General News

NEWSMAKERS: Gene Wilder Ailing

Mar 19, 2001 | 11:50am EST

Comic actor Gene Wilder, who lost wife Gilda Radner to cancer in 1989, is now battling the disease himself.

Wilder, 64, is being treated at Manhattan Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. "He was diagnosed last year with lymphoma. He was successfully treated and is in remission. He is now being prevent recurrence,'' the clinic said, adding that it would be providing no further information at this time.

The star of 1970s comedies "Blazing Saddles" and "Young Frankenstein" opened Gilda's Club, a support center for cancer patients and their families, in 1993 in memory of third wife Radner, one of the original cast members of "Saturday Night Live." Wilder has since remarried.

'TODAY' ... OR NOT: Madonna's interview with NBC's "Today" host Matt Lauer was canceled Wednesday -- by Lauer, who waited two hours in a hotel suite while Madonna did other interviews, according to the New York Post.

The interview with the singer-actress, who was promoting her upcoming film "The Next Best Thing," was scheduled for 4 p.m., then pushed back to 5:30. Lauer showed up on time with an expensive production crew. But by 7:10 p.m., Lauer left, saying "I didn't think it was unreasonable to leave," he says. "I had other things to do."

Madonna's rep, Liz Rosenberg, explains: "Madonna did 65 interviews that day ... Unfortunately the 'Today' show was going to be the finale, because wanted to give them as much time as possible." She says the chat will be rescheduled when Madonna comes to town for the film's premiere Feb. 29. A "Today" rep says Madonna sent Lauer an "enormous and beautiful" bouquet of flowers as a conciliatory gesture."

QUICK TAKES: Rosie O'Donnell is the hostess with the mostest. On top of adopting her third child, Blake Christopher, last month, she agreed to return as host of the Grammy Awards Jan. 23 in Los Angeles. Now comes word that she'll return for a third go-around hosting the 54th Annual Tony Awards, which will take place June 4 at New York's Radio City Music Hall ...

... When Gary Coleman was bankrupt, he made a plea via the Internet for some cash. Now UGO Networks (, which organized a Web-a-thon for the 31-year-old actor, has given him a job as a columnist. The weekly gig, entitled Coleman Confidential, will feature reviews and interviews ...

... Pamelyn Ferdin, who provided the voice of Lucy in the animated "Peanuts" specials of the 1970s, was sentenced Tuesday in Los Angeles to 30 days in jail. It was not for snatching the football away before Charlie Brown could kick it, but for carrying a "bull hook" during an elephant-rights protest at a circus. Ferdin, 39, was carrying the object -- a wooden rod with a hook at the end, used by elephant trainers -- as an educational tool, but a local ordinance bars protesters from carrying large wooden sticks ...

... It looks like a Baby Scotty for "Star Trek" actor James Doohan, 79, and wife Wende, 43, who are expecting a daughter in April, according to London's Daily Star.

RUMOR ROUNDUP: Britain's Empire Online reports that model Elizabeth Hurley will finally wed her boyfriend of 12 years, Hugh Grant, in the spring. A friend reportedly confides, "As their relationship has normally been splendid they didn't want to spoil it with something they regard as so trivial as a marriage ceremony ... but lately they've been talking about a lovely spring wedding." ...

... Actress Sadie Frost ("Bram Stoker's Dracula") was reportedly visiting husband Jude Law ("The Talented Mr. Ripley") in Berlin when she was stuck in the elevator of the apartment building they were staying in. Frost sounded an alarm, and when police and fire department showed up, they demanded to see her passport and ID papers. Not believing her explanation that they were in the apartment, she was taken to jail, where she was refused food and water, she told the British Star. "When they eventually let me make a call, only one, they deliberately cut me off just as I got connected to Jude. I was then left in the cells until 8:30 a.m. when I was released without charge, or a word of apology," she reportedly said. Cops in Berlin released a statement to Fashion Wire Daily saying she "was under the influence of alcohol." ...

... According to the Edmonton Sun, MTV's Tom Green, who hosts his own gross-out comedy show, is reportedly dating none other than Monica Lewinsky. Pause. We're just gonna stop there, because we're afraid to make any further remark on this matter.

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