July 16, 2001 12:00 PM

Local Boy Makes Good

Who needs Broadway? Bruce Willis plays Idaho


Only three nights after losing his brother Robert, a 42-year-old Web page designer, to pancreatic cancer, Bruce Willis took the stage at the 250-seat Liberty Theater in Hailey, Idaho, for a performance of True West, Sam Shepard’s brutal drama about troubled siblings. In doing so Willis, 46, honored a long-standing commitment made to the small theater company he cofounded in his adopted hometown. While no mention was made onstage of Robert’s death (Willis had previously issued a statement calling Robert, who lived on the West Coast, “a good brother”), a feeling of family was in the air. Brace’s daughter Scout, 9, was on hand, as were former wife Demi Moore and her boyfriend, Oliver Whitcomb. Willis’s participation was no cameo—he also directed, running his cast through six-hour rehearsals daily. “He’s a creative and demanding director,” says actor Chad Smith, who portrays Willis’s brother in the drama. Willis told the local paper he considered the play “a refreshing break from films,” adding, “Theater is so immediate. If you’re funny, you get a laugh. If you are successful, you get that communion with the audience.” It’s an audience that knows Willis well, considering he and Moore bought considerable property in the former mining town (pop. 4,600)—including the Liberty Theater—since moving to Hailey more than a decade ago. (They divorced last year.) When the show was if over, Willis received a standing ovation and a gift from Scout, who handed Dad a bouquet of roses.

Today’s Request: Two Solos

It’s official: MTV’s Carson Daly, 28, and actress Tara Reid, 25, have called it quits. Only two weeks ago the duo insisted that they were still an item, holding hands at a concert at L.A.’s Dodger Stadium and scoffing at the breakup rumors that started when Reid began showing up in public sans her diamond engagement ring recently. The news came as a shock to friends. “I thought for sure they were going to [get married],” says Reid’s actor pal Jerry O’Connell, who went to this year’s Super Bowl with the couple. Despite O’Connell’s surprise, he isn’t exactly torn up. “I think it’s sad that a really cute, nice couple broke up,” he says. “But the good news is that she’s available again—I’m going to be the first in line!”

Jack in the (old) U.S.S.R.

As Jack Nicholson, in town for the Moscow International Film Festival, shared a samovar of tea with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a home outside the nation’s capital June 27, the talk turned to the ever-present swarm of insects. Something must be done, said Nicholson, “about these terrible mosquitoes.” Whereupon his companion, actress Lara Flynn Boyle, pulled out a little yellow tube of insect repellent and offered it to the president. Putin froze, said nothing for a moment and then politely declined the friendly gesture without an explanation.

Things warmed up, according to a Russian paper, when Putin told Nicholson that he enjoyed One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. That’s what most people tell me, Nicholson replied, especially children. The late-night powwow, held at the home of film director Nikita Mikhalkov, also attracted several film festival attendees, including Sean Penn and Peta Wilson, star of TV’s La Femme Nikita—a syndicated spy show with so-so ratings in the U.S. , but a big hit with Putin’s wife, Lyudmila, and the rest of the nation.

In the Air, All the Rage

It only makes sense that the fashionable fly in high style. But Madonna has taken the luxury of travel to new altitudes. With an entourage of 200 accompanying her on the European leg of her Drowned World tour, she runs a veritable airline—two jets just for her 1,500 cases of equipment, one for crew members, and a fourth—her luxury 12-seat Falcon 900 series—for husband Guy Ritchie, kids Lourdes, 4, and Rocco, 11 months, their nannies and her very own Best Supporting Actress, Gwyneth Paltrow, who played travel pal to the singer during part of the tour. One downside: Although her spokeswoman offered no details about the cost, Madonna won’t be earning frequent flyer miles.

For Charily, a Singing Crowe

When Rick Perry met Russell Crowe at a reception at the State Capitol in Austin last August, the two “had common ground right off,” says Perry, now Texas’s governor. “He’s a lot like Texans—warm, generous and hospitable.” Crowe turned up at a dinner at the governor’s mansion in February and won even more attaboys when he offered up his band, 30 Odd Foot of Grunts, to play a concert for Perry’s daughter Sydney’s charity of choice. The show, which will benefit a local shelter for abused children, is scheduled for Aug. 18—Sydney’s 15th birthday. Says her mom, Anita: “We were overwhelmed by his generosity.”

Rappers’ Delight? Let’s Get Small

In the world of rap, there was a time when big meant better, with Big Daddy Kane, Big Pun and Notorious B.I.G. ruling the charts. These days small says it all—with a bumper crop of talent proud to include the diminutive title Lil’ in their stage names. Why? Scoop asked their reps.

Name: Lil’ Bow Wow 4’7″

Why: Snoop Dogg gave him that name. It stuck.

Name: Lil’ Romeo 4’11”

Why: He’s a little boy [11 years], so they call him Lil’.

Name: Lil’ Zane 5’5″

Why: To distinguish him from his father, Zane.

Name: Lil’ Mo 4’11”

Why: Because she is very small.

Name: UP Kim 4’11”

Why: They call her that because of her size.

Here’s the Story of an Angry Brady

Not since Greg and Marcia opposed each other for student council has a Brady bickered so boisterously. On June 25 former Brady Buncher Barry Williams, 46, filed an unfair labor practice complaint against Actors’ Equity—the stage actors’ union—which had fined him $52,000 for appearing last winter in a nonunion touring production of The Sound of Music. Williams insists he quit the union before Edelweissing his way across the U.S. So why pick on him? Union spokesman David Lotz says, “We believe he is a scab.” The National Labor Relations Board will hear the case. “I may be the only former child star,” says Williams, “who got vilified for trying to work.”



Here’s a switch. Just when tennis ace Anna Kournikova turns 20—her birthday was in June—she decides to move back in with her parents, putting her Miami Beach bachelorette pad up for sale. Asking price: $5.5 million, it’s a triplex in Portofino Tower, just a hard serve away from the action in South Beach. The condo comes with three bedrooms and a roof patio with lap pool. The gated complex also has a gym and tennis courts. The parents reportedly live on an island in Biscayne Bay.


with Sam Donaldson

Hollywood has the Oscars, Broadway has the Tonys, and the Internet has the Webbys—an awards ceremony honoring informative World Wide Web sites and their creators. This year’s ceremonies take place July 18 at San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House, where ABC News’ Sam Donaldson will host a pre-show on http://www.abcnews. com and present an award. Scoop asked Donaldson, 67, to talk about the differences between network news and news on the Net.

So you believe in the Web?

I think it’s the future of communication, commerce and politics.

Is the audience the same for news on TV and news on the computer?

I’ve had to learn something about the people who are on the Internet. They differ from people who sit down in front of the TV. Their attention span is short.

How short?

We can [all] pay attention to a movie for almost four hours or a comedy show for a half-hour or an hour. When we look at the average time that people spend on one of our sites, it’s measured in minutes. [On the Web], short stories do better.

What do you do differently telling a story on the Web?

I often ramble [while talking about myself]. But hey, we all like to talk about No. 1!

Will the Web make news presentations less formal?

I think in general people still want a presentation that is not loosey-goosey.

See anything unusual on the Web?

Once, my staff came to me and said you have to look at nakednews.com. A young woman began fully clothed and ended up with full frontal nudity. What I found curious was that even though she shed her clothes, there was nothing suggestive about it. I was talking about it with David Westin, our boss, the other day. He said, “I get a report, so I know who has been looking at what.” I told him I just looked once.

There Goes the Neighborhood?

The head games and backstabbing haven’t even begun, and already there are complaints from the set of Survivor: Africa. Outside a Kenyan game reserve 140 miles north of Nairobi, locals claim show staffers cut down trees and shrubs and scared off wildlife. “We went across the park today and saw only two oryx [antelope],” says Yusuf Wako, a member of a community development group. Inside, says a local reporter, staffers built two temporary structures and a swimming pool. CBS is reportedly paying Isiolo County, which owns the reserve, $228,000 to use the land for four months. The producers also plan to set up a temporary water and sewage treatment plant and pave some roads, according to location manager Robin Hollister, who says the Survivors intend to leave a positive legacy to Kenya’s natural habitats. As for the complaints, “Most people making these charges have never been to the area,” says CBS’s Colleen Sullivan. “It’s been closed off.”

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