Fire sends Vonnegut to a N.Y. hospital A fire at Kurt...

People And Places

February 01, 2000

Fire sends Vonnegut to a N.Y. hospital

A fire at Kurt Vonnegut's Manhattan home sent the 77-year-old author to the hospital suffering from smoke inhalation Sunday night and slightly damaged his four-story townhouse on East 48th Street.

The cause of the blaze was under investigation, but fire marshals believe that careless smoking by Vonnegut may have played a role, said a fire official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Officials at Weill Cornell Center of New York-Presbyterian Hospital would not comment on Vonnegut's condition, but his 17-year-old daughter, Lily, said he was "OK," though he will probably remain hospitalized for a few days. No one else was injured.

The fire department put the one-alarm blaze out within 20 minutes, and Lily Vonnegut said damage to the study was minimal.

Ventura looks over shoulder

Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, professional tough guy, believes there are forces out there conspiring against him.

In an article in Playboy, the Reform Party governor and former pro wrestler and Navy SEAL said: "Politics is all a conspiracy. There are conspiracies against me right now. Sure there are. To make me look bad, so that never again will an independent third-party governor get elected."

Asked how long he would live if he were elected president, Ventura said, "Before they'd kill me? I'd be concerned."

Indian director set back

Filmmaker Deepa Mehta said yesterday that she would seek help from the Indian government, a day after a mob ransacked the set of her movie about an Indian widow trying to rejoin society.

Protesters affiliated with the Hindu nationalist government stormed the set in the northern city of Varanasi on Sunday, accusing the filmmaker of distorting traditions in her depiction of Indian widows in the 1930s.

The film, "Water," is the third in a controversial trilogy by Mehta.

"The very theme of the movie, a young widow falling in love with a low caste man, is against the basic tradition of our society," said Ram Kishore Gupta, a spokesman for Suprabhatam, a cultural organization that led the attack.

Mehta has refused to discuss the script, except to say it is about a young widow who defies the social stigma of widowhood and seeks to join the mainstream of society during a period when India's independence movement was growing.

Bard tops bill at Globe

Britain's Globe Theater is to stage what is billed as the world's largest exhibition dedicated to William Shakespeare, organizers said yesterday.

The Globe, an exquisite copy of the playhouse where the Bard's plays were first staged, has spent 6.5 million pounds ($10.55 million) on the "museum-cum-theme park" that has already won fulsome plaudits from critics.

The Globe, the brainchild of the late U.S. actor-director Sam Wanamaker, has proved a roaring success with theatergoers. The box office receipts topped 3 million pounds last year with 89 percent capacity.

The exhibition is being opened Thursday by Judi Dench, who won an Oscar for her portrayal of Elizabeth I in the film "Shakespeare in Love."

Today's birthdays

Actor Stuart Whitman is 72.

Singer Don Everly is 63.

Actor Garrett Morris is 63.

Singer Ray Sawyer (Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show) is 63.

Actor Sherman Hemsley is 62.

Jazz musician Joe Sample is 61.

Comedian-filmmaker Terry Jones is 58.

Singer Rick James is 48.

Actor-writer-producer Bill Mumy is 46.

Rock musician Mike Campbell (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers) is 46.

Rock singer Exene Cervenka is 44.

Actress Sherilyn Fenn is 35.

Lisa Marie Presley is 32.

Comedian Pauly Shore is 30.

Rapper Big Boi (Outkast) is 25.

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