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Hair Today, Star Tomorrow?

April 24, 2001|ANN O'NEILL

Once he was the fastest man on Earth. Now he wants to be a movie star. Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis recently launched his own Web site,, to display his talents to Hollywood casting agents. There are video clips of the track star as a gun-toting gangster, a charming romantic, a screwball blind date and a husband comforting his dying, pregnant wife.

"It allows people to see me in all the facets," Lewis said. Also starring is his hair, demonstrating remarkable versatility in the "Carl Lewis Hair Timeline." The site seems to have worked. Lewis recently landed a role as a heroic security guard in "Atomic Tornado," an upcoming TBS disaster movie.

That's Mr. Wessex to You

Although we graduated from all the best schools, nothing prepared us for meeting the man who is seventh in line to the British throne. And, he was headed our way. Do we curtsy? Kiss the ring? And how in the world should we address his royal self? "You can call me Mr. Wessex," said Prince Edward, extending his hand for a firm, Yankee-style handshake before Showtime's screening of "Varian's War" at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on Thursday night.

He was listed in executive producer credits, along with Barbra Streisand and Cis Corman, as just plain Edward Wessex, which was fine with him. We were warned by the people at Showtime that Mr. Wessex just wanted to talk about the movie and wouldn't answer questions about the recent flap over catty remarks that his wife, the former Sophie Rhys-Jones, made to a tabloid reporter posing as an Arab sheik. But we couldn't help ourselves. We just had to know about those British press reports that his company, Ardent Productions, was bleeding money.

It's "absolute rubbish," Mr. Wessex said. "They know nothing about our company," which he insisted turned a profit last year. He's plenty tired of the controversy surrounding his role as a working Royal. "It would just be nice to get on with it and do the job," he added.

The TV movie, starring William Hurt, Julia Ormond, Alan Arkin and Lynn Redgrave, tells the story of Varian Fry, an American journalist who rescues Jewish intellectuals and artists from Nazi-occupied France during World War II. The film aired Sunday and will be repeated May 11.

Brunch at Arianna's

The guest list at the Talk Miramax Books party Sunday for Malika Oufkir was studded with movie types looking to turn her compelling story, "Stolen Lives," into film. Among the heavy hitters were ICM's John Burnham, William Morris' Ames Cushing and director Guy Green. Shoe designer Nathalie Marciano told us she quickly bought the rights after reading Oufkir's book in French two years ago, and is in negotiations with several studios, although the smart money is on Miramax.

More than 260 people crowded into syndicated columnist Arianna Huffington's Brentwood home to hear Oufkir describe how she was taken, at 5, to live in the Moroccan king's palace, and how she spent her entire adult life in various prisons following a failed coup in 1972. Oufkir has been free and living in Paris since 1996.

"I'm still a prisoner. I am frightened every day by life. I don't know how to manage. I don't know how to start a life," she told us.

Among the boldface names moved by her story at Sunday's brunch were Peter Horton, Jon Peters, Michael York, Patti Davis, Vidal and Ronnie Sassoon, Michael Viner and Deborah Raffin, Morgan Fairchild, Dyan Cannon, Leigh Taylor Young, Marla Maples and Jackie Stallone.

Wedding Bells?

Actor Kirk Douglas wants to get married again--to his bride of 48 years, Anne. They tied the knot the first time in Las Vegas, way back in 1954. But now Douglas wants to do it right with a lavish wedding like his son's. Michael Douglas married actress Catherine Zeta-Jones last November in a $1-million affair at the Plaza Hotel in New York. "If I'm alive in two years, I'll propose again," the 84-year-old actor told us during a chat at his Beverly Hills home, which is cozy and unassuming--except for occasional pieces by Picasso, Chagall and Miro.

Douglas is very much the proud patriarch, pleased with Michael's success--even though he once tried to discourage his son from acting by giving him bad reviews. "Last year was a fantastic year for the family. Aside from the wedding, there was 'Wonder Boys,' one of [Michael's] best pictures. And 'Traffic.' I think, in years from now, it's going to be a historic movie."

The elder Douglas, who had a stroke in 1996, is scheduled to pick up a "Duke Award" for "exceptional humanitarian spirit" Saturday from the John Wayne Cancer Institute. He and his wife have sold much of their art collection to support their work renovating playgrounds across Los Angeles. "It's a crime to have such expensive things when you can do so much with the money," he said. "The older I get, the more I think it's important to be a better person."

Survey Says . . .

Asked in a poll sponsored by Amstel Light beer which celebrity should take a powder for a few years, Americans overwhelmingly chose Puff Daddy, a fate he couldn't avoid despite changing his name to P. Diddy, while the French said they didn't want to hear another word about Jennifer Lopez. In Amsterdam, they are sick to death of Britney Spears. But around the world, beer drinkers still can't get enough of Courtney Love, Ricky Martin, Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise or Madonna.

The poll also discovered a huge gap between American and European values. In Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Atlanta, respondents said making money was the top priority, ranking it above sex, fame and relaxation. In Europe, the emphasis is on fun.


Times staff writers Louise Roug and Gina Piccalo contributed to this column. Send e-mail to

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