A New Ford Pickup
Indiana Jones lands a starring role in an offscreen adventure
Trapped on a mountain-top, sick to her stomach, dehydrated and too weak to move, Sarah George was heartened by the sound of helicopter blades whirring in the distance. Within moments a Bell 407 chopper landed nearby, bearing medical supplies, a paramedic and a pilot with the steely eyes and strong, chiseled jaw of…Indiana Jones?
“He looked familiar,” says George, 20, a Utah State University nursing student who on July 31 had just completed a grueling five-hour, six-mile climb to the top of Wyoming’s 11, 106-ft.-high Table Mountain with her friend Megan Freeman, 22. But even after the medic clued her in about the identity of the pilot, who arrived after Freeman called 911 with a passing hiker’s cell phone, George was still dubious, thinking, “Why would Harrison Ford be flying a rescue mission?”
Because it’s the civic-minded thing to do, says Teton County Sheriff Bob Zimmer, who confirmed that, yes, that was Ford at the controls with copilot Ken Johnson. Ford, the low-profile owner of a nearby Jackson Hole, Wyo., mountain retreat, had recently volunteered his aviation skills and helicopter for just such emergencies, saving the county the hefty $l,000-per-hour cost of hiring a private pilot. “I think he does it because it makes him feel like a part of the community,” says Zimmer.
Although it was Ford’s first rescue—if you exclude those in a galaxy far, far away—the actor had little to say about the event. He did ask his ailing passenger how she felt, and George replied, “Fine.” But as they neared the end of their 10-minute trip to Teton Valley Hospital, George once again upchucked, ruining the medic’s spare hat. “I can’t believe I barfed in Harrison Ford’s helicopter,” said George after being treated for dehydration and released. Still, she says, there is a definite upside to the entire experience. “Now people don’t remember that I was a big pansy who couldn’t make it down the mountain. They just remember Harrison Ford came and took me down in his helicopter.”
A Little Help from spin City
A tabloid tempest hit Regis Philbin last week when a scandal sheet alleged past hanky-panky with a cheerleading coach (since disputed by competing gossips). So far Reege is lying low. But should he need a lifeline, Scoop asked spin doctors for advice on handling a media crisis.
Alan Rappoport, president of the Media Edge, who has represented Microsoft executives: “If it’s true, you gotta tell the truth. Look at Hugh Grant-the minute you have your moment on Leno and everyone gets a good yuck over it, then suddenly you become human.”
Howard J. Rubenstein, who helped Kathie Lee Gifford get through charges of exploiting child labor: “He’s doing the right thing in ignoring it…. The public expects a celebrity to lead a more racy life.”
Sig Rogich, who represented Mike Tyson after his ear-biting debacle: “Address the issue, tell the truth, make your statement succinct, and don’t regurgitate that statement over and over.”
Eric Dezenhall, author of the crisis management tome Nail ‘Em! (an entire chapter of which is devoted to the aforementioned Kathie Lee): “Don’t fight back unless it’s an absolute fabrication that is hurting your business or marriage.”
Granting Hugh His Due in the Bedroom
Did you know that Elizabeth Hurley and Hugh Grant broke up? Do they? Since publicly ending their romance two months ago, Hurley, 35, and Grant, 39, have continued to share a London residence—though a recent incident may have him looking for new digs fast. Outraged by an interview in September’s issue of Jane that is more revealing than a Versace dress, Hurley has vowed to sue the magazine, which published her quotes as part of their “Extra-Personal Sex Test.” Hurley describes sex with “the same man after 13 years” as “less than adequate.” (She dated Grant for 13 years.) “It’s just not true,” the actress told The Sun, a British tabloid. “I cried when I saw it, and I reassured Hugh, who is upset, that I didn’t say those things. He’s my best friend in the world. The article said Hugh watched sports when we were in bed, but we don’t even have a TV in our bedroom.” But Jane editor Jane Pratt isn’t backing down: “I’m sorry if we’ve upset Hugh and Liz, but we’ve reviewed our tapes and stand by our story 150 percent. Liz was disarmingly candid and did not refuse any questions we put to her.”
Where’s the Beef? Ask Katie
Attention, Democratic National Convention security. Be on the lookout this week for a known meat moocher, last seen holding a ransacked rib eye at the Republican shindig. Good Morning America caught Today show coanchor Katie Couric on tape stealing a cheese steak from its Philadelphia convention set. “It was a morning show felony,” quips GMA executive producer Shelley Ross. Says Today rep Allison Gollust: “Katie and [GMA coanchor] Charles [Gibson] are old friends. She thought she could have a little fun with him—and she got a little hungry.”
Earning Their Wings
Judging from its trailer, the film version of the popular TV crime series Charlie’s Angels (1976-81) won’t exactly be a feminist manifesto when it hits theaters on Nov. 3. Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu and Cameron Diaz are babelicious 21st-century private investigators—spouting dialogue straight out of yesterday. “I’m like a virgin, you know, I mean it’s my first time…here,” purrs Diaz in one scene. Makes one wonder if these Charlie’s Angels are simply recycled Bond girls.
Whoa, Who You Collin’ Ugly?
The drink-slinging chick flick Coyote Ugly has started a veritable brew-haha between the film’s namesake Manhattan saloon and its rowdy crosstown rival Hogs & Heifers, where Julia Roberts, Drew Barrymore and others have danced the night away. “Anyone who’s ever walked into this place knows that’s my bar up on the screen,” snaps H&H owner Michelle Dell, citing nightly rituals such as “women dancing on the bar, women in leather halters, the megaphone, spraying water on the customers …” Counters Coyote’s manager Jacqui Squatriglia: “To say the movie isn’t about Coyote Ugly is nuts.” So who’s right? “There’s such a trend in these western-themed bars now,” says a film spokeswoman. “To say they’re the only one like [the movie bar] is like an Irish pub claiming it’s the only one in New York.”
Here’s a Survivor with Bite
This just in: Survivor castaway Kelly Wiglesworth, last reported wanted in North Carolina for using a stolen credit card, was also involved in a 1997 domestic violence case in Las Vegas, allegedly biting a companion on the nose after he lost the house keys. CBS spokesman Chris Ender told USA Today that Survivor was aware of the arrest, but “during her time on the island, she never bit anyone—not even a rat.”
ON THE BLOCK
At one time Amy Grant’s “House of Love” might have referred to the Nashville-area farm she shared with husband Gary Chapman. The couple split last year, however, with Grant eventually marrying her “House” duet partner, Vince Gill. So now Chapman is selling 190 acres of the 210-acre estate for $10.5 million, including a 7,500-sq.-ft. home with five bedrooms, a 10-stall horse stable, pool, helicopter hangar and airstrip. There’s also a recording studio where actor Mel Gibson once sang. Meanwhile, Chapman hopes to build a new home for his new bride, animal trainer Jennifer Pittman.