October 31, 2004

Bush, Kerry in Tight Sprint to Finish

President Bush and Democratic Sen. John Kerry sprinted for the finish on Sunday in a deadlocked battle for the White House, as Kerry appealed for change and Bush asked voters to "stand with me."

White House Race a Dead Heat - Reuters Poll

President Bush and Democratic Sen. John Kerry are tied nationwide in a tense race for the White House, but Kerry leads in six of 10 battleground states, according to Reuters/Zogby polls released on Sunday.

Steelers End Patriots' Win Streak, 34-20

PITTSBURGH - Ben Roethlisberger, a rookie quarterback who seemingly doesn't know how to lose, drove the Steelers to four scores following uncharacteristic New England turnovers and Pittsburgh ended the Patriots' two long winning streaks with a remarkably easy 34-20 victory Sunday.

The Patriots had won 21 straight counting the playoffs and a league-record 18 in a row in the regular season, but were all but out of this one after Roethlisberger — still unbeaten as an NFL starter — threw two touchdown passes to Plaxico Burress in the first quarter.

Maybe all this winning was too much to ask of Boston-area teams. With running back Corey Dillon sitting out and Pro Bowl cornerback Ty Law (foot) sidelined for all but a few plays, the Patriots' winning streaks ended only four days after the Boston Red Sox won their first World Series in 86 years.

With Tom Brady throwing two interceptions and losing a fumble, New England's run ended with its first loss since a 20-17 defeat to Washington on Sept. 28, 2003. But Roethlisberger upped his personal winning streak to 18. He won his final 13 at Miami of Ohio last season following an opening-game loss, and now is only the second rookie quarterback since the 1970 merger to win his first NFL five starts.

Mike Kruczek won six straight for the injured Terry Bradshaw for the 1976 Steelers, never once throwing a touchdown pass; Roethlisberger already has nine in what is fast becoming the best season by an NFL rookie QB since Dan Marino threw 20 touchdown passes and only six interceptions in 11 games for the 1983 Dolphins.

Next up for Pittsburgh — or, as they're calling it now, Roethlis-burgh — is unbeaten Philadelphia, 7-0 for the first time. The Steelers' 6-1 start is their best since their '78 team was 7-0, and they lead the Ravens (4-3) by two games in the AFC North.

It may be of little consolation, but New England's 6-1 record also equals the best start in franchise history.

Roethlisberger's already showing a lot of Bradshaw-like qualities: a strong arm and an innate ability to seize upon an opponent's mistake — or, in this case, four big mistakes. He was 18 of 24 for 196 yards and no interceptions Sunday and is 39 of 49 in his last two games.

Everything looked status quo early for the Patriots, who overcame Dillon's absence following two consecutive 100-yard games to drive for Adam Vinatieri's 43-yard field goal, the 15th straight game they've scored first.

After that, it fell apart.

Dexter Reed appeared to have downed Josh Miller's punt inside the Steelers 5, but inadvertently kicked the ball into the end zone for a touchback. Roethlisberger then hit Hines Ward for 21 yards ahead of a perfectly thrown 47-yard scoring pass to a stretched-out Burress. Burress quickly shed cornerback Randall Gay, who had just come in for the injured Law.

It never got any better for the Patriots, playing here for the first time since upsetting Pittsburgh 24-17 in the AFC championship game in January 2002.

On New England's next play, Brady fumbled after a hard hit from Joey Porter, leading to Roethlisberger's 4-yard pass to Burress in the left front corner of the end zone and a 14-3 lead.

Just 16 seconds later, Brady, hit by Larry Foote and Kimo von Oelhoffen, threw the ball directly to Deshea Townsend for a 39-yard interception touchdown, and it was 21-3 almost before New England fans had put down their signs from Saturday's Red Sox victory parade.

Duce Staley ran for 125 yards in his fourth 100-yard game of the season, two more than the 6-10 Steelers had all last season.

Late Singer Clooney's Home May Be Museum

AUGUSTA, KY - Late singer and actress Rosemary Clooney's old Kentucky home could soon be turned into a museum displaying memorabilia from her singing career under a plan proposed by her one-time neighbor, former Miss America Heather French Henry.

Henry and her husband, former Kentucky Lt. Gov. Steve Henry, said they plan to buy the home within the next two weeks, renovate it for use as a public museum and also live in it part-time with their two children.

Heather French Henry grew up just three blocks away before moving to Maysville and said Clooney served as a mentor to her when she was Miss America 2000.

"Augusta and Maysville were the only places where we could get away and breathe," Henry said. "I would like my children to get what I got from Augusta."

The two-story brick home was built in 1835 along the Ohio River. Clooney bought it in 1980 and lived there when she wasn't on the road performing or at her main residence in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Clooney, a Maysville native and the aunt of actor George Clooney, had No. 1 hits in the 50s including "Come On-a My House" and enjoyed a resurgence of popularity late in life that resulted in four nominations for the Grammy award.

She was 74 when she died of lung cancer in 2002.

October 30, 2004

'Superman' Reeve Honored at Memorial in New York

NEW YORK - Hundreds of friends and family attended a memorial for Christopher Reeve in New York on Friday, paying tribute to the "Superman" actor who died this month after spending the last decade of his life paralyzed .

New York Senator Hillary Clinton and Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, were among the guests, as well as a host of show business names such as Susan Sarandon, Glenn Close and Mary Tyler Moore.

The memorial was held at Juilliard School in New York where Reeve studied acting more than 30 years ago.

Reeve, whose most famous role was Clark Kent in the 1978 film "Superman," became an ardent campaigner for spinal cord research after being paralyzed in a riding accident nine years ago.

Speakers at the memorial, which was closed to the media, included politicians who worked with Reeve to campaign for increased funding for spinal cord research, such as Senator Tom Harkin.

The actor died on Oct. 10 in Northern Westchester Hospital in Mt. Kisco, New York, after suffering a heart attack at his home during treatment for an infected bedsore wound.

Reeve, 52, was survived by his wife, Dana, and their son, Will, 12. He also had two children from a previous relationship -- Matthew, 25, and Alexandra, 21.

October 29, 2004

Bush and Kerry in Dead Heat - Reuters Poll

Democratic Sen. John Kerry moved into a dead heat with President Bush but Bush took a lead in the key state of Ohio four days before a cliffhanger White House election, according to Reuters/Zogby polls released on Friday.

Whistleblower Says Halliburton Contract Abuse Blatant

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' top contracting official on Friday called the government's grant of multi-billion dollar contracts to oil services giant Halliburton the worst case of contracting abuse she has ever seen.

Holdsclaw suffering from depression

WASHINGTON -- Mystics star Chamique Holdsclaw says she left the team in the middle of the WNBA season because of depression.

Holdsclaw, then the league's second-leading scorer, stopped playing for the Mystics in July to deal with an undisclosed medical issue. She felt afraid and ashamed to discuss what was wrong with her, she told The Washington Post in her first interview since her departure.

``Depression, people just don't realize how it can take over your mind,'' said Holdsclaw, the WNBA's No. 1 overall pick in 1999. ``Yes, I was walking around and looked fine.''

She has been under a psychiatrist's care since becoming increasingly withdrawn, alienated from teammates and family and even her oldest confidantes, she said. She changed her cell phone number so that Washington general manager Pat Summitt, her former coach at Tennessee, couldn't reach her.

``I just kind of had to break away from all that,'' said Holdsclaw, who added that she slept a lot. ``I was just doing my own thing, just living without all of the expectations.''

The Mystics went on an improbable playoff run in her absence, winning five of their last six regular-season games before losing to Connecticut in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Holdsclaw said she never watched her teammates or any other sports on TV. She sat on the couch in her apartment just a block from the MCI Center.

``Everything was negative,'' she said. ``Dark.''

One Mystics fan confronted her in public about her absence, she said.

A passing motorist rolled down his window and began berating her, telling her, ``You need to get it together! You need to get back on the court!''

Holdsclaw responded angrily.

``Do you know me?'' she shouted ``You don't know me!''

Holdsclaw missed seven of the Mystics' final eight games. The forward refused to discuss the reason for her absence, other than to rule out cancer, pregnancy and drug addiction.

In a statement issued last month by the team, Holdsclaw said her condition is not life-threatening or career-threatening.

She failed to show up for a game against Charlotte on July 24. Holdsclaw played in the next game, against Detroit as a reserve, and didn't play the rest of the season. She was placed on the injured list Sept. 1.

Holdsclaw was averaging 19 points per game. She opted out of the U.S. national team for the Athens Olympics, and missed the WNBA All-Star game.

McCarville breaks hand, expected to miss four weeks

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota senior center Janel McCarville broke her left hand at practice Thursday and is expected to miss four weeks.

McCarville averaged 16.1 points and 10.8 rebounds per game last season, leading the Gophers to their first Final Four. Her 75 rebounds were an NCAA tournament record.

McCarville is also the preseason Big Ten Player of the Year for 2004-05.

Minnesota opens its season Nov. 14 against UNLV in Seattle.

McCarville out four weeks with hand injury

MINNEAPOLIS - Attempting to follow up on their first trip to the Final Four last season, the Minnesota Golden Gophers women's basketball team has already suffered a setback.

Senior center Janel McCarville, who averaged 19.4 points and set a women's NCAA tournament record with 75 rebounds in five games, suffered a broken hand in practice Thursday and is out at least four weeks.

McCarville, the pre-season Big Ten Player of the Year and a national player of the year candidate after averaging 16.1 points and 10.8 rebounds last season, broke the third metacarpal bone of her left hand.

Along with guard Lindsay Whalen, who starred for the Connecticut Sun this season in the WNBA, McCarville led the Gophers to the Final Four last season. They lost to eventual champion Connecticut in the semifinals.

The Golden Gophers open their season on November 14 against UNLV in the WBCA Classic in Seattle.

October 28, 2004

Red Sox Erase 86 Years of Futility in 4 Games

ST. LOUIS, Oct. 27 - This was for the believers. For Ted Williams and Yaz and all the others who spent a career beneath a boulder that kept rolling down a hill. This was an exorcism of 86 years of anguish.

On Wednesday night, Babe Ruth gave up. From Bangor to Brattleboro, Nashua to Nantucket, Waterbury to Woonsocket, the fans of New England can finally say it: the Boston Red Sox are the world champions. Nothing will ever be quite the same.

The Red Sox won the World Series on Wednesday for the first time since 1918, breaking the life sentence they incurred when they sold Ruth to the Yankees two years later. The Red Sox, the franchise that perfected heartbreak, won the title with one of the most dominating performances in World Series history, silencing the St. Louis Cardinals, 3-0, in Game 4 to sweep a series in which they never trailed. They swept the Series after they had trailed the Yankees by 3-0 in the American League Championship Series.

They did it at Busch Stadium, in the same city where Johnny Pesky held the ball in Game 7 of the 1946 World Series, the first of four Series calamities for the Red Sox. They also lost in the seventh game in 1967, 1975 and 1986.

Six playoff losses followed in the next 17 seasons, building the anticipation ever higher in Boston. As the Red Sox' principal owner, John Henry, said before Game 4, "Some people have told me it would be the biggest thing since the Revolutionary War."

The new question in Boston will not be when the Red Sox will ever win the World Series. It might be how many statues to erect at Fanueil Hall. There were many heroes of this World Series, with the starting pitchers standing tallest.

Curt Schilling allowed no earned runs over six innings in Game 2, with blood seeping from his injured right ankle and through his sock. Pedro Martínez, the ace who may have thrown his last pitch for the team, shut out the Cardinals for seven innings in Game 3. Derek Lowe, who earned the victory in the clinching game of all three postseason series this fall, did the same on Wednesday.

Keith Foulke recorded the final out in every Series game. With two outs in the ninth inning on Wednesday, he fielded a grounder from Edgar Renteria, took a few steps toward first and carefully made an underhand toss to Doug Mientkiewicz.

The series was over, and catcher Jason Varitek pounced on Foulke between the mound and the first-base line. The rest of the team poured from the dugout and bullpen, a joyous throng. Curtis Leskanic, a relief pitcher, fell on his back and flapped his arms, making a snow angel on the infield grass.

The Red Sox scored in the first inning of every game. On Wednesday, Johnny Damon got them going, ripping a home run into the Cardinals' bullpen to lead off the game. When the Cardinals tried to respond in the bottom of the first inning, their rally quickly fizzled.

Tony Womack led off with a single, bringing up Larry Walker, the Cardinals' leading hitter in the Series. Walker had not put down a sacrifice bunt since May 4, 1991, but these were desperate times. He bunted Womack to second.

Up came Albert Pujols, the slugger who is considered the best hitter in the National League besides Barry Bonds. But Pujols, who had failed to drive in a run in the first three games, missed another chance when he grounded out to second. Scott Rolen followed with a dribbler up the first-base line, and he dived for first base. But Lowe grabbed it and tagged him for the third out.

For the Cardinals, it was another dreary sequence. And when those hitters came up in the fourth inning, it was no better. Lowe fooled Pujols on a slider for a swinging third strike. Rolen swung at the next pitch and popped out meekly to first. Even Cardinals fans, the most polite in baseball, were moved to boo.

By then, their team was down by 3-0.

The Red Sox, who perfected the two-out rally in the World Series, did it again in the third inning. After Pujols threw out Manny Ramirez on a grounder to first, the Red Sox had runners at the corners with two outs. But Jason Marquis walked Bill Mueller, loading the bases for Trot Nixon.

Nixon likes to swing early in the count, but he let Marquis's first three pitches go by for balls. With a 3-0 count, Marquis left a pitch over the middle and Nixon smashed it off the fence in right-center field. A few feet higher, and it would have been a grand slam.

Two runs scored, and Mueller might have followed but he tripped rounding third. Even so, the Red Sox had jumped on the Cardinals' starter again. Woody Williams, Matt Morris and Jeff Suppan had combined for an 11.91 earned run average in their three starts.

Marquis was better, throwing hard enough to make the Red Sox swing and miss now and then. But he was no match for Lowe, who was frustrating the Cardinals' revamped lineup. After Womack's leadoff single, Lowe retired 13 hitters in a row. At that point, the Red Sox had set down 33 of 35 St. Louis batters.

Renteria doubled with one out in the fifth, bringing up John Mabry, who replaced the hitless Reggie Sanders in the starting lineup.

Mabry struck out, arguing with Umpire Chuck Meriwether that he had foul-tipped the pitch. But the ball was well off the plate; Mabry should not have swung in the first place. Catcher Yadier Molina, who replaced Mike Matheny in the lineup, grounded out to end the inning.

When the Cardinals came up in the sixth, pinch-hitter Marlon Anderson tried to spark a rally by bunting on the first pitch. It went right back to Lowe, who tossed to first for an easy out.

With two outs in the inning, Lowe issued his first walk, bringing Pujols to the plate. But Pujols failed again, popping to second to end the inning.

Once again, the Red Sox had stepped over a trap door. Everything that could go right was. It was utterly unlike the Red Sox, the opposite of everything that had happened in the last 85 years.

Twelve-hundred miles away in Boston, the hometown of General Manager Theo Epstein, the character of a region was changing. Or was it?

"Boston still has its blind optimists and it still has its Calvinistic fatalists," Epstein said before Game 4. "They're entertaining. But they just want to win. All this talk about the Red Sox' experience being different when we finally win, I don't really buy that.

"If we're lucky enough to win one more game, every single Red Sox fan's going to enjoy it and not have to find a way to enjoy it. It's going to come to them naturally. We'll still be the special franchise that we've been."

Still special, but with a few more believers in the flock.
Red Sox Lift Championship, Bury Curse

ST. LOUIS - The Boston Red Sox won their first World Series title since 1918, and buried a curse, with a 3-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals Wednesday.

Johnny Damon homered and Derek Lowe pitched seven shutout innings to put the finishing touches on a four-game sweep of the best-of-seven series and a historic comeback that will be as remembered as much as any of Boston's World Series collapses.

The victory ends one of the sporting world's most enduring curses in which a hex has supposedly hung over Fenway Park since Harry Frazee sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees in 1920, leaving Boston without a World Series champion for 86-years.

After watching championships slip from their grasp, including Game Seven losses to St. Louis in 1946 and 1967, the Red Sox took no chances this time and never trailed the Cardinals during the entire series.

The game was played out under a total lunar eclipse with superstitious Red Sox fans hoping it would not be a harbinger of more misfortune as some ancient cultures believed.

But the news was all good in the first inning as Johnny Damon crunched a leadoff solo home run off Jason Marquis for a 1-0 lead.

In the third, as the moon began to disappear into the earth's shadow so did any hope of a Cardinals victory as Trot Nixon doubled off the wall in right center field driving home two more runs.

With aces Curt Schilling and Pedro Martinez having done their jobs by winning Games Two and Three respectively, Boston manager Terry Francona handed the ball to Derek Lowe, a pitcher who struggled down the stretch and was not even included on his original postseason rotation.

But Lowe, who also got the Game Seven win over the Yankees in the American League Championship Series, sparkled in his World Series debut giving up just three hits in seven innings before Bronson Arroyo, Alan Embree and Keith Foulke closed out.

St. Louis, with an impressive collection of power hitters and who had outscored opponents 43-23 at Busch stadium during the postseason prior to the World Series, were again impotent on Wednesday.

The Cardinals scored just one run in two home games with sluggers Scott Rolen and Jim Edmonds going a combined 1-for-30 at the plate for the entire series.

Hundreds of Red Sox fans, who traveled to St. Louis to watch the game, sat anxiously through the final outs, unleashed a torrent of emotion when Foulke tossed to first base for the final out to trigger a wild celebration.

Red Sox Win First World Series Since 1918

ST. LOUIS - The Boston Red Sox — yes, the Boston Red Sox! — are World Series champions at long, long last. No more curse and no doubt about it. Ridiculed and reviled through decades of defeat, the Red Sox didn't just beat the St. Louis Cardinals, owners of the best record in baseball, they swept them for their first crown since 1918.

Johnny Damon homered on the fourth pitch of the game, Derek Lowe made it stand up and the Red Sox won 3-0 Wednesday night. Edgar Renteria grounded out for the final out, wrapping up a Series in which the Red Sox never trailed.

Chants of "Let's go, Red Sox!" bounced all around Busch Stadium, with Boston fans as revved-up as they were relieved. Only 10 nights earlier, the Red Sox were just three outs from getting swept by the New York Yankees in the AL championship series before becoming the first team in baseball postseason history to overcome a 3-0 deficit.

It was Boston's sixth championship, but the first after 86 years of frustration and futility, after two world wars, the Great Depression, men on the moon, and the rise and fall of the Soviet Union.

After all that, on a night when the moon went dark in a total eclipse, the Red Sox made it look easy.

Gone was the heartbreak of four Game 7 losses since their last title, a drought — some insist it was a curse — that really began after they sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1920.

"We wanted to do it so bad for the city of Boston. To win a World Series with this on our chests — it hasn't been done since 1918," Kevin Millar of the Red Sox said. "So rip up those '1918' posters right now."

Damon's leadoff homer off starter Jason Marquis and Trot Nixon's two-out, two-run double on a 3-0 pitch were all that Lowe needed. Having won the first-round clincher against Anaheim in relief and then winning Game 7 at Yankee Stadium, Lowe blanked the Cards on a mere three hits for seven innings.

Relievers Bronson Arroyo and Alan Embree worked the eighth and Keith Foulke finished it off for his first save.

The Red Sox get to raise the World Series banner next April 11 in the home opener at Fenway Park, with the Yankees in town forced to watch.

Boston became the third straight wild-card team to win it, relying on the guts of Curt Schilling and guile of Pedro Martinez. And they took it in the same year they traded away popular shortstop Nomar Garciaparra.

Led by Series MVP Manny Ramirez, Boston got key contributions from almost everyone. Backup outfielder Dave Roberts did not play in the Series, yet it was his stolen base in the ninth inning of Game 4 in the ALCS that began the comeback against Mariano Rivera.

And while second baseman Mark Bellhorn was born in Boston, no one else on the roster came from anywhere near Beantown. And the only homegrown players on the team are Trot Nixon and rookie Kevin Youkilis.

No matter, this win might make all of them as much a part of New England lore as Plymouth Rock and Paul Revere.

Or, as Red Sox owner John Henry said close to gametime: "People tell me this is the biggest thing since the Revolutionary War."

The Boston win also left no doubt which city is now the most jinxed in baseball. It's Chicago — the Cubs last won it all in 1908, the White Sox in 1917.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals team that led the majors with 105 wins never showed up. The timely hitting, solid pitching and sharp baserunning that served them so well all season completely broke down.

Albert Pujols, Scott Rolen and Jim Edmonds, the meat of the order, combined for just one RBI. Rolen got it on a sacrifice fly, and it was little consolation as he went 0-for-15.

Ramirez, put on waivers in the offseason and nearly traded to Texas for Alex Rodriguez, was 7-for-17 (.412) with a homer and four RBIs. The left fielder's biggest contribution came in Game 3, when he bounced back from a couple of errors to throw out a runner at the plate.

Lowe was loose from the start. While the Cardinals took batting practice, he sat alone in the Boston dugout, his hat backward and singing the little ditty, "If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands."

Lowe was equally relaxed on the mound. He gave up a leadoff single to Tony Womack, then retired 13 straight batters until Renteria doubled in the fifth. Renteria made it to third on a wild pitch, but Lowe fanned John Mabry — who unsuccessfully argued that he tipped strike three — and got Yadier Molina on a routine grounder.

At that point, the Cardinals were going quietly. About the only noise they made came when Molina, a 21-year-old rookie catcher whose two brothers catch for Anaheim, began yapping at Ramirez when the Boston star came to the plate in the fourth.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona quickly rushed out of the dugout to keep things calm.

Best known before this year for being Michael Jordan's manager in the minors, Francona made plenty of wicked smart moves. Oakland's bench coach in 2003, he took over after Grady Little was fired last fall. Baltimore and the White Sox also interviewed the man who managed Philadelphia to losing seasons from 1997-2000.

And while many Boston fans hollered for him to bench the slumping Damon in the ALCS, Francona stuck with him. Damon hit a grand slam and two-run homer in Game 7.

Facing Marquis, Damon yanked a shot over the right-center field wall and before he could circle the bases, the chants of "Let's go, Red Sox!" began echoing from the upper deck.

Damon became the second Boston player to hit a leadoff homer in the Series. The other? Patsy Dougherty, who did it in 1903 for the Americans — renamed the Red Sox five years later.

A single by Ramirez and double by David Ortiz got the Red Sox ramped up again in the third. Pujols threw out Ramirez at the plate, trying to score on a grounder to first base, and a walk loaded the bases with two outs.

Nixon took three straight balls and Francona gambled, giving his good fastball hitter the green light. That's what Nixon got, and he drilled it off the right-center wall for a 3-0 lead.

Notes: Ramirez tied Derek Jeter and Hank Bauer for the longest postseason hitting streak at 17 games. ... Damon hit the 17th leadoff homer in Series history. Jeter (2000) was the last to do it. ... This was Jim Burton's 55th birthday. A rookie in 1975 for Boston, he gave up Joe Morgan's go-ahead single in the ninth inning of Game 7 against Cincinnati. Burton pitched only one more game in the majors. ... The Red Sox led for 34 of the 36 innings. ... Larry Walker put down his first sacrifice since 1991. He bunted in the first inning, but Lowe threw him out. ... Boston teams continued to bedevil St. Louis clubs. The New England Patriots beat the Rams in the 2002 Super Bowl, the Bruins swept the Blues for the 1970 Stanley Cup and the Celtics won their first NBA title by defeating the Hawks in 1957.

October 27, 2004

BoSox Beat Cards to Lead World Series 3-0

Manny Ramirez drove in two runs, including a solo homer, and Pedro Martinez set down 14 straight batters as the Boston Red Sox defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 4-1 Tuesday to move within a victory of their first World Series title since 1918.

Edgar Martinez wins 2004 Roberto Clemente Award

Seattle Mariners veteran Edgar Martinez, one of the best righthanded hitters of his era, was named the 2004 recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award on Tuesday.

Wife of Brett Favre diagnosed with breast cancer

The wife of Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre was diagnosed with breast cancer, yet more bad news in a year full of heartache for the family. Deanna Favre was recently released from Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York after undergoing a lumpectomy.

'Gone With the Wind' Maker Gets Star

LOS ANGELES - Even though he produced "Gone with the Wind" and other movie classics, David O. Selznick never had his own star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame.

That oversight was corrected Tuesday when the Producers Guild sponsored the late producer's star on Hollywood Boulevard, a half-block from Grauman's Chinese theater where many of his films played.

"David Selznick should have been among the first 1,500 names when the Walk of Fame was started in 1960," commented Walk impresario Johnny Grant, adding that the event finally "remedied that unbelievable omission."

Daniel Selznick, who unveiled the star, admitted that "my father's feelings were hurt that he wasn't included."

Two performers from "Gone with the Wind" were among the small gathering in front of the Roosevelt Hotel: Ann Rutherford, who played Scarlett's sister, and Cammee King, the ill-fated young daughter of Scarlett and Rhett Butler.

Rutherford read letters from Olivia de Havilland, the wistful Melanie, Selznick widow Jennifer Jones, and Rhonda Fleming, who was discovered by the producer. "This giant among creators," de Havilland wrote from Paris, "has enriched the lives of generation after generation."

Rutherford was asked if it was true that the actresses in "Gone with the Wind" wore silk petticoats under their hoop skirts. "Absolutely," she replied. "I told David he could save a lot of money if he used flannel petticoats as I did in westerns. He said maybe the audience wouldn't see the petticoats, but the actresses would know they were silk."

Son of pioneer filmmaker Lewis J. Selznick, David Selznick grew up in the movie business and at 29 headed production at RKO studio when "King Kong" was made and Katharine Hepburn became a star. He moved to MGM, run by his father-in-law Louis B. Mayer, and produced "David Copperfield," "Dinner at Eight," "Anna Karenina" and "A Tale of Two Cities."

Selznick formed his own company, brought Alfred Hitchcock and Ingrid Bergman to Hollywood, and made such films as "A Star Is Born," "Rebecca," "Spellbound," "Duel in the Sun" as well as "Gone with the Wind." He died in 1965.

October 26, 2004

Opera Star Robert Merrill Dies at 85

NEW YORK - Acclaimed singer Robert Merrill, the opera baritone who felt equally comfortable on opening night at the Metropolitan Opera House or opening day at Yankee Stadium, has died. He was 85.

Merrill died Saturday at his home in suburban New York City, family friend Barry Tucker said Monday.

Merrill performed around the country with Tucker's father, tenor Richard Tucker, the younger man said. "My father felt that he had the greatest natural voice that America created," he said.

Merrill, once described in Time magazine as "one of the Met's best baritones," became as well-known to New York Yankees fans for his season-opening rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" — a tradition that began in 1969.

In his 31 consecutive seasons with the Metropolitan Opera, Merrill performed virtually every baritone role in the operatic repertoire.

He earned admiration for his interpretations of dozens of roles, including Escamillo in "Carmen" and Figaro in "The Barber of Seville," reportedly his favorite opera.

Merrill once said opera "is the toughest art of all."

"It's a human instrument," he said. "Your voice, so many words, so much music. ... There's a lot of emotion."

Merrill was known for a velvet-smooth voice. Critics wrote that Merrill "worked hard to polish his natural rich baritone" and that he "noticeably improved each season."

Merrill retired from the Met in 1976 but returned to its stage in 1983, when the company marked its centennial.

"Few leading singers have graced the company with so many performances," Opera News said in 1996. "None have served it with more honor."

Throughout his career, Merrill sang with popular stars ranging from Frank Sinatra to Louis Armstrong, appeared worldwide at music festivals and made numerous recordings. Merrill performed as a soloist with many of the world's great conductors, including Leonard Bernstein. He also appeared for several presidents, including Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy.

He also was a well-established radio and television soloist, beginning his television career on NBC's "Saturday Night Revue" in 1949.

Merrill's lifelong enthusiasm for baseball led to his long tenure at Yankee Stadium, where he sang the national anthem on opening day for three decades.

Merrill, who often appeared in a pinstriped shirt and tattered Yankees necktie, performed the same duty for the Yankees during the World Series, the playoffs and at Old-timers Day.

He took the job seriously and once said he didn't appreciate when singers tried to ad lib with "distortions."

"When you do the anthem, there's a legitimacy to it," Merrill told Newsday in 2000. "I'm bothered by these different interpretations of it."

Yankees team spokesman Howard Rubenstein called Merrill "a true inspiration for us, the ballplayers and all of our fans. ... We dearly miss him."

Merrill made his operatic debut in 1944, singing Amonasro in "Aida" on a Trenton, N.J., stage. He signed on with the Metropolitan Opera in 1945 and debuted there that year as the elder Germont in "La Traviata."

"Mr. Merrill displayed a rich, vigorous baritone, ample in volume, effortlessly and surely produced," critic Robert A. Hague wrote at the time.

Merrill was born June 4, 1919, the son of shoe salesman Abraham Merrill and Lillian Balaban. His mother had an operatic and concert career in Poland before her marriage and guided her son through his early musical training.

Growing up in Brooklyn, Merrill was first inspired by music as a teenager when he saw a Metropolitan Opera performance of "Il Trovatore." The young baritone paid for singing lessons with extra money he earned as a semipro pitcher.

Merrill is survived by his wife, a son, a daughter and grandchildren, Tucker said.

Clinton rises from the sick bay to anoint Kerry

Former President Bill Clinton bounced back from open heart surgery to anoint John Kerry as his successor as Democratic Party champion, eight days before the US election.

October 25, 2004

Schilling Pitches Red Sox to Game 2 Win

Pitching again through pain and seeping blood, Curt Schilling helped Boston move halfway to snaring its most elusive prize: a first World Series championship since 1918.

Kerry Ridicules Bush on Terrorism Remark

President Bush and Sen. John Kerry stayed on the offensive in swing states Sunday as the presidential race entered its final full week. In a television interview, Bush said it is "up in the air" whether the nation can ever be fully safe from another terrorist attack.

October 22, 2004

Hamm gold backed by CAS; protest exhausted

Gymnast Paul Hamm will keep his Olympic gold medal. On Thursday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) rejected Korean gymnast and bronze medalist Yang Tae Young's appeal that the results of the men's individual all-around competition be changed.

October 21, 2004

Cards Top Astros 5-2 to Reach World Series

The best team in baseball now gets a chance to prove it in the World Series. MVP Albert Pujols hit a tying double, Scott Rolen followed with a home run and the St. Louis Cardinals suddenly erupted against Roger Clemens, startling the Houston Astros 5-2.

The Cardinals won! Ick! I hope the Red Sox kick some bird butt.
George Strait Still Tops on U.S. Albums Chart

Country veteran George Strait's "50 Number Ones" hits package ruled the U.S. pop albums chart for a second consecutive week, as new releases from Celine Dion, rapper Mos Def and pop-punk band Sum 41 debuted in the top 10, according to sales data issued Wednesday.

Strait's MCA Nashville set sold 190,000 copies in the week ended Oct. 17, according to tracking firm Nielsen SoundScan, while R&B singer Usher's reissued "Confessions" (LaFace/Zomba) held steady at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 with 176,000 copies.
Red Sox' Anguish and Yankees' Mystique Dissolve in Game 7

They had been reliable caretakers of a cosmic curse, feasting for decades on the gift that kept on giving: Babe Ruth, purchased from the Boston Red Sox in 1920, and all the championship karma he brought with him.

The rules were very simple. The Yankees won and their rivals lost, often painfully, eternal justice for the worst trade in baseball history. The Red Sox still have not won a World Series in 86 years. But they got there last night, playing the Babe's game in the house that he built.

With a barrage of four home runs - all pulled into the right-field seats, where Ruth once took aim - the Red Sox eliminated the Yankees with a 10-3 victory in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium.

The Red Sox became the first team in baseball history to win a best-of-seven series after losing the first three games, and they will play host to the Houston Astros or the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 1 of the World Series at Fenway Park on Saturday. The National League Championship Series is tied, three games apiece, with Game 7 tonight.

For the Yankees, whose $180 million payroll is the highest ever for a baseball team, it was a devastating failure. They had beaten the Red Sox in Game 7 of last October's A.L.C.S., rallying from a three-run deficit to capture an 11-inning thriller. Both teams reloaded in the off-season, and a rematch seemed inevitable.

In Game 4 on Sunday, the Yankees were three outs from a sweep. But Boston came back to win consecutive extra-inning showdowns, then stifled the Yankees behind Curt Schilling on Tuesday.

Last night, Derek Lowe was the pitching star, allowing one hit over six innings despite pitching on two days' rest. And Johnny Damon, the shaggy-haired leadoff man batting .103 through the first six games, slammed two homers and drove in six runs.

The Yankees had done their best to channel their ghosts. Bucky Dent, who homered to slay the Red Sox in 1978, threw the ceremonial first pitch to Yogi Berra. The game was played on Mickey Mantle's birthday. George Steinbrenner, the impatient principal owner, showed up in the clubhouse some six hours before the first pitch, apparently spreading good cheer.

"He was very supportive," Manager Joe Torre said.

The good feelings undoubtedly have passed. Steinbrenner will probably order a reconstruction of the team, which won 101 games during the regular season but folded when it mattered most.

Steinbrenner could pursue Boston's Pedro Martínez, the pending free agent whose relief appearance brought the Yankees their only bit of hope last night.

Martínez took over for the top of the seventh inning with the Red Sox leading by 8-1. The Yankees were trying to pull off the second-biggest comeback in postseason history; in 1929, the Philadelphia A's won Game 4 of the World Series after trailing the Chicago Cubs by eight runs.

The Yankees seemed capable of their own heroics. As the fans screamed, "Who's your daddy?" at Martínez, the Yankees mounted a rally. Hideki Matsui and Bernie Williams started the inning with doubles, and Kenny Lofton singled in a run.

But with the lead cut to 8-3, Martínez fanned pinch-hitter John Olerud with his hardest pitch, a 95-mile-an-hour fastball. A flyout by Miguel Cairo ended the excitement, and Mike Timlin came on for the eighth.

Pinch-hitter Ruben Sierra grounded out to second base with men on first and second for the final out.

The Yankees had not lost four games in a row since April; Boston won three of the games in that streak. To some, including catcher Jorge Posada and Torre, the Yankees seemed tight on their way to Game 7.

"There's no question there's tension," Torre said.

After Game 4, Torre and several players spoke confidently, reminding themselves that they were still in control. But one loss followed another, and before last night's game, Torre told his players the obvious: "We have a game to win today."

For that, they turned to Kevin Brown, a veteran mercenary brought in last winter to replace Roger Clemens and unload Jeff Weaver's contract. But Brown never endeared himself to teammates during the season, and he was hammered in Game 3 at Fenway Park.

Brown came out throwing hard, his second pitch a called strike at 94 miles an hour. But Damon singled to left, past third baseman Alex Rodriguez, and he stole second.

Manny Ramirez hit a low line drive under the glove of shortstop Derek Jeter. Damon took a step back to second, unsure if Jeter would catch it, and took off when it went through. Hideki Matsui made a sidearm relay throw to Jeter, who fired home.

Posada had the plate blocked, and the stadium shook when he tagged out Damon. If the Yankees had momentum, Brown could not sustain it. Ortiz ripped his first pitch into the right-field stands for a two-run homer. Ramirez raised his fist as he rounded second on his trot.

Torre could sense trouble three batters into the second inning. With Brown on his way to walking Bill Mueller, Javier Vazquez got loose in the bullpen. After the Mueller walk, the pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre visited the mound. Then Brown walked the No. 9 hitter, Orlando Cabrera.

Torre emerged from the dugout, and when he took the ball from Brown, he did not even pat him on the back. It is the surest sign of Torre's displeasure. Spike Lee stood and cheered for Brown from his seat behind the Yankees' dugout, but almost everyone else booed as he stalked off the field.

They could not have known how quickly the game would turn, though history might have told them. Vazquez had given up two homers to Damon - one on the second pitch, the other on the first - in a game in June. Posada set up outside and Vazquez threw inside, a danger zone to a left-handed hitter at Yankee Stadium with the bases loaded.

Damon lifted the pitch in the air. It would have been a flyout almost anywhere else, but the ball carried into the first row of seats for a grand slam. One pitch, four runs, and the Yankees were down by 6-0.

Instantly, it was obvious: this would either be a Red Sox triumph, or the most devastating loss in their history. They kept after Vazquez, determined to make it the former.

Vazquez helped them with a leadoff walk to Cabrera in the fourth. Up came Damon, and his next hit went a little farther than his first.

Hacking at another first pitch, Damon buried a two-run homer into the third deck in right field. A fan in a Red Sox cap ended up with the ball, delighted with his souvenir and his team's 8-1 lead.

Vazquez walked two of the next three hitters, and Torre replaced him with Esteban Loaiza. Vazquez - the pitcher imported to replace Andy Pettitte - had walked five, allowed two homers and gotten only six outs.

Brown? Vazquez? Loaiza? Hitters like Kenny Lofton dribbling weak ground balls off Lowe? The fans might have wondered what happened to their Yankees. Even before the game, Torre said that he was looking for the team that won 101 games in the regular season.

Lowe was happy to take the charity. Facing a tired pitcher and needing base runners, the Yankees swung away. After Damon's grand slam, Matsui grounded out on a 2-0 pitch, and Bernie Williams did the same on a 1-0 pitch.

Through five innings, Lowe allowed one hit - a run-scoring single by Jeter - and threw only 59 pitches. He had to face the top of the order in the sixth, and it did not faze him.

Lowe used 10 pitches, getting harmless groundouts from Jeter and Rodriguez and a strikeout from Gary Sheffield. Lowe spun around and posed on the mound, pumping his fist and holding it in front of him - once, then twice.

It was actually happening. The nerd was kissing the homecoming queen. Paper was beating scissors; scissors were beating rock. Charlie Brown was kicking the football. The Red Sox were beating the Yankees for the American League pennant.
Hollywood to remake 1930s classic "The Women"

Hollywood stars Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Sandra Bullock and Ashley Judd are in talks to star in a remake of the classic 1930s social drama "The Women," the industry press said.

Rolling Stones musical icon Mick Jagger will produce the movie for New Line Cinema along with his Jagged Films production partner Victoria Pearman and Christopher Eberts, entertainment industry bible Daily Variety said.

The veteran British rocker front man will also supervise the soundtrack of the film, which will be the third he has produced.

In addition to Tinseltown darlings Ryan, Bening, Bullock and Judd, producers are also in negotiations with Uma Thurman to take a role in the movie, to be written and directed by Diane English.

"The Women" was one of Hollywood's biggest productions of 1939, starring its hottest properties of the day Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford and Rosalind Russell.

The film, directed by George Cukor and based on a play written by Clare Booth Luce, tells the story of a catty socialite whose pals find out that her husband is having an affair with a shop girl.

Hollywood has been planning for years to remake the film, but it is a tough act to follow given the fact that social mores have changed dramatically in the past six decades.

But recent successes of all-female television shows such as "Sex in the City" has reignited the project.

"The original was funny but very mean-spirited," director English said. "It was Luce's attack on her gender.

The catalyst of the story is still one of the women discovering her husband is having an affair, and the reaction of her friends. Unless I screw it up, there's a built-in audience for this movie," she told Variety.
Record-Breaking Red Sox Clinch World Series Berth

NEW YORK - The Boston Red Sox crushed the New York Yankees 10-3 Wednesday to complete an historic comeback victory over their arch-rivals by four games to three in the American League Championship Series.

The Red Sox set up a World Series showdown with the St Louis Cardinals or the Houston Astros after becoming the first team in major league baseball to overturn a three-game deficit to win a best-of-seven series.

The World Series introduced a seven-game series in 1909, interrupted only by nine-game deciders from 1919-21. Championship series in the American and National leagues have been decided over the best of seven games since 1985.

Boston's Johnny Damon clubbed a grand slam in the second inning and a two-run blast in the fourth. David Ortiz, the ALCS MVP, had a two-run homer in the first, Mark Bellhorn added a home run in the eighth and Orlando Cabrera's sacrifice fly scored Trot Nixon in the ninth.

Derek Lowe pitched a one-hitter over six innings.

October 20, 2004

Oscar-winning movie veteran Karl Malden to be honoured

Veteran Oscar-winning US actor Karl Malden will receive a prestigious theatre award at a star-studded ceremony to be held next month, organisers announced.

Malden, 92, will receive the fifth annual Monte Cristo Award, bestowed by the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Connecticut, from superstar Michael Douglas at a gala banquet in Beverly Hills on November 11.

"Karl has been a true mentor to me," Douglas said in a statement. "His strong work ethic; his generosity of spirit; his enduring friendship and support have long guided me both professionally and personally."

A galaxy of stars will turn out to honour the grand old man of stage and screen, including Kirk Douglas, Danny DeVito, Martin Landau and Matthew Broderick.

The annual Monte Cristo Award is bestowed on an artist whose work best exemplifies the excellence and pioneering spirit of the famed, Nobel Prize-winning American playwright Eugene O'Neill.

Previous recipients include actor Jason Robards, playwright Edward Albee, Zoe Caldwell and actor Brian Dennehy.

"You couldn't get any luckier than to be in one of (O'Neill's) plays," Malden said. I was in one of them, "Desire Under The Elms'. It was an honor to play in that show."

Malden won the best supporting actor Academy Award in 1952 for his role opposite screen legend Marlon Brando in "A Streetcar Named Desire."

He played a tough detective in the 1972-76 US television series "The Streets of San Francisco," opposite an up-and-coming young Michael Douglas.
Memorial for Christopher Reeve on Oct. 29

The family of Christopher Reeve will hold a private memorial service for the "Superman" star this month.

The event will be held Oct. 29 at the Juilliard School, where Reeve studied drama, his paralysis foundation announced Tuesday. About 900 guests are expected, the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation said in a statement on its Web site.

Reeve, who was left a quadriplegic after a May 1995 horse riding accident, died Oct. 10 after complications from an infection caused by a bed sore. He was 52.

Reeve's wife, Dana Reeve, posted a letter on the Web site expressing gratitude for the support the family has received.

"We are moved by and sincerely grateful for all these gestures — large and small — for they do make a difference," the letter said.

October 17, 2004

Kerry Talks Economy, Collects Major Endorsement

XENIA, Ohio - Democratic Sen. John Kerry attacked the economic record of President Bush on Saturday and the Senator from Massachusetts was later endorsed by the New York Times.

The Times, in endorsing Kerry, characterized President Bush's presidency as "disastrous" and accused him of "turning the government over to the radical right."

"We are impressed with Mr. Kerry's wide knowledge and clear thinking," the Times said Sundays editions. "He is blessedly willing to reevaluate decisions when conditions change."

Kerry "has qualities that could be the basis for a great chief executive, not just a modest improvement on the incumbent," the newspaper said. "He strikes us, above all, as a man with a strong moral core."

After "examining what the candidates have done in the past, their apparent priorities and their general character," the Times said "we enthusiastically endorse John Kerry for president."

With just 17 days before the Nov. 2 presidential election, Kerry crossed Ohio on a bus in an effort to win a state crucial to both candidates.

"Mr. President, the millions of Americans who have lost jobs on your watch are not 'myths,' they are middle-class families -- and for four years, you've turned your back on them," Kerry told a town hall meeting at a high school.

Kerry was referring to remarks this week by Treasury Secretary John Snow, who said, "Claims like the one that Bush will be the first president to end a term with fewer jobs than when he started are nothing more than 'myths."'


Kerry reeled off statistics to make his case -- Ohio has lost 173,000 Ohio manufacturing jobs since Bush took office in 2001; unemployment rates are higher and 1.3 million Ohio residents lack health insurance.

A Labor Department report earlier this month showed that Bush will go into the election with 821,000 fewer jobs in the country than when he took office.

However, 1.78 million jobs have been added in the past year, the report said.

Bush narrowly won Ohio in 2000. Jimmy Carter in 1976 was the only Democrat to win here in 50 years, and no Republican has ever been elected to the White House without carrying Ohio. Kerry has visited the state 20 times this year in an effort to break the deadlock in local polls, which like national surveys have swung back and forth between the two candidates.

Bush led Kerry 48 percent to 44 percent in the latest Reuters/Zogby poll, released on Saturday. The poll had a 2.9 percentage point margin of error.

Focusing on pocketbook issues, the senator from Massachusetts lambasted Bush for not stemming the outsourcing of U.S. jobs overseas and for giving tax breaks to millionaires and large companies at the expense of working Americans.

Kerry has promised to roll back Bush's tax cut for people making more than $200,000 a year and has pledged not to raise taxes for less well off Americans.

He also criticized the handling of the war in Iraq and said Bush could have done more to avert a flu vaccine shortage caused by problems at a British manufacturer.

Bush campaigned in another crucial state, Florida, and attacked Kerry's record on voting for certain tax increases in the U.S. Senate and on issues like gay marriage and abortion. Bush said Kerry had proposed $2.2 trillion in new spending, "and paying for it would require broad tax increases on small business and the middle class."

Kerry, who will campaign in Florida on Sunday and on Monday, dismissed Bush's comments as "scare tactics."
Pierre Salinger, JFK Press Secretary, Dead

WASHINGTON - Pierre Salinger, who was press secretary to Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, died of a heart attack on Saturday at a hospital near his home in Le Thor, France, his wife told The Washington Post.

Salinger, who was also chief foreign correspondent for ABC News, rose from a newspaper reporter in San Francisco to a top position at the White House before he was 40, the Post reported in Sunday editions.

He was an appointed senator from California for five months, wrote books and became ABC's Paris bureau chief.

Salinger won a number of prestigious journalism prizes, including a George Polk award for his 1981 scoop that the U.S. government was secretly negotiating to free the Americans held hostage by Iran.

Salinger had been ill, his fourth wife, Nicole, told the Post in a telephone interview from their home. They moved there four years ago from London and Washington.

"He was very upset with the electoral system in the States," she told the newspaper. "He said, 'If George Bush is elected president, I will leave the country,' and we did."

Salinger worked for both John and Robert Kennedy on their presidential campaigns, and for George McGovern in 1972. He was White House press secretary from 1961 to 1964 and ran the first live televised presidential news conference in 1961.

He was born in San Francisco to a French-born mother and a father who was a mining engineer, the Post reported.

Salinger enlisted in the Navy at 17 during World War II, finished his degree at the University of San Francisco and then began work at the San Francisco Chronicle.

He worked for Collier's magazine in the mid-1950s before becoming an investigator with Robert Kennedy on the Senate anti-racketeering committee from 1957 to 1959, when he went to work for Sen. John F. Kennedy, according to the newspaper.

In the 1990s, he insisted the public stories on two major airline crashes were wrong.

He said the 1988 crash of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, was a Drug Enforcement Agency operation that went wrong. He also said TWA Flight 800 was shot down near Long Island by a stray Navy missile in 1996.

October 16, 2004

Katharine Hepburn's Household Treasures Bring $5.8 Million from Adoring Fans

Born and reared in Connecticut, actress Katharine Hepburn held on to
the family home and furnishings she grew up with, like any good New
England girl.

A lifetime of fabulous stage and screen stardom never seemed to uproot
the essential true-blue Kate (1907-2003), and Sotheby's catalog,
"Property from the Estate of Katharine Hepburn," for its June 10 and
11 sale seemed to affirm it. So did Hepburn fans worldwide. In the
jammed auction house, on phones, order books, and the Internet, they
bought every scrap of the 695 lots, in a transport of applause, for
$5,856,100. Sotheby's high estimate for the sale was $800,000, the
intrinsic worth of the consignment minus the star power.

From Miss Hepburn's family home in Fenwick, Old Saybrook, Connecticut,
on an arm of land reaching into Long Island Sound, to her 19th-century
New York City townhouse and garden on East 49th Street, or her
pied-<133>-terre in Hollywood, there were no trappings of celebrity or
pretense. Just nice solid Americana and "older things" one might find
at a Sotheby's Arcade sale, or passed down in the family, or just
picked up along the way by the actress in some little antiques shop.

Her Hollywood pied-<133>-terre with Spencer Tracy was even more
understated. So were many of her public comments. "I was fortunate
enough to be born with a set of characteristics that were in public
vogue," the phenomenally talented Miss Hepburn once said of her

"I worked for her from 1972 until she died, and I always called her
`Miss Hepburn,'" her cook and housekeeper, Norah Moore, told M.A.D.
reverently. "She knew me. She trusted me. And she was so good to my
family. If you were sick, she was the first to help. The day my
husband died she brought him a tree branch with bells and angels for
Christmas. It was a beautiful tribute to my husband," she said.

Moore, whose American career started as one of 17 waitresses serving
25 people at a homey Rockefeller family Thanksgiving dinner, said
obliquely, "We always dressed for dinner at Miss Hepburn's.

"Miss Hepburn liked plain cookingâ??leg of lamb, filet mignon. Soup
every day for lunch or dinner. Bean soup, vegetable, or zucchini soup.
And every night five vegetables. And potatoes. She was very New
England about the potatoes.

"We had lots of people for dinnerâ??Irene Selznick, Warren Beatty. Miss
Hepburn was older than them. But he treated her so good. Everyone
should have a son like him.

"George Cukor always came to the kitchen to thank me. So did
Christopher Reeve and Robert Wagner and Betty [Lauren] Bacall and Tony
Harvey. And [gossip columnist] Liz Smith was a darling. They were all
favorite friends and funny. And Miss Hepburn's niece Kathy, she comes
from the old school, from good stock.

"After [Spencer] Tracy died, Miss Hepburn worked very hard," Moore
said with total sympathy. "She loved him. And she never got over him."

The fans had a hard time getting over him too. They were loath to give
up on the 3 inches bronze portrait head of Spencer Tracy sculpted by
Hepburn in the 1960's. Estimated at $3000/5000, it finally sold to an
anonymous phone bidder for the emotional top-lot $316,000 (including
buyer's premium).

An earlier Hepburn romantic memento, Howard Hughes's circa 1930
courtship gift, a diamond and sapphire jardini<138>re brooch (est.
$15,000/20,000), went in spirited phone bidding to "L051," a Pacific
Northwest collector, at $120,000 and excited applause. "Make sure L051
doesn't hang up," joked Sotheby's auctioneer James Niven (son of actor
David Niven) during the hubbub and laughter.

Another Katharine Hepburn sculpture creation, Angel on a Wave, circa
1960, a bronze figure mounted on green glass shaped like a wave (est.
$2000/4000), brought $90,000 from another smitten fan, along with
overwhelming applause from the packed house. "God Almighty, I can't
believe it," bellowed Niven in mock surprise.

The catalog's biggest surprise to most fans was the large selection of
enchanting sketches and paintings in oil or watercolor by Hepburn
herself, especially seascapes, gulls and sea birds, lighthouses, and
sailboats, all loved by a girl who grew up on the water and responded
to it always.

Her first two paintings were two casual Nassau harbor views painted on
Howard Hughes's yacht in 1937. The story goes that she picked up a
paintbrush to kill some time and continued to paint for the rest of
her life wherever she worked or traveled. The first Nassau oil on
canvas brought $11,400 from an on-line Internet bidder. The second
went at $10,200. Each was estimated at $1000/1500.

Furniture of course brought much stronger bids than normal. A circa
1900 painted dresser brought $6600 (est. $700/900). A 19th-century
carved American eagle ornament sold for $7200 (est. $800/1200). A
damaged Chippendale style mahogany slant-front desk went at $36,000
(est. $500/700) with applause. An entrancing miniature long-case
clock, circa 1900, brought $10,800 (est. $800/1200).

Acting and film memorabilia, costumes, clothes, awards, and anything
involving Hepburn and Tracy all tugged successfully at fans' hearts
and wallets.

The so-called "Spencer Tracy rocking chair" at Hepburn's Hollywood
house was restored especially for Tracy from an old frame with springs
the actress found in "an old wreck of a shop on Olvera Street." It was
recalled lovingly in her autobiography, Me: Stories of My Life.
Estimated at $800/1200, the chair moved on to a new refuge for $9600.

Special treasures were bought anonymously by their makers or by
celebritiesâ??a few of whom later went public. The French Louis Vuitton
luggage company spent $16,800 for the wardrobe trunk from Hepburn's
matched vintage Vuitton brown luggage set. It is slated for its
private museum.

Two of Hepburn's favorite brown British Burberry vests sold to
Burberry clothiers for its archives, at $2100 and $9000. Gertrude, the
red canoe from the Katharine Hepburn-Henry Fonda film On Golden Pond,
sold to entertainer Wayne Newton for $19,200. A group of three black
velour hats went to novelist Danielle Steele at $3600.

Hepburn's manuscript for her autobiography sold for $20,400 to a fan.
All told, everything went to someone who admired her and loved her and
felt a little bit closer by owning something that was hers.

October 13, 2004

Veronica Lake's Reputed Remains Resurface

With her peek-a-boo blond hairdo and sultry looks, Veronica Lake was the "it-girl" of the 1940s silver screen. When she died penniless three decades later, her ashes sat anonymously in a funeral home for nearly three years before they were scattered off the Florida coast. Or were they?

Far from the Hollywood hills and many miles north of Miami, Lake's reputed remains have resurfaced in a Catskills antique store. The quirky little shop plans a homage to the late star on Saturday, with a look-alike contest, "Peek-A-Boo" cookies — and a spoonful of the actress' purported ashes taking center stage.

While questions about the ashes' authenticity hang over the event like Lake's signature hairstyle, the boutique's owner is convinced they are the real thing.

"It's a strange little footnote to a fascinating legacy," said Laura Levine, owner of Homer and Langley's Mystery Spot in Phoenicia, N.Y. "I'm a huge fan of Veronica Lake. I just think she's brilliant, gorgeous, incredibly talented and underappreciated."

Lake was once one of Hollywood's brightest lights, a contemporary of Oscar winners Ingrid Bergman and Joan Crawford, a co-star with Alan Ladd in the film noirs "This Gun for Hire" and "The Glass Key," and with Joel McCrea in Preston Sturges' "Sullivan's Travels."

Her hairstyle, with long locks cascading over her right eye, was so popular that U.S. officials asked her to change it during World War II, fearing the 'do might cause workplace accidents among women on assembly lines.

Kim Basinger's Oscar-winning call girl character in 1998's "L.A. Confidential" was based on Lake.

But when the actress died in her early 50s on July 7, 1973, she was an entertainment footnote. She was working as a New York cocktail waitress, drinking heavily and married to her fourth husband, a commercial fisherman known as "Captain Bob."

Her sparsely attended Manhattan memorial service was paid for by a friend, veteran ghostwriter Donald Bain, who penned Lake's autobiography. Not even her ashes made the event; they were stored at a Burlington, Vt., funeral home in a squabble over money, as best Bain can remember.

The remains remained there until March 1976, when two friends volunteered to bring Lake's ashes to Florida. Bain sent the funeral home $200 to cover the back storage fees, and the ashes were shipped to the Park Avenue residence of Lake confidante William Roos.

Roos and pal Dick Toman took the ashes south for their ceremonial deposit in the water off Miami, just as Lake had once requested.

Mission accomplished. Or so Bain thought.

The years passed, Toman died, Roos fell out of touch with Bain — and then, 28 years later, Lake's ashes reappeared, along with an odd story of ownership.

According to Lake's current keeper, Larry Brill, off-Broadway producer Ben Bagley saw the urn with Lake's ashes while visiting Roos and became enamored of the attractive container. Roos, for reasons unexplained, later sent along the ashes to Bagley without the urn, said Brill.

A disappointed Bagley promptly poured the remains into a manila envelope and mailed them to Brill in about 1979. The amount was so small that it was clearly not all of her remains, suggesting that Roos might have saved some of the ashes as a keepsake.

"I have no reason not to believe the ashes are Veronica Lake," said Brill, 65, a graphic designer and Lake fan. "Benny's not going to dump some stranger's ashes in an envelope."

Bagley died in 1998, and neither Brill nor Bain knows what became of Roos. That leaves Bain as the last skeptical voice.

"How do you know these aren't the ashes of a dog from the vet?" wondered the author of more than 80 books, including the "Murder She Wrote" mystery series under the Jessica Fletcher pseudonym and the amorous adventures of two swinging stewardesses in "Coffee, Tea or Me?"

Brill, who spends his weekends in the Catskills, brought the ashes to Levine's store this summer. They quickly found a place among the shop's garden gnomes, vintage clothing and paint-by-number art, and inspired the October tribute.

Brill plans to take the ashes back to Manhattan afterward, and said he was considering offers for the ashes from potential buyers.

"What am I going to do, leave it to my 13-year-old kid?" Brill said. "My kid could care less. He doesn't know who she is."

October 12, 2004

Massive Hepburn Archive a Revelation

Once upon a time, 1974 to be exact, a national magazine of note ran a contest in which Katharine Hepburn was declared the champ and was asked to accept her prize in person.

Big mistake. She refused, of course, which apparently caused a major kerfuffle ("How do we explain this?") despite the fact the great Kate was already well known to slavishly avoid premieres, publicity junkets and, especially, events where prizes are dispensed. (It's worth noting that despite her appreciation of the Oscars, she never attended any of the 12 times she was a nominee, thus wasn't present any of the four times she won.)

In 1974, her saying no to the magazine prompted a classic Hepburn retort that is part of the more than 100 boxes of rare letters, memos, telegrams and other treasures that the Hepburn estate has given to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to guard, catalog and eventually make available to scholars.

Wrote Hepburn: "I am sorry I have caused a commotion, but I do think that awards of almost every sort are being used as a means of advertising -- the winner the victim, rather than the honored one. In this case Clairol backs the event, reaps the publicity. Ladies Home Journal runs the contest, dramatizes the importance, corrals the desirable victims, exhibits them (free of charge) doing their thing on a national hookup, reaps the publicity. Now, some of the victims may like it because it publicizes a pet project. Others, like me, look upon it exactly what it is: false -- blown up into a big to-do, but false. At this rate, any honor in this country will become suspect. Sell, Sell. Hence my attitude. (Signed) Katharine Hepburn. P.S. Just ask the victims whether they care to be part of such a scheme. Then people who feel as I do won't be forced to behave like pigs."

It is, indeed, classic Hepburn -- pithy, to the point, unvarnished and, many will agree, true on all points. The letter is but a minuscule part of the enormous Hepburn archive that was previewed to guests last Thursday at the Academy's Margaret Herrick Library in Beverly Hills, with those four Oscars she received (for work in 1932-33, '67, '68 and '81) visiting as well, all of it a feast for the eyes (gorgeous posters and family photos and remarkable portraits by George Hurrell, Clarence Bull, etc., along with annotated scripts, press books and magazines bearing Hepburn covers) and the senses (telegrams sent by everyone from Harpo Marx and Myrna Loy to Spencer Tracy and Howard Hughes).

One would need an extra lifetime to be able to properly absorb it all; the Academy's esteemed archivists assure me that what was shown Thursday is but a tiny sampling of what the collection encompasses.

The following night the salute continued at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills with a panel of Hepburn friends, co-workers, confidants (Fay Kanin, Mark Rydell, Michael Feinstein, James Prideaux and K.H.'s niece Katharine Houghton) discussing the remarkable lady, climaxed by a screening of a newly restored print of Hepburn's 1955 David Lean-directed "Summertime."

All this launches a four-week, eight-film retrospective of Hepburn films at the Academy's new 300-seat Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood, and if you live in Los Angeles, nothing should keep you away. Great films, great star, great setting. For movie devotees, who could ask for anything more?
Cornelius joins staff

In our ongoing efforts to provide subscribers with the best coverage of men's AND women's sports at the University of Tennessee, Rocky Top News and InsideTennessee.com proudly announce the hiring of Maria M. Cornelius.

Maria will cover the Lady Vols' 2004-05 basketball season, beginning the first day of practice Oct. 16. She will attend practices and home games; listen in on Coach Pat Summitt's weekly press conferences; provide pre-game stories and post-game columns; interview players and assistant coaches throughout the season; and cover the post-season SEC and NCAA tournaments. Her features and columns will appear several times a week on the Web site and monthly in Rocky Top News.

The Lady Vols have a devoted following throughout Tennessee and across the nation. In recognition of this devotion we have decided to bring Cornelius on board to cover the program. Cornelius, 42, is passionate about sports and brings her devotion to her work. She has written extensively about the Lady Vols for newspapers and sports magazines.

She worked for 14 years for The Knoxville News-Sentinel as an award-winning reporter and news editor and wrote a Web-exclusive column on the Lady Vols that was distributed across the country. Born in Massachusetts and raised in North Carolina, Maria has claimed Tennessee as her home state since 1982. The 1987 graduate of the University of Memphis has lived in Knoxville for more than 16 years.

October 11, 2004

Actor Christopher Reeve Dies of Heart Failure

NEW YORK - "Superman" actor Christopher Reeve, who became a committed campaigner for spinal cord research after being paralyzed in a riding accident nine years ago, died of heart failure, his publicist said on Monday.


Reeve, 52, went into a coma on Saturday when he suffered a heart attack during treatment for an infected pressure wound and died in Northern Westchester Hospital on Sunday afternoon without regaining consciousness, publicist Wesley Combs said.

Reeve's wife, Dana, issued a statement thanking "the millions of fans around the world who have supported and loved my husband over the years."

Reeve, confined to a wheelchair since his horseback riding accident in 1995, had in recent years used his celebrity status to mobilize funds and support for research into the treatment of spinal cord injuries, including the controversial stem cell research that has become an issue in the U.S. presidential election.

Reeve's family asked that donations be made in his honor to the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, formed in 1999 to boost collaboration between experts working on the problem and to encourage new approaches.

An accomplished rider who owned several horses, Reeve suffered multiple injuries including two shattered neck vertebrae when he was thrown from his horse at an equestrian event in Commonwealth Park in Virginia.

Doctors initially predicted he would never have any feeling or movement below his head. But his foundation's Web site, www.ChristopherReeve.org, said he had experienced a degree of recovery that his doctors considered "remarkable."

Reeve was a strong supporter of the research using human stem cells, which his foundation described as having "enormous therapeutic utility." Whether federal funds should be spent on such research is a issue dividing President Bush, who has limited such research, and his Democratic challenger, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, who supports expanded efforts.


Dr. Wise Young of Rutgers University, who researches spinal cord injuries and treated Reeve, said he was "heartbroken."

"I think more than anything else he taught me the use of two four letter words -- cure and hope," Young said on NBC's "Today" show.

Young said he had been set to see Reeve on Sunday, adding that his former patient would have been sad to miss out on the upcoming election and had been very interested that his bill, the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Act, was moving forward in the U.S. Congress, seeking $300 million for spinal cord research.

"We will have a cure, I think that will be Christopher's legacy. We have to work very hard to make this happen," Young said.

Born on Sept. 25, 1952, in New York City, Reeve attended the city's Juilliard School and graduated from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

He began his acting career in summer stock and appeared on the television soap opera "Love of Life" while still in college.

Reeve debuted on Broadway in "A Matter of Gravity" in 1976, playing Katharine Hepburn's grandson, and later starred in Lanford Wilson's "Fifth of July," in which he portrayed embittered Kenneth Talley, a gay, crippled Vietnam War vet.

Despite his theater credentials and work on television, Reeve is best known as the hero of the "Superman" films.

He was a virtual unknown when he was chosen from 200 candidates to become the big screen's incarnation of 1978's "Superman," in which he played fumbling Clark Kent who at will turns into the flying superhero.

In 1993 he appeared in the Merchant and Ivory hit "The Remains of the Day," which was filmed in the English countryside.

But even there, it was hard to shrug off his super hero image.

"It is very strange to walk into the House and Hound, some pub from the 15th century in the middle of Wilshire someplace, then -- 'Aye, it's Superman, here he comes!"' he said in an 1993 interview on CNN.

Earlier movies included "Gray Lady Down," "Somewhere in Time," "Switching Channels," "The Bostonians" and "Deathtrap."

Reeve and his wife had one son, Will, 12, and he had two children from a previous relationship -- Matthew, 25, and Alexandra, 21.


Reeve's Greatest Role Was as Real-Life 'Superman'

LONDON - Although he will always be remembered for portraying "Superman," the greatest role of actor Christopher Reeve's life was as a champion of sufferers of spinal cord injuries and an advocate of stem cell research.

Unlike the man of steel, he wasn't faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive and he couldn't leap tall buildings in a single bound.

But the courage and determination Reeve displayed in trying to overcome his paralysis from a 1995 horse-riding accident far surpassed any of the feats of the comic book hero.

"He became a real-life Superman. His heroism, his courage was extraordinary," Colin Blakemore, the chief executive of Britain's Medical Research Council, told Reuters.

"Like many people who suffer some terrible injury, Christopher Reeve was reinvented by that experience and brought the kind of energy and enthusiasm that made him successful as a film star to an entirely different issue, with huge effect."

Reeve, 52, died on Sunday of heart failure after having treatment for an infected pressure wound without realizing his dream of walking again.

But in the nine years since his accident, he made personal progress to regain some feeling, established the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, a non-profit research organization, and used his fame to raise millions of dollars for research into spinal cord injuries.

He also provided hope and inspiration to other patients and lobbied for scientists to be allowed to conduct stem cell research in the hopes of eventually curing paralysis and other illnesses such as diabetes and Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

Reeve believed the strict limits by the administration of President Bush on the controversial areas of stem cell research, which he criticized as misguided and inadequate, could eventually be overturned by individual states.

"He has been our champion. If you think of spinal injuries you automatically conjure up a picture of Christopher Reeve," said Paul Smith, executive director of the Spinal Injuries Association in England.

"When it comes down to seeking a solution to a broken spinal cord, I think he has pushed hard and undoubtedly raised a huge amount of money that wouldn't have been there for spinal research. He has definitely made a big difference."

It is because of Reeve that spinal cord injuries and stem cell research are so widely discussed, according to Smith. The fact that it happened to Reeve showed it can affect anyone, even Superman.

Reeve did not live long enough to see whether stem cell research could help restore movement to the paralyzed. The research is still in its early days and no one knows what advances it may bring.

"He pushed the boundaries as far as he could get them to go. I don't think we would have gotten where we are now without him," said Smith.

"If an answer is there and it comes out of stem cell research, then Christopher Reeve will have made his mark in history and will have undoubtedly been one of the people who brought it about," he added.


'Superman' Christopher Reeve Dies at 52

MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. - "Superman" actor Christopher Reeve, who turned personal tragedy into a public crusade and from his wheelchair became the nation's most recognizable spokesman for spinal cord research, has died. He was 52.

Reeve died Sunday of complications from an infection caused by a bedsore. He went into cardiac arrest Saturday, while at his Pound Ridge home, then fell into a coma and died Sunday at a hospital surrounded by his family, his publicist said.

His advocacy for stem cell research helped it emerge as a major campaign issue between President Bush and Sen. John Kerry. His name was even mentioned by Kerry during the second presidential debate on Friday.

In the last week Reeve had developed a serious systemic infection, a common problem for people living with paralysis who develop bedsores and depend on tubes and other medical devices needed for their care. He entered the hospital Saturday.

Dana Reeve thanked her husband's personal staff of nurses and aides, "as well as the millions of fans from around the world."

"He put up with a lot," his mother, Barbara Johnson, told the syndicated television show "The Insider." "I'm glad that he is free of all those tubes."

Before the 1995 horse-riding accident that caused his paralysis, Reeve's athletic, 6-foot-4-inch frame and love of adventure made him a natural choice for the title role in the first "Superman" movie in 1978. He insisted on performing his own stunts.

"Look, I've flown, I've become evil, loved, stopped and turned the world backward, I've faced my peers, I've befriended children and small animals and I've rescued cats from trees," Reeve told the Los Angeles Times in 1983, just before the release of the third "Superman" movie. "What else is there left for Superman to do that hasn't been done?"

Though he owed his fame to it, Reeve made a concerted effort to, as he often put it, "escape the cape." He played an embittered, crippled Vietnam veteran in the 1980 Broadway play "Fifth of July," a lovestruck time-traveler in the 1980 movie "Somewhere in Time," and an aspiring playwright in the 1982 suspense thriller "Deathtrap."

More recent films included John Carpenter's "Village of the Damned," and the HBO movies "Above Suspicion" and "In the Gloaming," which he directed. Among his other film credits are "The Remains of the Day," "The Aviator," and "Morning Glory."

Reeve's life changed completely after he broke his neck in May 1995 when he was thrown from his horse during an equestrian competition in Culpeper, Va.

Enduring months of therapy to allow him to breathe for longer and longer periods without a respirator, Reeve emerged to lobby Congress for better insurance protection against catastrophic injury. He moved an Academy Award audience to tears with a call for more films about social issues.

"Hollywood needs to do more," he said in the 1996 Oscar awards appearance. "Let's continue to take risks. Let's tackle the issues. In many ways our film community can do it better than anyone else."

He returned to directing, and even returned to acting in a 1998 production of "Rear Window," a modern update of the Hitchcock thriller about a man in a wheelchair who is convinced a neighbor has been murdered. Reeve won a Screen Actors Guild award for best actor in a TV movie or miniseries.

"I was worried that only acting with my voice and my face, I might not be able to communicate effectively enough to tell the story," Reeve said. "But I was surprised to find that if I really concentrated, and just let the thoughts happen, that they would read on my face."

Reeve also made several guest appearances on the WB series "Smallville" as Dr. Swann, a scientist who gave the teenage Clark Kent insight into his future as Superman.

In 2000, Reeve was able to move his index finger, and a specialized workout regimen made his legs and arms stronger. With rigorous therapy, involving repeated electrical stimulation of the muscles, he also regained sensation in other parts of his body. He vowed to walk again.

"I refuse to allow a disability to determine how I live my life. I don't mean to be reckless, but setting a goal that seems a bit daunting actually is very helpful toward recovery," Reeve said.

Dr. John McDonald treated Reeve as director of the Spinal Cord Injury Program at Washington University in St. Louis. He called Reeve "one of the most intense individuals I've ever met in my life."

"Before him there was really no hope," McDonald said. "If you had a spinal cord injury like his there was not much that could be done, but he's changed all that. He's demonstrated that there is hope and that there are things that can be done."

Dr. Raymond Onders, who implanted electrodes in Reeve's diaphragm in a groundbreaking surgery to help him breathe, said the sore that led to the infection was not Reeve's only recent health problem.

"Many different problems develop after nine years of being dependent on a ventilator, not being able to move yourself, having intestinal problems. ... It just slowly builds up over the years," Onders told ABC's "Good Morning America."

Reeve was born Sept. 25, 1952, in New York City, son of a novelist and a newspaper reporter. About age 10, he made his first stage appearance — in Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Yeoman of the Guard" at a theater in Princeton, N.J.

After graduating from Cornell University in 1974, he landed a part as coldhearted bigamist Ben Harper on the soap opera "Love of Life." He also performed frequently on stage, winning his first Broadway role as the grandson of Katharine Hepburn's character in "A Matter of Gravity."

Reeve's first movie role was a minor one in the submarine disaster movie "Gray Lady Down," released in 1978. "Superman" soon followed. Reeve was selected for the role from among about 200 aspirants.

While filming "Superman" in London, Reeve met modeling agency co-founder Gae Exton, and the two began a relationship that lasted several years. They had a son and a daughter, but never wed.

Reeve later married Dana Morosini; they had one son, Will, 12. Reeve also is survived by his mother, Barbara Johnson; his father, Franklin Reeve; his brother, Benjamin Reeve; and the children from his relationship with Exton, Matthew, 25, and Alexandra, 21.

Funeral plans were not immediately announced.

In his 1998 book, "Still Me," he recalled that after the accident, when he contemplating giving up, his wife told him: "I want you to know that I'll be with you for the long haul, no matter what. You're still you. And I love you."

His children helped, too, he told interviewer Barbara Walters.

"I could see how much they needed me and wanted me ... and how lucky we all are and that my brain is on straight."
Steroid user Caminiti dies of a heart attack

WASHINGTON - Former Major League Baseball all-star Ken Caminiti, who admitted taking steroids to boost his playing career, died Sunday of a heart attack. He was 41.

The ex-MVP of the National League in 1996 and gold glove winner was selected to the all-star team three times.

But he struggled to find his place in society once his Major League Baseball playing days ended three years ago.

He blasted 239 homers and 983 RBI and was a .272 career hitter. His best season came in 1996, when he hit 40 home runs and 130 RBI for the San Diego Padres .

The much travelled Caminiti played for Atlanta, Houston, San Diego and Texas.

Caminiti become the first American baseball player to publicly admit using steroids in 2002.

"It's no secret what's going on in baseball," said Caminiti, who retired in 2001 after 15 years in the major leagues.

"At least half the guys are using (steroids). They talk about it. They joke about it with each other."

Caminiti said he used steroids for about eight years after injuring his shoulder as a member of the San Diego Padres.

"I got really strong, really quick. I pulled a lot of muscles. I broke down a lot," he said.

Caminiti's best season was 1996 when, at age 33, he hit 40 homers had 130 runs batted in and a .326 batting average.

He said the steroid use was catching up to him.

"My tendons and ligaments got all torn up. My muscles got too strong for my tendons and ligaments.

"And now my body's not producing testosterone. You know what that's like? You get lethargic. You get depressed. It's terrible."

Caminiti is the latest athlete to die at a young age after admitting to using performance enhancing drugs.

Baseball implemented recent changes to its drug testing policies which critics have called too lax.

Caminiti is just the latest professional athlete to die after admitting steroid use.

Former National Football League star Lyle Alzado attributed excessive steroid use to the brain cancer that killed him.

Alzado, who played from 1971-85, died at 43 on May 14, 1992. He, who played for Los Angeles, Denver and Cleveland, insisted that almost 20 years of steroid use was the major contributing factor.

October 10, 2004

Highlights of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry

Some of the highlights in the rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees:

Jan. 3, 1920-- Red Sox owner Harry Frazee sells Babe Ruth to the Yankees, two years after Ruth helped Boston win its last World Series title.

May 30, 1938-- Red Sox player-manager Joe Cronin and New York outfielder Jake Powell fight on the field and beneath the stands before a Yankee Stadium record crowd of 83,533. Both are fined and suspended for 10 days.

1941-- Ted Williams bats .406 for the Red Sox, the last .400 season in the major leagues. But Joe DiMaggio's record 56-game hitting streak carries him past Williams for the AL MVP Award. The Yankees win their fifth World Series title in six years.

Oct. 1-2, 1949-- An epic pennant race between the teams comes down to the last weekend of the season, when New York beats Boston at Yankee Stadium on the final two days to win the AL by one game. The Yankees go on to the first of a record five consecutive World Series championships.

May 24, 1952-- Jimmy Piersall and New York's Billy Martin exchange punches in the tunnel beneath the stands at Fenway Park.

June 21, 1967-- Another fight, this one in the Bronx, after Thad Tillotson hit Boston's Joe Foy with a pitch and Jim Lonborg plunked Tillotson.

Aug. 1, 1973-- Thurman Munson crashes into Boston's Carlton Fisk at home plate, sparking a brawl between the two feisty catchers at Fenway Park.

May 20, 1976-- Lou Piniella barrels into Fisk at the plate in Yankee Stadium, and Red Sox pitcher Bill Lee cracks his collarbone in the subsequent fight.

Oct. 2, 1978-- Light-hitting shortstop Bucky Dent's pop fly clears the Green Monster, sending the Yankees to a comeback victory in a one-game playoff for the AL East crown after they trailed Boston by 14 games on July 19.

Oct. 16, 1999-- Pedro Martinez and the Red Sox rout their former ace, Roger Clemens, 13-1 at Fenway Park to win Game 3 of the AL championship series. New York won the series 4-1.

Oct. 11, 2003-- Yankees bench coach and former Red Sox manager Don Zimmer lunges at Martinez, who throws the 73-year-old coach to the ground during a brawl in Game 3 of the ALCS. Later in the game, New York reliever Jeff Nelson and right fielder Karim Garcia get into a fight with a Fenway Park groundskeeper after he cheered for Boston in the Yankees' bullpen.

Oct. 16, 2003-- The Yankees rally to tie Game 7 of the ALCS after Red Sox manager Grady Little decides not to remove a tiring Martinez in the eighth inning. Slumping third baseman Aaron Boone homers off Tim Wakefield in the 11th to send the Yankees to the World Series.

Dec. 18, 2003-- The Red Sox fail to complete a trade with Texas for star shortstop Alex Rodriguez after the players' union vetoes a proposal to restructure his record $252 million, 10-year contract.

Feb. 16, 2004-- After Boone injures his left knee playing pickup basketball on Jan. 16, the Yankees trade Alfonso Soriano to Texas for Rodriguez, who is shifted to third base.

July 24, 2004-- Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek and Rodriguez exchange heated words after A-Rod is hit by a pitch. Varitek shoves Rodriguez in the face, inciting a brawl at Fenway, and the inspired Red Sox rally to win the game on Bill Mueller's ninth-inning homer off Mariano Rivera. It was at least the seventh time the teams have brawled in their long-running feud.


Two people electrocuted at Rivera's Panama home

PANAMA CITY, Panama -- New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera was headed back to Panama on Sunday, a day after two of his wife's relatives were electrocuted while cleaning the pool at his home.

Victor Dario Avila, a cousin of Rivera's wife, Clara, and his 14-year-old son were killed Saturday, Rivera's cousin, Irma Rivera, told The Associated Press.

The teenager, also named Victor Dario Avila, apparently touched an electrical wire while cleaning the pool in Puerto Caimito, 40 miles east of Panama City. His father died trying to save him, Irma Rivera said.

It was not immediately clear when Rivera would return to New York, where the Yankees open the AL championship series Tuesday night against the Boston Red Sox.

Yankees manager Joe Torre was expected to address the matter during Monday's workout at Yankee Stadium. New York advanced by beating Minnesota 6-5 in 11 innings Saturday, with Rivera getting the win.

Avila was a fisherman who also cleaned and maintained Rivera's home. Clara Rivera was traveling to Panama following the accident, family members said.

``Everyone is sad,'' Irma Rivera said. ``Victor was a good man.''

Whalen makes Sun brighter

Six months after she led the University of Minnesota to its first Final Four and turned the state on to women's college basketball, Lindsay Whalen is at it again as a professional.

The WNBA rookie has carried the Connecticut Sun to the franchise's first league championship series, a best-of-three clash with the Seattle Storm that begins tonight at the home of the Eastern Conference champs.

The Sun's playoff run prolongs a whirlwind year of high-stakes hoops and life-altering experiences for Whalen, who is used to the fast lane.

"It's been crazy," she said. "I haven't had a break since the Gophers' season began (last October). I'll be taking some time off when I get home."

Whalen lives in Groton, Conn., but home remains Hutchinson, Minn. And home was where Minnesota Lynx fans hoped Whalen would stay when the WNBA draft rolled around less than a month after the Gophers lost in the NCAA tournament to the eventual champions, the Connecticut Huskies.

The Sun traded all-star Shannon Johnson to San Antonio to move up in the first round and grab Whalen with the fourth overall pick. The Lynx had contemplated trading up from No. 8 to secure Whalen, but the Sun's price of two starters and two first-round picks was too expensive for owner Glen Taylor's taste.

Connecticut coach Mike Thibault had scouted Whalen since last Thanksgiving, and he was ecstatic to bring the talented point guard on board.

"We never had any intention of trading that pick," he said. "She's pretty special, and it was very important that we improved our backcourt. We're happy it's worked out this way. I think she is, too."

"We're in the championship, so it's definitely worked out," Whalen said.

Few would argue, given the results on the floor, where Whalen is heating up at the perfect time for Connecticut.

Whalen leads the Sun in playoff scoring with 15.4 points a game and assists with 4.6 a game. Her 18 points and nine rebounds on Sunday helped the Sun defeat the New York Liberty and clinch the conference title.

"All of us were a little nervous to see what level she'd play at coming in as a rookie, but she really stepped up for us and allowed us to do some great things," forward Nykesha Sales said. "We love to jump on her back and go."

Whalen already had the star credentials when she arrived in Connecticut. A two-time All-America, she electrified Williams Arena for four seasons and helped lead the Gophers to the NCAA tournament three consecutive years after the school had qualified only once before.

But Whalen had to earn the respect of her Connecticut teammates; Thibault said she did by displaying the unselfishness and leadership that made her a college standout.

"It takes time to prove to your teammates and coaches that you can play in this league and be a factor," Whalen said. "Once you reach that point, you can relax and have fun. I feel confident right now."

After the WNBA Finals, Whalen will return to the University of Minnesota to take a break from basketball and finish her academic career. A winter internship will complete her degree in sports management and allow her to watch the Gophers proceed without her.

Whalen was asked to compare the Gophers' magical run to the Final Four to reaching the WNBA Finals in her rookie season.

"It's similar in intensity and that it's something that each team had never done before," she said. "But it's a different feeling from college. It's your job now, and there's pressure. Good pressure. This is why they drafted me.

"It's only my first year. But it's been a great first year. I'm looking forward to the future out here."