June 10, 2002 12:00 PM

The Grandfather Clause

Unlike the irascible retiree he plays on the CBS comedy The King of Queens, Jerry Stiller, 75, revels in his golden years, especially since the arrival of his first grandchild. “I’ve become so interested in babies again that I need to have another child of my own,” says Stiller, currently doting on Ella Olivia, born in April to his son, comic actor Ben Stiller, and daughter-in-law Christine Taylor (Zoolander). There is a downside to their 75-year age gap, however. “I was holding her recently, singing a lullaby, and I fell asleep along with her,” says Stiller, adding that the family business may cause complications. “I worry that if I start telling her jokes, she is liable to say to me, I already heard that one from Daddy.'”

Adam’s Rib

Adam Sandler has made a fortune playing a series of bumbling buffoons, but in Punch-Drunk Love, an idiosyncratic love story from director Paul Thomas Anderson (Magnolia), he turns up as a beleaguered small businessman embarking on a romantic journey. “I guess this is a new chapter in my career, if you want to call it a career,” says Sandler, 35, whose comedic roots run deep. “I always consider myself Martin and Lewis with a little bit of the Three Stooges.” It was Sandler’s light touch that prompted Anderson to cast the SNL alum in the role. “He walks very funny and his head is kinda funny and his ears are a little funny,” says the director. “I haven’t seen him naked, but that might be funny.” To which the newly serious Sandler replies, “To be honest, naked is not so bad.”

My Fair Lady

Reese Witherspoon gladly ditched her designer duds for crinoline and lace to play a 19th-century Englishwoman in The Importance of Being Earnest. Mastering a British accent, however, gave the Tennessee-reared actress pause. “I spent six weeks—three hours a day, every day—working on it with this dialect coach,” says Witherspoon, 26. “She would say, ‘You’re not doing it right!’ And I would be in tears. She made me order people around in a proper English accent.” But talking to the hoi polloi turned out to be the fun part. “It was completely mortifying to do it in front of Judi Dench,” says Witherspoon. “My accent fell to a whisper around her because she was so intimidating.”

The Single Guy

John Corbett, who fell in love with sexy scribe Carrie Bradshaw on Sex and the City, finds love in the romantic comedy My Big Fat Greek Wedding. But in real life, are most guys holding out for a Cameron Diaz lookalike? “Hey, I met her once, and she’s a really nice girl,” says the single Corbett, 41. “She just happens to be one of the most beautiful girls on the planet, and that’s hard to compete with. There is only one Cameron Diaz out there.” Corbett can’t find a girl who wants to settle down. “My own life [is] like that scene I did at the water fountain with Carrie, She says, ‘Can’t we keep things the way they are?’ I say, ‘I’ve had girlfriends for 20 years. I want a wife.’ I want that too,” he says. “I don’t want to date anymore. I’ll date my wife.”

Card Shark

In Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Ashley Judd plays a Louisiana belle who bonds tightly with her girlfriends. It’s not much of a stretch for the busy actress, who’s been a card-carrying member of the sisterhood for years. “I had the best time picking out a birthday card for her,” says Judd, 34, whose equally famous sib, country singer Wynonna, turned 38 on May 30. “She’d rather get the card than the gift. If you lick the envelope closed less than 48 hours before her birthday, then she’s somehow offended. It must have proper forethought. She really reads every line, and yes, she likes the sappy ones.”

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