bucks and said, “Don, get up at a party and tell a joke,” I’m the worst.
ON THE BLOCK
Hey, partner, Bobby Ewing has a little spread he’d like to sell you, out on the Left Coast. Not much room for a really big herd, mind you—though a man could have a couple of good-size golden retrievers—but the four-bedroom home, on 1.5 gated acres in an L.A. suburb, does boast an indoor grotto, gym, billiard parlor and wine room, as well as a guest house and maid’s cottage. During the 21 years he has lived there, actor Patrick Duffy, who played J.R.’s virtuous brother Bobby on Dallas, did much of the hammering and nailing himself. Duffy and his wife, Carlyn, who are asking close to $2 million for the compound, plan to spend more time riding fences at their 600-acre southern Oregon ranch.