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The Insider

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Bells went off at the Motion Picture Association of America when the people there who ponder such matters got their first look at a trailer for the romantic comedy As Good as It Gets, and there was Jack Nicholson uttering the word “fag.” In the movie, which opens in December, Nicholson plays a homophobic New Yorker who lives in the same building as a gay artist, played by Greg Kinnear. In the trailer submitted by the film’s distributor, TriStar Pictures, Nicholson introduces a waitress friend (Helen Hunt) to Kinnear with the words “Carol, the waitress. Simon, the fag.” The MPAA, fearing “fag” would be perceived as hostile, consulted the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation to see whether GLAAD took umbrage. It didn’t. GLAAD’s media rep Chastity Bono felt the word was inoffensive in the context of the movie, since the Nicholson character overcomes his homophobia. So the MPAA approved the trailer, which began running in theaters last week….

Since I’ve been right there reporting the bad times in Whitney Houston’s marriage to Bobby Brown, I should probably report the good times as well. And things between these two must be going pretty well lately, because for the first time since their marriage in 1992, Houston was identified as Whitney Houston-Brown in the credits following her live HBO concert on Oct. 5, a show in Washington that included appearances by her brother, mother, daughter, stepchildren and Brown. Just last month, Houston changed the name of her production company from Whitney Houston Productions to BrownHouse Productions. Houston’s rep Lois Smith says the name change is being done only for behind-the-scenes business matters. The performer and recording artist will continue to appear as Whitney Houston….

Elizabeth Taylor’s hair colorist may be out of a job. After Taylor underwent brain surgery for a benign tumor in February, she was told by doctors not to dye her hair while there were scars on her scalp. She didn’t, and now that the scars have healed, the actress has grown so comfortable with her white hairdo that she plans to stick with the natural look. Unless, of course, the right movie comes along. Although Taylor has no immediate film plans, she has been “inundated with scripts,” according to her publicist, who says the 65-year-old icon would dye her hair again “if a role called for it.”…

Coming soon to a videogame outlet near you: NFL Quarterback Club ’98, a Nintendo game narrated by disgraced sportscaster Marv Albert, who pleaded guilty in September to misdemeanor assault and battery of a woman in Virginia after his offbeat sex life became public. Albert “had assured us he was innocent” (as he had his employers at NBC), says a rep for Acclaim Entertainment, licensee of the video, who adds that “the game was already in production” when the sportscaster copped a plea. The rep says the company has discussed bringing in another narrator for a future production run, “but nothing is decided yet.”