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February 03, 1997 12:00 PM

THREE’S A CROWD

“I thought people were exaggerating when they said going from two children to three is like going from three to 20,” says CBS News’s Paula Zahn, 40, whose third child, Austin Bryce, was born on New Year’s Day. “But you know what? They’re right. It’s zone defense!” Zahn and her husband, real estate developer Richard Cohen, have another son, Jared, 3, and a daughter, Haley, 7. “So far we haven’t had any eye poking or any of those horrible sibling-rivalry stories you hear about,” she says, “although Jared can’t quite figure out if Austin’s a human being or a toy” Zahn, formerly on CBS This Morning, has already returned to anchor Saturday’s CBS Evening News. “I feel up to it,” she says. “After nearly seven years on the Morning shift, I’m used to sleep deprivation.” Does she ever dream of inheriting Dan Rather’s job? “I think that’s already spoken for,” she says with a laugh. “But have you heard any Diane Sawyer or Bryant Gumbel rumors lately?”

JOINING THE JET SET

In the thriller Turbulence, Lauren Holly spreads her wings as a flight attendant who ends up taking command of a 747. “We’re transporting a convicted serial killer [Ray Liotta],” says Holly 33, “and all hell breaks loose. Suddenly I’m not passing out peanuts anymore.” Dealing with maniacs can’t be much of a stretch for Holly. After all, she’s married to Jim Carrey. “To be honest, I think that at home I’m way more outlandish than he is,” she says. Together they’ve become one of Hollywood’s power couples, a notion Holly isn’t used to. “We go to parties and see all these famous people,” she says. “I turn to Jim and say ‘I feel like we’re the Beverly Hillbillies.’ ”

SOMETHING FISHY IN DENMARK

After starring in and directing movie versions of William Shakespeare’s Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing and now an epic, four-hour version of Hamlet, Kenneth Branagh says it’s time to take a break from the Bard. “We’ll have to see what the fate of Hamlet is, but in the past, I’ve taken a couple of years between Shakespeare films I directed,” says Branagh, 36. Although he next plans on playing a lawyer in a drama called The Gingerbread Man, from a screenplay written by John Grisham, Branagh’s still hanging with a few of his Hamlet home-boys. “I play guitar with the gang that edited Hamlet,” he says. “We formed this group we call the Fishmongers. I play the three chords I know. We’re the worst purveyors of Beatles songs ever.”

LOVE YA, LIZ

The unsinkable Debbie Reynolds is winning raves as Albert Brooks’s less than supportive mom in Mother, her first major movie role in 25 years and one she nearly turned down. “I have this hotel [her eponymous Las Vegas dinner theater and hotel] into which I put all my money, my pension, my everything, and I’m onstage every night,” says Reynolds, 64. “So how could I do a movie?” But friends including Mickey Rooney, Red Buttons and Phyllis Diller were happy to fill in for her while she went off to make Mother. “Everyone took a week,” she says. “Even Connie Stevens showed up. Thank goodness for ex-wives.” Stevens, you may recall, was once married to singer Eddie Fisher, long after he had ditched Reynolds, his first wife, to wed a certain violet-eyed actress. “If only,” Reynolds adds wickedly “Elizabeth Taylor had an act.”

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