Beefed-up security to protect Madonna being soft-pedaled


January 25, 1996

Argentine authorities and producers of Alan Parker's "Evita" played down yesterday a report that security around Madonna has been beefed up against possible attacks by Peronists angry at her playing Eva Peron.

Clarin newspaper, quoting security sources, said President Carlos Menem ordered extra precautions after the secret service warned of a "high probability" nationalist hardliners in the ruling Peronist Party would try to attack Madonna.

Her arrival in Buenos Aires Saturday to film the $60 million movie version of the musical stage hit was heralded by graffiti saying: "Madonna Out!! Viva Evita." One Peronist deputy wants Parker and his cast declared "persona non grata."

Eva Peron was the second wife of populist president Juan Peron, who ruled Argentina from 1946 to 1955 and from 1973 to 1974. A poor girl turned radio starlet, she took up the cause of the working-class poor before dying of cancer in 1952 at the age of 33.

Sweden's king tells auditors to butt out of his fiances

Sweden's government-spending watchdogs don't like taking "no" for an answer, but this time they may have met their match: King Carl XVI Gustaf himself.

The government audit agency wanted to check what the king did with the $16 million the Parliament allocated him last year, the newspaper Expressen said yesterday.

Sweden's popular monarch was not amused, and told the auditors to stay out of his royal business. He cited a a treaty with Parliament from 1841, guaranteeing that money allocated for royal court expenditure is not subject to outside review.

Take my crown, face suit, says Miss New York state

She performed a Puccini aria at the Miss America pageant, but now Miss New York state is singing a different tune, threatening a $2 million lawsuit against pageant officials who are trying to take away her crown.

Pageant officials said she is unable to fulfill her duties because -- to pay her rent, she says -- she has landed a role as a Broadway understudy.

"There are no duties for Miss New York," Helen Goldsby, 25, countered on Tuesday. She alleged that pageant officials would not let her promote her platform on child abuse and failed to book appearances for her.

Receiving new knees part of job, Downs says

The topic on "20/20" will be host Hugh Downs himself -- or, more accurately, his bad knees.

The 74-year-old newsman will undergo joint replacement in both knees on Saturday in Boston, and the operation will be the subject of a segment to be broadcast on the ABC program in late February.

Downs said he agreed to the report after he learned that about 150,000 people have such surgery each year and that about 16 million Americans have conditions that will lead to joint replacement surgery.

The newsman said he injured his knees during a race 16 years ago down 37 flights of stairs. Downs expects to miss only the Feb. 2 broadcast and to return the following week. "I told Barbara Walters to simply say that I'm on assignment -- which, of course, I am," he said.


Today in history: Jan. 25

In 1971, Charles Manson and three women were convicted in Los Angeles of murder and conspiracy in the 1969 slayings of seven, including actress Sharon Tate.

Today's birthdays

Actor Gregg Palmer is 69. The former president of the Philippines, Corazon Aquino, is 63. Actress Elizabeth Allen is 62. Actress Leigh Taylor-Young is 52.

Lining it up

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