March 13, 2000 12:00 PM

Ben Affleck
When I saw Ben on the cover of my new PEOPLE, I almost fainted right there at the mailbox. Thanks for the palpitations!

Stephanie Hanlin, Byron, Ill.

My girlfriend never stops raving about Ben Affleck. Outside of good looks, talent, charm, wealth and fame, please tell me what else this guy has?

Donald Tetro, Weston, Fla.

With all they have going for them, what a disappointment to read that Ben Affleck and Gwyneth Paltrow smoke.

Kerry Zickert, Clarendon Hills, Ill.

Your cover on Ben Affleck was way too early—the Sexiest Man Alive issue comes out later in the year!

Raquel Kelley, Auburn, Maine

Doug Henning

When I think of Doug Henning, two words come to mind: awe and wonder. The excitement and intimacy he created in a live performance is beyond description. I will never forget Henning in a curtained box suspended at least 20 feet off the stage being replaced by a tiger (which you could smell before you could see). To create such illusions takes a very special person. Doug Henning was a very special person and a very special performer.

Barbara Goldman, San Luis Obispo, Calif.

First Ladies

I was disappointed to see that in your article about First Lady hopefuls, no mention was made of Alan Keyes’s wife. After seeing the debate in South Carolina, I think you should have included her on your wannabe list. Mr. Keyes showed more intelligence, grace and foresight than the other two. So far, he has my vote!

Karen Widero, Red Bank, N.J.

Matthew Modine

I want to give you guys a big hand for doing a story about a responsible man who just happens to be a movie star. I have been a fan of Matthew Modine for a long time, and I am indeed impressed by how much of a devoted family man he is. We see all of the older Hollywood men divorce their wives after 20, even 30 years of marriage. If there were to be marriage classes for male movie stars, I think Matthew Modine should be one of the teachers. Hey, Michael Douglas and Kevin Costner, wanna sign up?

Amy Neuls, Hagerstown, Md.

Allyce Beasley

I was a fan of Allyce Beasley, the actress from Moonlighting. But now I am a fan and admirer of Allyce Beasley, the person. Holy smoke! She has gone through surgery to remove part of her breast and lymph nodes, a stem-cell transplant, chemo and the pain of lymphedema while going to auditions and raising her son. And all the while she has managed to keep that beautiful smile on her face. She has more guts than any person I know. Where I used to work, when someone did a good deed or job or showed bravery under the worst odds, they received a verbal “Atta boy” from the bosses. Well, to you, Allyce, “Atta girl!”

Judy Bonello, Adrian, Mich.

Derrick Thomas

Shame on you, PEOPLE. The tragic and sudden death of all-pro linebacker and Kansas City Chief Derrick Thomas deserved more than a blurb in your Passages section. Derrick was a beloved member of the Kansas City community, a great humanitarian and a hell of a football player. His love and support for our country’s veterans was enormous, and his Third and Long Foundation tackled illiteracy. Let’s not forget he was one of President Bush’s “Thousand Points of Light.” I know there will be a huge article in Sports Illustrated, but Derrick wasn’t just a sports figure and athlete, he was one of our country’s incredible people.

Jenny Shamblin, Kansas City, Mo.

Richard Gere and Carey Lowell

Let me get this straight. Richard Gere’s four-year marriage to Cindy Crawford ends because she wants kids and he doesn’t. Then he shacks up with Carey Lowell and gives her the baby he denied his wife. If these are the teachings of the Dalai Lama, I’m not impressed.

Laura Niequist, Algonquin, Ill.


The dogs Kathryn Gannon is holding were identified as shih tzus. They are Maltese.

Marilynn Faherty, Huntingtown, Md.

The American Kennel Club confirms that you are correct. We regret the error.—ED.


Nicolas Cage’s adolescent outburst on the set of his latest movie, Family Man (telling an assistant director, “Get out of my sight, dammit!”), was terrible. I think it’s ridiculous that verbal abuse is tolerated from anyone in a professional situation. If he is truly “an actor of tremendous focus and concentration” as the producer suggests, then he would never have noticed the assistant director standing there in the first place. It’s just a feeble justification for unmanly behavior. You’re not that important, Nic.

D.F. Hutson, Westchester, N.Y.

Lucky for Julianna Marguiles that she can turn her back on $27 million and go with her heart. Has anyone poor ever been quoted as saying that “money doesn’t buy happiness”? After too many years of not knowing how the bills will get paid, the freedom and security that money can bring sound like happiness to me. Anyone with too much money who thinks that less would make her happy can send all her excess funds to me and make us both happy!

Linda Arent, Florissant, Mo.

Lisa Marie Presley

Am I the only one who has noticed that Lisa Marie Presley has a lot of freedom to jet all over the world with these musicians and without her kids? Where are they? I’m a mom with two kids about the same age, and I can barely go to the grocery store alone. Maybe if Lisa Marie stayed home and made some family bonds, this wouldn’t be husband No. 3.

Kathy Dame, Wichita, Kans.

Joerg Haider

While reading the story on Austrian right-winger Joerg Haider, one quote in particular caught my eye. Haider’s boyhood friend described him as a man who “knows what the people want to hear, and he says it to them, without scruples.” That is exactly what people said about how Hitler rose to power—by telling the people exactly what they wanted to hear—and look what happened there. We all need to keep a very watchful eye on Joerg Haider.

Jennifer Kizer, Fort Worth


I bet Beth Gladney of Toronto doesn’t realize that postpartum depression happens to women whether they stay at home with their children or go back to work. It has happened to me with all four of my children, and I did not have to go back to work with three of them. I am glad that Marie Osmond has discussed her depression openly. We sometimes forget that celebrities are real people with real problems. Marie doesn’t need Beth Gladney’s sympathy. She has my admiration and compassion.

Lois Doughty, Grand Rapids

I get so sick of women complaining about the outfits some stars choose to wear today. So what if Britney Spears, Mariah Carey and such wear “unclassy” clothes once in a while. We are talking about adults and their outfits worn to adult functions, not guest appearances on Sesame Street.

Alicea M. Bahl, Tallahassee, Fla.

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