People Staff
June 18, 2001 12:00 PM

Reality Check

After the rat, Survivors bring on the lawyers


Sure, she ate live squiggly yellow larvae, but something else left a bad taste in Survivor contestant Stacey Still-man’s mouth. Suspecting the show’s producer Mark Burnett of coercing her co-contestants in last summer’s debut edition into voting her out early, Stillman, 28, filed a lawsuit against Burnett and CBS in February (Burnett’s company countersued), stating that “the Survivor contest was unfairly and fraudulently prearranged….” Now another tribe member has raised some doubts. Dirk Been, the 25-year-old former teacher, claims in court papers that when it came time for his Tagi team to vote off Survivor’s third victim, Burnett told him “the best thing would be to…vote Stacey off because Rudy is the guy you will need in the future.” Though Been cites contestant Rudy Boesch’s Navy SEAL skills as Burnett’s reason to keep the cantankerous 73-year-old around, Stillman suspects it had to do with Boesch’s appeal to CBS’s older viewers. Contestant Sean Kenniff says that Burnett merely advised him and Been to “vote your conscience.” Boesch himself thinks the suit’s hog-wash, saying, “If she’s trying to say this thing was rigged, she’s crazy.” Although Burnett has previously admitted to reshooting scenes in the second Survivor to get better camera angles, “the outcome is real,” says CBS spokesman Chris Ender.

With both sides set to meet July 13—just as Survivor III begins taping in Kenya—Stillman has no plans to back down. “Stacey feels that not only was she betrayed,” says her attorney Don Yates, “but that everyone in America was betrayed.”

Cruise Controls Rumors Again

It’s doubtful he needs the money, but for the second time in two months Tom Cruise has filed a $100 million lawsuit against someone suggesting that he’s gay. This time it’s Michael Davis, who publishes Bold, a Los Angeles magazine. Cruise claims Davis wrote a dozen news outlets saying he’d found a videotape capturing the star having sex with another man. Not so, says Davis. “We only alerted certain media that there is potentially a tape and we’re investigating it.” Following a report by the French magazine Actustar that Cruise had a fling with a gay male porn star (Cruise is suing the actor while still deciding whether to sue the magazine), Cruise is on a mission. “He’s going to keep going after people who do this,” says his attorney Bert Fields. “There is no film. It’s total garbage.”

Living Very Large

Renée Zellweger did it the old-fashioned way for Bridget Jones‘s Diary, but most actors looking to pack on some pounds are passing up the doughnuts and hot dogs in exchange for industrial-strength makeup and a “fat suit.” For this fall’s Shallow Hal, Gwyneth Paltrow endured three hours of prep work daily to play a 300-lb. woman. Martin Short wears a polyfiber Velcro-fastened suit on his upcoming Comedy Central show Primetime Glick. Julia Roberts will likewise “gain” 60 or so pounds next month in America’s Sweethearts. But it’s the more cartoonish characters—like Eddie Murphy’s Nutty Professor—who have fat-rights advocates like Marilyn Wann peeved. “Portraying us as gluttonous, lazy, sloppy, weird alien creatures for purposes of humor,” she says, “I think it’s really belittling.”

Trebek’s Tape Tale

Game show host Alex Trebek found himself in jeopardy when Marlene Andrade, then a United Airlines employee, sued him for battery, claiming he freaked when she wouldn’t let him put his carry-on luggage through the Los Angeles Airport metal detector in May 2000. Air rage for $200, Alex? Not on your life, says Trebek, 60, whose lawyer secured an airport surveillance camera tape showing Trebek acting calmly. The suit, for unspecified damages, was just dropped. Says Trebek: “I’m keenly aware of the fact that when you are in the public eye, you have to watch yourself.”

But Ebert Is Real, Right?

Really clever scheming might be missing from most Hollywood scripts, but it’s thriving in one studio’s advertising department. Meet David Manning, film critic for Connecticut’s The Ridgefield Press—until the June 11 issue of Newsweek revealed that an unidentified employee at Sony Pictures had created him out of thin air to plug films like The Animal (“Another Winner!”) for the past year. Folks at the real Ridgefield Press were amused, while the fate of Manning’s Dr. Frankenstein was still uncertain at press time.

Sopranos, Italian Style

A show of respect greeted The Sopranos when the Mob series debuted last month on Italian television. A May 22 preview attracted one of every four households watching the tube that night. Which is not bad, says Andrea Quinzi of Italy’s Canale 5, considering that most Italians view the show’s characters as strictly American. And no complaints yet about the series’ violent characters. “I can see why Italian-Americans might be tired of being represented like that,” says Quinzi. “But here we understand it is a show, like a show about the NYPD.” One minor problem: Mobspeak. “Some of the dialect has no meaning to us,” says Quinzi. “For example, ‘goombah’ does not exist in the Italian language.”

Wearin’ of the Peach

In Ireland, the land is green, the beer is brown, and castles—well, what’s wrong with dreary gray? Three years ago, Jeremy Irons bought the 650-year-old Kilcoe Castle in County Cork for about $184,860. He has since painted the stone castle a cheery shade of peach, officially called copperas. “More appropriate in the Mexican desert,” opines one neighbor. But maybe not. “In older days they used ox blood mixed with lime mortar as a waterproofer. Historically that was the color the castle was,” says Simon Hassett, a craft and design guild member who worked on the castle. Irons urged patience, telling The Irish Times, “Just as my mother’s new hairdo always looked better the day after it was done, so the castle will look better tomorrow.”

Witt Wants ‘Diary’ Iced

Another reason to look a gift horse in the mouth: During the 1980s, Olympic gold medal (’84 and ’88) skater Katarina Witt received an apartment in her hometown of Chemitz from the East German secret police. Unbeknownst to her, they bugged the place—and kept notes. Today Witt, 35, is trying to prevent the release of those accounts to researchers. “Much of the material is as intimate as diaries,” she says.

Backstreet Buoyed

Left high and dry: Backstreet Boy Nick Carter, 21, whose $500,000, 45-ft. Sea Ray cruiser ran aground in the shallow waters off Marathon, Fla., May 29 (it remained stuck there until June 3), running off course into a sea grass bed, near fish habitats and other marine life in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Carter, who was not available for comment, faces civil fines for each square yard of sea turf authorities determine that he damaged.


with Daryl Hannah

When the British tabloid The Mirror reported last October that Daryl Hannah had abandoned rehearsals for her London theater debut (in a revival of The Seven Year Itch) to attend a birthday party for her dog back in the States, Hannah, 40, bit back. On May 22 the Splash star—who was in fact attending a film festival with the blessing of her London producers—won a libel suit against the newspaper. The actress spoke with Scoop about the perils of the press.

Why did you choose to fight?

It just looks like I’m completely unprofessional, and it also might have kept people from hiring or insurers from insuring me That’s not cool.

Do you even have a dog?

I have four dogs, and they’re all strays. I don’t know any their birthdays.

What did you get?

Loads of money and an apology. I’ll give it to all my dogs for their birthdays.

Let’s get back to working in the London theater. Is it true you used hypnosis to get over stage fright?

No, that really wasn’t the case. I definitely was terrified and had stage fright, but that’s one of the reasons why I also wanted to do [the show]. I wanted to combat that fear and confront it.

How did you get over the fright?

Just by doing it. By putting yourself in the line of fire and going for it.

How was opening night?

It was pretty horrible, because right before we opened my horse passed away. He was like a pet, like my big dog. I rescued him seven years ago when he had a broken hip.

You’re appearing in Jack and the Beanstalk on CBS next season and currently filming In God We Trust with Val Kilmer and Christian Slater. After that, Broadway?

I don’t know if I’ll have another opportunity to do more theater.

If not the stage, are there any other careers in your future?

I just finished editing a documentary, and I had such an amazing time making it. It was so creatively

satisfying on every level.

“The English papers tend to make everything into such drama,” says Hannah.



No direction home? Like a complete unknown? Like a rolling stone? Then you may be interested in Bob Dylan’s early childhood residence in Duluth, Minn, (he moved to Hibbing, Minn., when he was 6), currently for sale through eBay. The 1,800-sq.-ft, two-family house, now owned by a Maryland woman, overlooks Lake Superior and has an attic and a basement “ripe for development,” according to the Web site. Bidding, which began at $85,000, ends June 23. “This is a must for the ultimate die-hard Dylan fan,” the Web site raves, “or someone wanting to experience the serenity of northern Minnesota, where life still seems simple.”

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