March 18, 2002 12:00 PM

Surgically Removed

At 46, Debra Winger may not be competing for the same roles as the Julia Robertses and Renée Zellwegers of the world, but that’s fine with her. “My shelf life on ‘perky’ has been over for a long time,” says Winger, who stars in the drama Big Bad Love, written and directed by her husband, Arliss Howard, 47. “Yes, I have a few wrinkles on my face, but I feel good, and I’m not obsessive about aging.” Even though her peers are running to their surgeons for wrinkle repair, that is not how Winger, who lives in L.A. with Howard and sons Emmanuel Noah, 14, and Babe, 4, wants to spend her vacation. “I don’t begrudge anyone who has plastic surgery. I just can’t imagine it for myself right now. I can’t see cutting my face. Ouch! Plus, I couldn’t face one of those actress-plastic-surgery camps. What do you do all day? Change your bandages and sing songs?” Winger doesn’t worry about catching a glimpse of her younger self onscreen either. “I don’t watch my old movies. I really can’t do it,” she says. “Of course, I do sometimes catch Legal Eagles on cable and scream, ‘What was I thinking?'”

Saturday Night Fright

Ian McKellen has mastered Shakespeare, Broadway and, most recently, the box office, thanks to Lord of the Rings. But the 62-year-old British thespian treads new ground when he hosts Saturday Night Live on March 16. To prep for the gig, McKellen visited the set when Britney Spears hosted last month, but watching the pop princess get jiggy with Chris Kattan didn’t do much to temper his trepidation. “I thought, ‘Better her than me,'” he says. “Then I thought, ‘Oh, my God. That will be me!'” Should he get the jitters before facing the live audience, the Oscar nominee can rely on an old-fashioned remedy to soothe his nerves. “I peep through the curtains,” says McKellen. “It reminds me of why I’m there: for the real people who have made arrangements—traveled, gotten a ticket, gotten a babysitter.” Unfortunately, he may not be able to depend on his own comic tastes to tickle the SNL audience. Says McKellen: “Today I laughed out loud at the Enron hearings.”

Face Forward

There are perks aplenty to having your own TV series—limos, money, fans. But the privileges pale when you’re a 16-year-old who has to share your zits with the world. “Yes, I break out,” says Malcolm in the Middle‘s Frankie Muniz. “It’s actually sort of bad now. I don’t want to leave my house without makeup. I wear a lot of makeup. I wear so much it makes my face work.” Maybe it works a little too well for the baby-faced actor, who gets some pretty odd requests from adoring fans. “A lot of teenybopper girls my age are interested in me,” says Muniz, also starring in the big-screen hit Big Fat Liar. “I get mail begging for a lock of my hair, and that’s pretty gross. I’m like, ‘Hey, I’m not cutting it off.’ I don’t want these girls selling it on eBay.”

Putting on the Dogs

The Practice‘s Camryn Manheim recently learned that nothing, not even a birthday bash for a 1-year-old, can be done on a small scale in L.A. “I really wanted a small party,” says Manheim, 41, who is celebrating her son Milo’s first birthday this month. “But this is the funny thing about small birthday parties—I invited 12 children, but I forgot that half of the kids have brothers and sisters that you have to invite. So 12 turned into 20, which turned into 40 adults. It’s ridiculous.” The single actress, who also stars in HBO’s The Laramie Project, did ponder an alternative course of action, albeit briefly. “I wouldn’t have a party if I could put a hat on Milo and take a good picture,” says Manheim with a laugh. “But you can’t do that. Having bubbles just doesn’t thrill him anymore. I’ve actually got to entertain him. So I’m having a dozen itty-bitty puppies brought over to run around and play with the kids. It’s all about the photo opportunities.”

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