Love on the Q.T.

He dare not speak her name, but that won’t stop the Bachelor from dating the girl of his TV dreams

He’s got a secret—and nervous ABC executives are worried that sometime before the Nov. 20 finale of The Bachelor, single guy Aaron Buerge might let slip the name of the woman he selected to be his sweetie. (The show, which features 25 young women auditioning for Buerge’s affection, is taped in advance.) While at home in Springfield, Mo., Buerge, 28, told folks that he is already spending quality time with the winner—but only after seeking the show’s permission. “They’ve been out a few times,” admits Mike Fleiss, The Bachelor‘s creator. “We did all kinds of security for them. So far, so good.”

Not so secret are Buerge’s plans to open a restaurant, Trolley’s Downtown Bar & Grille, downstairs from his Springfield bachelor pad. “I’m not a connoisseur of fine cuisine,” says Buerge, a banker by day, but he did help choose the menu—seafood, ribs and New Orleans-style fare. He also had something to say about the decor at a media preview last week. “Enough with the roses,” Buerge cringed on noticing tables adorned with sprays of red roses, The Bachelor‘s signature flower. “Does it get any cheesier than this?”

And the answer is: Yes! Next up from The Bachelor‘s producers: The Will, in which real family members battle for an inheritance. “The vote-outs between relatives should be intense,” says Fleiss. “I thought it would be great TV and great fun.”

Surprise No. 35

For that special occasion, what does a husband give the wife who has everything? A big surprise. On Oct. 26 Julia Roberts expected to celebrate her 35th birthday (actual date: Oct. 28) with a quiet evening of dinner and dancing with her husband of almost four months, Danny Moder, 33, at Manhattan’s storied Players club. But when the two arrived, Roberts found a gaggle of friends—including James Gandolfini, Dermot Mulroney and Bruce Willis—all dressed up and shouting “Surprise!” The culprit? Moder, it seems, had planned the party, renting out the club and booking the Noel Freidline Quintet to play tunes from a bygone era. Appropriate, since Roberts recently learned how to ballroom dance for her role in the upcoming Mona Lisa Smile.

  • It’s Broadway Billy
  • “I wish I could be a fly on the wall and hear what people are saying about the show without them knowing I was there,” Billy Joel told Scoop at the Oct. 24 opening night party for Movin’ Out, a collection of his songs choreographed by Twyla Tharp for the Broadway stage. No problem, Billy. Overheard: Bebe Neuwirth saying the work “blew the roof off the theater”; Rosie O’Donnell telling fans it was “better than Mamma Mia!”; and Patrick Swayze calling it “great.” The critics were generally kind too, though some not as effusive as the showbiz folk. Joel credited Tharp with the play’s success, saying, “I gave her carte blanche with the vision, and it worked.” How so? “When I compose songs, I start with chords and rhythm. Twyla picked up on that.” Particularly, he says, in her interpretation of “An Innocent Man,” which emphasized the song’s tango beat. And how does Broadway compare with playing Madison Square Garden? “The Garden is a physical, gut experience, but watching this is an out-of-body experience.”

WHO’S THAT GIRL? Madonna in Die Another Day
If at first you don’t succeed…try a cameo. And so, after beaching herself in Swept Away, Madonna has taken another stab at the acting business with a small role as a fencing instructor. She’ll appear in the new James Bond flick Die Another Day, due Nov. 22, and sing the theme song as well. Next single: What it feels like for a foil?

Back to School

Jon Stewart, College of William and Mary class of ’84 cutup, returned for homecoming weekend Oct. 27 and heard one student call him a hero. “It’s nice to know that at a college that had Thomas Jefferson, I am your hero,” said the host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show. Stewart, 39, reminisced about his college house (“111 Matoaka. Don’t touch the carpet”) and his maturity: “When I was your age, I was trying to have sex with you. Now I want to chaperon you to your next cotillion.”

A Little Off the Top

Famously, if you want to visit one of the world’s largest balls of twine, you’ve got to drive to Cawker City, Kans. If you want to own the world’s largest ball of Elvis’s hair—which is about the size of a small pomegranate—you can do that from your desk:, an Internet auction site, will sell the King’s clippings (accumulated by his stylist Homer “Gill” Gilleland and authenticated by John Reznikoff, “the world’s most trusted authority in the field of hair collecting”) on Nov. 14. Says a site rep: “You can definitely tell it’s been dyed black.”

Not an Elvis fan? For hair you can wear, offered Liza Minnelli’s wig from the Broadway musical Victor/Victoria. Asking price: $460.


with Daniel Radcliffe

With Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets set to open Nov. 15, actor Daniel Radcliffe—the once, current and future Harry (he’ll star in at least the next sequel, tentatively due in 2004)—sat down to talk about whether his ego has been altered by playing his alter ego.

You’re a 13-year-old British lad. Do you identify with Harry?

I think I’m going to have to have therapy one day. When I read the Potter books, I find out more things about myself that Harry has in his personality too.

Such as?

We have curiosity, loyalty and get in trouble. We don’t break the rules, we just kind of bend them.

What do you like about your newfound celebrity?

The best thing for me so far was at the [London] premiere. I met Ben Stiller, who’s really cool. Then at the New York premiere I met Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon.

Did your voice change while making the new film?

My voice did break during filming, but it didn’t go up and down. It went from one octave to another. Harry’s also at an age where his voice might start to break, so I don’t think it’s that big a problem.

Your favorite music?

I’ve developed an interest in punk rock. Not so much the new stuff—although the Hives are good. I like the Sex Pistols, the Undertones, the New York Dolls, the Stranglers.

Favorite film?

I absolutely love Wes Anderson and The Royal Tenenbaums. My favorite film of all time is 12 Angry Men.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I love English, reading and writing. I might like to be a writer when I grow up. Or I might like to be a director.



The Osbournes they weren’t. But Ozzie and Harriet Nelson shared their own version of reality in the ’50s and ’60s with The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, a family sitcom where never was heard a disparaging word. Their real-life Hollywood home, featured on the weekly show, was recently sold for $2.2 million by owner Ron Fair, Christina Aguilera‘s producer and the president of A&M Records. Built in 1916, the 5,200-sq.-ft. house features a new kitchen where, one hopes, the milk shake is still the beverage of choice.

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