March 17, 1997 12:00 PM

Save the fund-raising telethons for those who really need it, wrote correspondents in response to our cover story on celebrity bankruptcies (PEOPLE, Feb. 24). There was little sympathy for famous folk who, one reader sneered, “could not manage millions while most families have to manage pennies.” Also, the death from an aortic aneurysm of Rent playwright Jonathan Larson had readers questioning health-care practices of hospitals nationwide.


I was so very brokenhearted reading about the poverty-stricken stars. As I reached for a tissue, the depth of their financial ruin leaves me with one gut-wrenching question: “Why, dear God, why?” Now I know why. Because celebrity does not grant one integrity, class, common sense or gratitude for one’s good fortune. I cannot help but think it is not just these spoiled morons that are bankrupt, it is society as a whole. We have children starving in the streets; we cannot pay our truly valuable people like teachers, police officers and nurses a living wage, and our schools are using 20-year-old books. But we can pay bloated stars like Stallone, Carrey, Cruise and Demi Moore $10 million to $20 million per film. Aren’t we just a tad out of whack?

JACKI LIVINGSTON, Costa Mesa, Calif.

Oh, no! What a tragedy! Kim Basinger had to sell her town? I just hate it when I have to sell my town!

MARSHA QUANDT, Oxford, Miss.

Sympathy for these celebrities? Here in the real world I take out loan after loan so I can go to law school and finish the education I so desperately want. Hmmm—now that I think of it, maybe I’ll become a bankruptcy attorney.

CHRISTINE A. BALDO, via e-mail

It must have been a very slow news week. I fail to understand why Burt Reynolds, Loni Anderson and others’ financial situations should interest me in the slightest. Come on, PEOPLE, you can do better than this!


Your story on the financial shenanigans of Burt, Loni and company implies that U.S. bankruptcy laws should be tightened to prevent a privileged few from fleecing the system. This is, at first glance, reasonable. But in my law offices I see people with frayed clothes and eyes filled with fear tell stories of creditors threatening to take away possessions and homes and even the family pet. Bankruptcy laws were created to protect citizens and businesses in financial crisis and to offer a fresh start—not to support the outlandish lifestyles of the once rich and famous.

JAMES J. KANE, Allentown, Pa.


I grieve every day for the loss of Jonathan Larson. I know him only from that wonderful piece of musical theater that he left us, from photos of his warm, lively face and articles about what a great friend, son and brother he was. As a parent my heart goes out to his family for not only having to live with this terrible loss, but also with the knowledge that Jonathan might be alive to enjoy his success today if the hospitals from which he sought help had done their jobs.

BARBARA NELSON, Lafayette, Calif.

Good for the family of Jonathan Larson for pursuing explanations from the health-care system that failed their son. One has to wonder whether the health-care system is in the business of saving lives or money. TRICIA MARRAPODI, Tucson


I want to extend a heartfelt thank-you to Colin Rizzio. I am one of the 45,000 students who had their SAT score raised because of his heads-up thinking in spotting the incorrect math problem on the test. I was lucky. I’m sure errors of this kind have gone unnoticed in the past, thus lowering scores unnecessarily. It wouldn’t be so horrible if so much emphasis wasn’t placed on standardized testing. People should be admitted to a college based on their overall work and personality, not on 3½ hours of frantic guesswork.

DANA WOPSCHALL La Canada-Flintridge, Calif.


Do you have any idea how many hearts you broke with your article on Sandra Bullock and Matthew McConaughey? It was so easy to believe they were “just friends” until faced with the damning evidence—pictures, places, parents and dates! What is a girl to do?



According to [sitcom-architect enthusiast] Mark Bennett’s blueprint, it would be difficult to be a guest at the Cleavers’ house. The only way to a bathroom is through either Ward and June’s room or Wally and Beaver’s. Of course, they could go downstairs.


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