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The Insider

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You may have heard by now that director Renny Harlin fathered a baby boy with another woman reportedly during an “unofficial separation” from his wife, Geena Davis. Well, a source tells me there was never an unofficial separation and that Harlin and Davis lived together until they officially announced their separation, described as amicable, in April. The other woman in question, Tiffany Bowne, was initially Davis’s assistant on her 1994 romantic comedy Speechless and later became Harlin’s assistant on the 1996 action thriller The Long Kiss Goodnight. It is my understanding that Davis didn’t find out that her husband was having an affair until Harlin and Bowne’s son was born this past August, at which point the actress immediately filed for divorce. Harlin’s rep tells me that if I believe my source’s version of events, she has “a swamp” she wants to sell me. Well, since I believe my source, I guess I’ll have to buy it….

What’s in a name? Plenty, if you’re Russian skater Oksana Grishuk, a 1994 Olympic gold medalist for ice dancing, and three years later you’re still being mistaken for Ukraine’s Oksana Baiul, who won the gold medal that same year in women’s figure skating. “People have been confusing me with her since the Olympics,” says Grishuk, a brunette in ’94, who didn’t help her cause any by dying her hair a Baiul-like blonde earlier this year. “People asked, ‘Why are you copying Oksana?’ But I wasn’t,” says Grishuk, who insists she was inspired by Sharon Stone (“I’m a big fan”) and hopes that her lighter look will help her break into acting. “I thought it would change my image,” says Grishuk. But she didn’t stop there. Sick and tired of being mistaken for Baiul, Grishuk did something that will distance her from Baiul once and for all: She changed her first name to Pasha….

The Disneyfication of New York City’s Times Square continues. An antifur billboard featuring Pamela Lee, sponsored by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, will be unveiled this week in Times Square, as well as in London, Paris and Berlin. Lee was to have been seen similarly in all four cities—naked from the waist up, with her back to the camera, but with a bit of one breast showing. That was just fine for London, Paris and Berlin. But in a letter to PETA, Outdoor Systems Advertising in Manhattan insisted that Lee’s breast be covered because “Times Square isn’t the place it used to be,” an obvious reference to the touristy makeover of the once-sleazy area, spearheaded by Disney and other corporations. PETA, of course, was quick to comply….

When NBC recently announced that production on Merlin, a four-hour mini-series for the May sweeps, would commence on Oct. 27 in Wales, one name conspicuously absent from the cast—which stars Sam Neill as Merlin and includes Helena Bonham Carter, Isabella Rossellini and Martin Short—was Henry Thomas. The former child star of E.T., now 26, was to have played young King Arthur. But a British customs official zapped that plan: When Thomas arrived at London’s Heathrow Airport last month, much to the actor’s surprise, he was informed that his official working papers were not in order, apparently the result of an administrative snafu back home. Thomas was denied entrance to the country. His rep calls the incident an “unfortunate misunderstanding,” adding that her client “did not do anything illegal.” Be that as it may, Thomas was dropped from the Merlin cast and subsequently replaced by actor Paul Curran.