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When Kerry Met Andy

April 27, 2001|ANN O'NEILL

Kerry Kennedy Cuomo was in a dishy mood the other night at a Beverly Hills dinner party for husband Andrew Cuomo, the former Clinton cabinet secretary who is running for governor of New York. "Want to hear about our first date?" she asked. Yes, please.

As she tells it, the two met at a political banquet in New York in the late 1980s when Cuomo was HUD secretary and Kennedy was coming into her own as a human rights advocate. "So, what are you working on?" was Kennedy's chatty gambit. Cuomo invited her to tour his housing project for the homeless. The next day, the late Robert F. Kennedy's middle daughter hopped on the back of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle operated by then-Gov. Mario Cuomo's son. Magic happened. They've been married for 10 years and are raising three daughters.

Kennedy Cuomo recently wrapped up a national tour promoting her book, "Speak Truth to Power" (Crown), to stump with her husband, who calls her his "secret weapon" in the race against GOP incumbent George Pataki. The party was hosted by Daphna Edwards Ziman, founder of the charity Children United Nations.

Buns of Steel

If you want to look like Mickey Mantle, you have to eat like Mickey Mantle. Or, at least like Renee Zellweger ate for her role in "Bridget Jones's Diary." Trainer Greg Isaacs had just a few weeks to turn actor Thomas Jane from a baby-faced beanpole into a milk-fed, hard-living 1960s New York Yankee for HBO's baseball movie, "61*."

"I said to Thomas, 'Let's get that thickish pasty look that you get from ingesting a lot of dairy,' " Isaacs said. "Look, before your workout, just stop off and get a triple, quadruple burger and a milkshake. Ya gotta get some calories in your body!" Jane worked hard for his jock's bod, spending countless hours in the batting cage and bulking up his shoulders, chest, forearms and glutes. "You have to have a good butt in those baseball pants," Isaacs observed. Jane portrays Mantle, who in 1961 challenged teammate Roger Maris to beat Babe Ruth's home run record. The movie airs Saturday night.

The Court Files

Halle Berry and Eric Benet filed a multimillion-dollar defamation suit Wednesday against the Star, a supermarket tabloid that recently reported their marriage was "on the rocks." The tabloid said that Benet had moved out, taking the couple's child with him, according to papers filed in Los Angeles Superior Court. The suit called the report a "groundless fictionalized story" and accused the Star of fabricating its source.

"The Star must be held accountable," the peeved couple said through their publicist. "The fact that this story also includes untrue statements about our child enrages us and compels a response." Star lawyer Michael B. Kahane said, "This is the first I've heard of it."

Meanwhile, a German film company is seeking more than $5 million in damages from actress Linda Fiorentino, alleging her "prima donna" whims sabotaged a film about artist Georgia O'Keeffe. The Los Angeles Superior Court suit by Art Oko Film charges that Fiorentino, disgruntled over her $600,000 paycheck, delayed filming by calling in sick, even though she was well enough to attend a Chicago charity bash hosted by Playboy's Christie Hefner. The suit noted that Fiorentino also was "in apparent good health and good humor" at a cast party after production shut down because co-star Ben Kingsley's contract ran out. There was no immediate comment from the Fiorentino camp.

Sound Bite

I can't see it as a curse anymore. It's so prevalent in my life. It's just like living with a birthmark or something.

--"Bridget Jones's Diary" star Colin Firth, on being typecast due to his memorable role as Mr. Darcy in the 1995 BBC miniseries "Pride and Prejudice."

The Royal Watch

Queen Elizabeth, once the wealthiest person in Britain, is down to her last 300 million pounds. (That's about $430 million.) Her Majesty didn't even make the top 100 in Britain's annual Rich List, published by the Sunday Times of London. On top of that, it's been so hard to find good help. Not only has a royal butler been charged with pilfering baubles and cash from Princess Diana's estate, now Sarah Ferguson's former assistant is on trial for murder.

Jane Andrews, who was sacked in 1997, is accused of whacking her millionaire boyfriend over the head with a cricket bat and stabbing him with a kitchen knife. She allegedly flew into a jealous rage in September after finding her beau's amorous e-mails to a Las Vegas woman. In the e-mail he described Andrews as "a pair of old slippers I cannot throw away."


Jimmy Smits, lingering over lunch at Spago in Beverly Hills . . . Debi Mazar, taking in "Bridget Jones's Diary" at Mann's Chinese Theatre . . . Carmen Electra, celebrating her 29th birthday at Vinyl in Hollywood . . . Drew Carey, buying a $750 Tumi suitcase at El Portal in the Beverly Center . . . Lara Flynn Boyle, nuzzling a mystery hunk by the deli counter at the Bristol Farms market on Beverly Boulevard . . . Salman Rushdie, schmoozing at the U2 after-party in Anaheim.


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

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