July 20, 1998 12:00 PM

Running for Cover

Is Madonna‘s new video a Di-version, or just a day in the life of a pop star?

Focus

Madonna expends so much energy on trying to be controversial it’s hard to believe she could raise a ruckus accidentally. But that’s what happened after rumors began last week that she was comparing herself to the late Princess Diana in her upcoming video, “(Drowned World) Substitute for Love.” The video shows Madonna, who turns 40 next month, stalked by paparazzi who chase her car through the streets of London à la Diana. “Madonna lives a parallel life to Diana’s with paparazzi,” explained Johanna Farrell, a spokeswoman for Madonna. “[The video] has nothing to do with Princess Diana and her life or her death.” Reports that the video showed Madonna watching Diana’s funeral proved false, suggesting that even the Material Girl isn’t that tacky. But not everyone’s convinced. “The similarities [to Diana’s death] are undeniable,” says Mirror newspaper columnist Matthew Wright. “I think it’s disgusting.”

The Game of the Name

What ever happened to baby Jane—or John, or James? Showbiz is awash in stagy names: Christie Brinkley’s new daughter Sailor Lee Brinkley Cook (born July 2), Sylvester Stallone’s new baby girl Sistine Rose (June 27) and actor-director Forest Whitaker’s daughter True (July 2). “We love the sea and all its romance,” Brinkley explains. But Stallone’s mother, Jacqueline, scoffs that her son simply swoons over the initials S.S., which he lent all of his kids. “I don’t think he’s ever been to the Sistine Chapel,” she says. Bruce Lansky, author of The Baby Name Survey Book, says celebs are acting like babies looking for attention. “If you’re a celebrity,” Lansky notes, “you believe you’re above the day-to-day stuff, but your kid will be teased unmercifully for having a stupid name.” Trends include boys’ names for girls (Diane Keaton’s adopted daughter Dexter, 2; Garth Brooks’s daughter August, 4), rock and roll inspiration (Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee’s son Dylan Jagger, 7 months; Sean Penn and Robin Wright Penn’s daughter Dylan, 7) and a To Kill a Mockingbird fan club (Daniel Baldwin’s son Atticus, 2; Demi Moore and Bruce Willis‘s daughter Scout, who turns 7 on July 20). Author Pamela R. Satran (Beyond Jennifer & Jason) says the fad is coming to Main Street. “Celebrities are leading the way. That inspires us mortals to follow suit.”

SUMMER READINIG

Who: Alicia Witt

What: Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder When: Between shooting scenes for movie Urban Legend filming in Toronto

Why: “It’s fascinating because it’s an overview of philosophical thought—from the ancient Greeks to more modem philosophers like Freud and Sartre and everyone in between. I liked it because it made me think about a lot of things.”

Heavenly Creatures

Heaven must be missing an angel or two, because so many have moved to Hollywood. In the last two years such heaven-sent films as Michael, City of Angels, The Butcher Boy and A Life Less Ordinary have featured visitors from paradise. Former Laverne & Shirley star Penny Marshall, who has just agreed to play an archangel in the upcoming film The Calling (and directed the 1996 angel feature The Preacher’s Wife), is the latest performer to wing it. But following the lead of John Travolta’s lusty, winged slob in 1996’s Michael, today’s cinematic celestials spend more time swearin, swoonin’, shootin’ and schmoozin’ than playing the harp. Among the free spirits currently flying high in Hollywood:

Sinéad O’Connor

The Butcher Boy (1998)

Plays the Virgin Mary (although addressed as “Missus”), who floats around in the imagination of a 12-year-old psychopath, sings, gives advice, and curses in an Irish brogue

Nicolas Cage

City of Angels (1998)

Plays Seth, an angel whose primary duty seems to be picking up dead souls from hospitals; also likes to hang out in public libraries and on freeway signs. Invisible and hears people’s thoughts

Holly Hunter and Delroy Lindo

A Life Less Ordinary (1997)

Play O’Reilly and Jackson, U.S. marshal-like angel cops in danger of getting downsized out of heaven unless they can make a kidnapper and his victim fall in love

Alanis Morissette

Dogma (coming soon)

Plays the voice of God in a film that stars Matt Damon and Ben Affleck as angels; Affleck told Mr. Showbiz the film is about a female descendant of Christ working at an abortion clinic

HOT PROPERTY

KRAMER MOVES ON

Giddyap! Having abandoned the white socks and Hawaiian shirts of his alter ego, actor Michael Richards—Kramer from Seinfeld—has sold the three-bedroom, ranch-style Los Angeles home he has lived in for the past six years. Listed at $799,000, the house was built in 1953, but Richards did extensive remodeling—adding a master bath with an Egyptian motif, automatic window-shutters throughout and speakers around the pool, gazebo and barbeque. (What, no garbage disposal in the shower? No Merv Griffin Show set?) As if that weren’t enough, Realtor Linda Tow says the abode also comes with two wood-burning fireplaces, a screening room and 2½ baths. Oh yeah.

Stepping Up to the Plate: Who’s Tip-Top?

There’s the ex-action hero who’s known for tipping less-than-heroic amounts and the lively morning-TV talk show hostess who has been known to stiff the staff at lunch. But Scoop’s survey of celebrity tippers—many no doubt familiar with bussing tables—finds that some big stars really are big spenders:

Customer: Charlie Sheen

Where: One Pico, Santa Monica

Tip: 100 percent

Comment: Arriving in his pajamas after a late flight from Vancouver recently, Sheen rang up a $6,000 tab with seven buddies—but for-got his wallet. The next day he sent over a check—for $12,000.

Customer: Tom Hanks

Where: The Muffins Cafe, New York City

Tip: 363 percent

Comment: While filming You’ve Got Mail with Meg Ryan on Manhattan’s Upper West Side this spring, Hanks stopped in for a tall latte with skim milk and left a $10 tip on top of the $2.75 Java.

Customer: Rosie O’Donnell
Where: The Fashion Cafe, New York City

Tip: 100 percent

Comment: After lunch, left double the tab. “She was so cool,” said the waiter. “I couldn’t believe how nice she was.”

Customer: Bill Murray

Where: Bogey’s Grille and Tap Room, Westport, Conn.

Tip: 100 percent

Comment: Murray came in last December with three giggly kids ordered a steak sandwich and burgers, and left double the tab. “He seemed to be having a lot of fun,” a waiter said. “It was really sweet to see.”

Customer: Meryl Streep

Where: Chaiwalla in Salisbury, Conn.

Tip: Over 100 percent

Comment: After having a pot of tea and dessert with her husband, Donald Gummer, Streep left a $20 tip—more than the cost of the snack—possibly because the 14-year-old waitress, Mary Willa, was her daughter. “She said later, ‘look what I got!’ ” says cafe owner Mary O’Brien.

Rock and Rollover

Having made cross-dressing and boy’s makeup standard fare back in the ’70s, David Bowie has a novel approach to getting richer that is attracting imitators. Following his lead last year, lots of rockers are considering issuing their own bonds as a way to land a giant lump sum—in Bowie’s case, $55 million. Backed by hit songs that should continue to earn for years, rockers can reap millions now and slowly pay back the bonds (which are really low-interest loans) with the old tunes’ royalties. Rod Stewart pulled in $15.4 million from a bond sale, and the Motown songwriters Holland, Dozier and Holland (“Stop! In the Name of Love”) got $30 million up front. Wall Street financiers are wooing the Rolling Stones; Crosby, Stills and Nash; Elton John; Michael Jackson; and the estates of Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley with the lure of jumpin’ jack cash. Less-established rockers are crying “sellout” faster than they can smash a guitar. “It’s horrible. It’s gross. It’s obscene,” Chumbawamba singer Dunstan Bruce says of Bowie’s bonds. “It turns his music into a commodity. It’s like he could be a water company or a gas company.”

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