People And Places

PEOPLE AND PLACES

October 09, 2002

James Earl Jones says sci-fi books rescued him

Actor James Earl Jones says he found his trademark baritone voice in science fiction books after retreating as a child into silence because of a stutter.

Testifying Tuesday at a hearing on literacy before the House subcommittee on education, Jones, the voice of Darth Vader in Star Wars and King Mufasa in The Lion King, said reading Jules Verne as a child enabled him to have hundreds of conversations in his head while being a mute to the outside world for all practical purposes.

"I stuttered badly, and so I retreated and lived in a world of silence rather than speak," he said. "But I found my voice in books and I found the expanded vocabulary so important for someone who stutters."

Teri Garr has MS

Teri Garr, nominated for a best supporting actress Oscar for her role in the 1982 hit movie Tootsie, has announced that she has multiple sclerosis, reports Agence France-Press.

In a brief statement issued yesterday, Garr said she had suffered symptoms of the disease for 19 years.

"I didn't tell people because I didn't want pity, and I was afraid I wouldn't get work," said Garr, 52.

"But others with MS need to know they are not alone. We don't have to be victims," she said.

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic auto-immune inflammatory disease of the central nervous system, characterized by muscle weakness and blurred vision.

On Walden Pond

Don Henley helped celebrate the addition of a 26.4-acre parcel of land to the Walden Pond State Reservation in Concord, Mass.

The new acreage, known as the "Goose Pond" parcel, was obtained through a land swap with the town of Concord.

"The land surrounding Goose Pond in Walden Woods was one of Henry David Thoreau's favorite destinations," Henley said Monday. "He spent a great deal of time here, immersed in nature, drawing inspiration from this beautiful setting."

Splitsville

Lorenzo Lamas and his wife, former Playboy Playmate Shauna Sand, have separated after six years of marriage.

"Shauna and I are separated due to problems of incompatibility," Lamas, 44, said in a statement Monday. "We have mutual respect for each other and are seeking the best advice in order to ensure that our three children are protected and loved."

The spokeswoman for Lamas, who starred in the TV series Renegade and Falcon Crest, said it was too soon to say whether the couple, who live in Los Angeles, would file for divorce, or what will happen to their three young daughters, Alexandra, Victoria and Isabella.

Remembering his roots

Rolling Stone Mick Jagger hasn't forgotten where he got his start, donating $150,000 to help youngsters at his old school.

Dartford Grammar School in Kent County, southern England, said Monday the 59-year-old singer wants the money to be used for programs that will encourage children to study music.

"I believe we should encourage children to sing and play instruments from an early age," Jagger said from the United States, where the Rolling Stones are on tour.

The money will help provide free string and wind instrument training, run in conjunction with Kent Music School and Trinity College of Music.

Sandwiched by arrests

The Mounties got their men. What they had trouble getting was a sandwich.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Constable Ed Boettcher and his partner decided to take a sandwich break Monday while on surveillance duty in Surrey, British Columbia, in an unmarked car.

At the restaurant, they checked the license plate on a car parked at a nearby pawn shop, found the car had been reported stolen, followed it and helped arrest the driver and passenger.

Back they went to the sandwich shop, only to find a well-known car thief getting out of a pickup truck. Sure enough, a check of the license showed the truck had been stolen and they arrested the driver.

On his third try, Boettcher finally got inside the sandwich shop, but his partner noticed two men carrying golf bags into the pawn shop. It turned out their car was also stolen and they were eventually arrested as well.

Today's birthdays

Actor Fyvush Finkel is 79.

Singer Jackson Browne is 54.

Reality TV star Sharon Osbourne is 50.

Actor Tony Shalhoub is 49.

Actor Scott Bakula is 48.

Musician James Fearnley (The Pogues) is 48.

Actor Michael Pare is 43.

Rock singer Kurt Neumann (The BoDeans) is 41.

Country singer Gary Bennett is 38.

Singer P.J. Harvey is 33.

Country singer Tommy Shane Steiner is 29.

Singer Sean Lennon is 27.

Actor Randy Spelling is 24.

Actor Zachery Ty Bryan is 21.

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