April 24, 2007

Mike Farrell And Polly Bergen Joins Desperate Housewives

Michael Ausiello reports that veteran actress Polly Bergen has been cast as Lynette’s saucy mother. She’ll first appear in the May 20 season finale to “help” Lynette deal with a life-threatening health crisis. “She shows up smoking and drinking,” says my spy. “It should be a really fun character.” Additionally, M*A*S*H alum Mike Farrell has been tapped to play Victor’s gazillionaire dad (and Gaby’s soon-to-be father-in-law). He’ll also show up in the finale.

April 19, 2007

Barbara Stanwyck Centennial

Actress Kitty Carlisle Hart dies at 96

NEW YORK - Kitty Carlisle Hart, whose long career spanned Broadway, opera, television and film, including the classic Marx Brothers movie "A Night at the Opera," died after a battle with pneumonia, her son said Wednesday. She was 96.

"She passed away peacefully" Tuesday night in her Manhattan apartment, said Christopher Hart, a director-writer-producer who was at her side. "She had such a wonderful life and a great long run. It was a blessing."

Hart was touring the country in her autobiographical one-woman show, "Here's to Life," until the pneumonia struck around Christmas, her son said. Broadway's theaters planned to dim their marquee lights Wednesday in honor of the longtime patron of the arts.

In 1991, she received the National Medal of Arts from the first President Bush. Hart's last gig was a December performance of her show in Atlanta.

David Lewis, Hart's longtime musical director, said she would be remembered "as the grande dame not only of show business but also in her philanthropy and her support for the American musical theater."

Well known for her starring role as Rosa Castaldi in the 1935 comedy "A Night at the Opera," her other film credits included "She Loves Me Not" and "Here Is My Heart," both opposite Bing Crosby; Woody Allen's "Radio Days"; and "Six Degrees of Separation."

But she was probably best known as one of the celebrity panelists on the popular game show "To Tell the Truth." She appeared on the CBS prime-time program from 1956 to 1967 with host Bud Collyer and fellow panelists such as Polly Bergen, Johnny Carson, Bill Cullen and Don Ameche.

The show featured three contestants, all claiming to be the same person, with the panelists quizzing the trio to determine which one was telling the truth. Hart later appeared in daytime and syndicated versions of the show.

"People remember me from television," she once said. "They don't even remember me from `A Night at the Opera.' They have no idea that I played the lead and did all the singing. But they do remember television, particularly `To Tell the Truth.'"

She began her acting career on Broadway in "Champagne Sec" and went on to appear in many other Broadway productions, including the 1984 revival of "On Your Toes." In 1967 she made her operatic debut at the Metropolitan Opera in "Die Fledermaus" and created the role of Lucretia in the American premiere of Benjamin Britten's "Rape of Lucretia."

Hart's late husband was Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Moss Hart, who wrote "You Can't Take It With You" and "The Man Who Came to Dinner" with George S. Kaufman. He won a Tony for directing "My Fair Lady" on Broadway.

Kitty Carlisle Hart's film career began in 1934; in "Murder at the Vanities," she sang "Cocktails for Two," a song later made famous in a spoof by Spike Jones.

"A Night at the Opera" the following year was the Marx Brothers' sixth film and their first for MGM, where they shifted after their career at Paramount sagged at the box office. MGM's Irving Thalberg added more romance to the Marxes' formula, bringing in Hart and Allan Jones to play the young opera singers in love, and the film became a huge hit.

Elegant and sophisticated — with hair, makeup and dress perfectly in place — Hart has been called a "great dame."

In a piece on CBS' "60 Minutes" in 2000, Marie Brenner, author of "Great Dames: What I Learned From Older Women," said: "A great dame is a soldier in high heels. ... They lived through the Depression. They lived through the war. They were tough, intelligent and brassy women."

Discipline ruled Hart's success. She began every day with an exercise routine, even after turning 90.

Hart was born in New Orleans on Sept. 3, 1910. She attended the Sorbonne, the London School of Economics and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.

She and Hart married in 1946 and had two children: Christopher and daughter Catherine. Her husband died in 1961 at 57. In later years, she lived on the next block from Kaufman's daughter, Anne Kaufman Schneider, and the two would confer when a revival of a Kaufman-Hart play was in the offing. In a 2002 Associated Press interview, Schneider called her "my best friend."

She served on the state arts council from 1971 to 1996, including 20 years as its chairwoman. In 1988, she testified in Albany to a legislative committee amid complaints that the council had financed gay-oriented projects.

"We fund art," she said. "We don't fund anyone's point of view."

Hart's special concern for women's role in society led to her appointment as chairwoman of the Statewide Conference of Women and later as special consultant to New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller on women's opportunities. She also moderated a TV series called "Women on the Move."

She served on the board of Empire State College in New York and was an honorary trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art.

Besides her daughter and son, survivors include three grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements were incomplete. "We're working on a terrific memorial," her son said.

Duke hires McCallie from Michigan State

Joanne P. McCallie was hired as Duke's women's basketball coach, leaving Michigan State and following the AP national coach of the year at one of the country's premier programs.

She guided the Spartans to the 2005 national championship game and succeeds Gail Goestenkors, who left for Texas. McCallie informed Michigan State's players of her decision Wednesday and will be introduced at a news conference Friday in Durham, N.C.

"She elevated the Michigan State program to a new level, and we look forward to her continuing the tremendous tradition we have established at Duke," Duke athletic director Joe Alleva said.

The 41-year-old McCallie leaves the Spartans less than a month after signing a new contract that boosted her base salary by about $100,000, and two years after the best season in school history.

Michigan State won a school-record 33 games in 2005 and capped a memorable season by reaching the national championship game. The run earned McCallie the national coach of the year award from The Associated Press.

"The entire McCallie family is absolutely thrilled about the opportunity to serve at Duke," McCallie said. "This has been a dream job of mine for many years. We cannot wait to meet and get to know a team that we are so very impressed by academically, as well as athletically, and by the way (they) carry themselves."

Goestenkors earned the award after leading the Blue Devils to the first 29-0 regular season in school and Atlantic Coast Conference history. Duke finished 32-2 -- an NCAA-record seventh straight 30-win season.

She led Duke to five straight ACC tournament championships from 2000-04, 13 consecutive NCAA tournaments and at least two wins in each appearance in the NCAAs since 1997.

Duke has reached the national championship game twice, most recently in 2006, and finished this season No. 1 in the final AP poll of the season. Now, the Blue Devils are counting on McCallie to help them take the next step -- their first national title.

McCallie -- colloquially known as "Coach P" because of her maiden name, Palombo -- has a career record of 316-148 in 15 seasons at Michigan State and Maine. She leaves Michigan State after going 149-75 in seven seasons there, and reaching the past five NCAA tournaments. The Spartans' season came to an abrupt end with a 70-57 loss to Rutgers in the second round.

"We deeply appreciate the time, energy and effort that Joanne put into building a Big Ten contender and for placing MSU women's basketball on the national map," Michigan State athletic director Ron Mason said. "She has built a solid foundation for the program."

After being rumored as a candidate for several high-profile jobs, McCallie signed a five-year contract worth $500,000 a year plus a possible $143,000 in incentives on March 24 -- coincidentally, the same day Duke's season ended with a last-second loss to those same Scarlet Knights in the regional semifinals.

Shortly after that, Texas offered the job to Goestenkors and she deliberated for about a week before accepting it this month, ending her 15-year run with the Blue Devils. California's Joanne Boyle, a former Duke player, turned down the job last week and agreed to a seven-year contract with the Golden Bears.

McCallie becomes the second straight Duke coach with ties to the state of Michigan. Goestenkors is a Waterford, Mich., native who played at Saginaw Valley State.

April 11, 2007

Van Chancellor is set to coach LSU women

Former Olympic and WNBA coach Van Chancellor will be hired as LSU women's basketball coach, replacing Pokey Chatman, a top athletic department official told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The appointment will be announced at an afternoon news conference on the Baton Rouge, La., campus, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the hiring was not yet announced.

Chatman resigned March 7 amid allegations of inappropriate conduct with a former LSU player when that player was a member of the women's basketball team.

Chancellor was the women's coach at Mississippi from 1978-97 before leading the WNBA
Houston Comets to four straight championships (1997-00). He also coached the U.S. team to a gold medal at the 2004 Olympics and has a 38-0 record in international competition.

Kentucky women's hoops coach DeMoss resigns

LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY -- Less than a week after hiring a men's basketball coach, Kentucky needs someone to run the women's program.

Mickie DeMoss, who held the position of women's coach for the last four years, resigned on Wednesday.

"This was a very difficult decision for me," DeMoss said. "After 30 years of coaching, I just want to step back and reassess what I want to do for the rest of my life. The University of Kentucky has been a wonderful place for me to be a head coach."

Last Friday, the Wildcats hired Billy Gillispie to replace Tubby Smith as men's basketball coach. Now athletics director Mitch Barnhart will conduct a search for DeMoss' replacement.

"I appreciate the effort and energy Mickie put into the growth of our women's basketball program over the last four years," Barnhart said. "Our program is in a very different place than it was before, and that is a credit to Mickie DeMoss and her staff."

DeMoss compiled a record of 71-56 in her four years at the school, including a 20-14 mark this past season.

DeMoss was named Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year in 2005-06 after guiding the Wildcats to a 22-9 record and their first trip to the NCAA Tournament in seven years.

Kentucky also went from averaging 1,694 fans per game prior to DeMoss' arrival to breaking the school record with 5,863 fans per game this past season.

Prior to joining Kentucky, DeMoss served as an assistant under Pat Summitt at Tennessee for 18 seasons.

"I would never rule out a return to coaching again," DeMoss said. "But for me, right now was the best time to step away and figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life."

April 10, 2007

Rutgers team angry but will meet Imus

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - The Rutgers women's basketball team blasted radio host Don Imus Tuesday for "racist and sexist remarks that are deplorable, despicable and abominable" and agreed to meet with the embattled radio host.

Starting Monday, Imus will be suspended for two weeks for calling the players "nappy-headed hos."

Rutgers players, who had not spoken publicly until Tuesday, called his comments insensitive and hurtful — but reserved judgment on whether he should be fired until after they meet him.

"Unless they've given `ho' a whole new definition, that's not what I am," said Kia Vaughn, the team's sophomore center.

Calls for Imus' dismissal have been growing since he made the remarks about the team — which includes eight black women — a day after the team lost the national championship game to Tennessee on April 3.

Rutgers' players and head coach C. Vivian Stringer said Imus' comments took the luster off an incredible season.

"The Rutgers university women's basketball team has made history," said Essence Carson, a junior forward. "We haven't done anything to deserve this controversy, and yet it has taken a toll on us mentally and physically."

Rutgers' athletic director, Robert E. Mulcahy III, thought a meeting with Imus would offer the team's players a chance to listen to him and hear what he has to say. Several players said they wanted to ask the host why he would make such thoughtless statements.

"We all agreed the meeting with Mr. Imus will help," Carson said. "We do hope to get something accomplished during this meeting."

Imus, who has made a career of cranky insults in the morning, was fighting for his job following the joke that by his own admission went "way too far."

Imus, while acknowledging the severity of his mistake, said he just hadn't been thinking when he made the comments. He also said that those who called for his firing without knowing him, his philanthropic work or what his show was about would be making an "ill-informed" choice.

Stringer said her players "are the best this nation has to offer ... young ladies of class, distinction. They are articulate, they are gifted. They are God's representatives in every sense of the word."

She said it's not about the players "as black or nappy-headed. It's about us as a people. When there is not equality for all, or when there has been denied equality for one, there has been denied equality for all."

She further said: "While they worked hard in the classroom and accomplished so much and used their gifts and talents, you know, to bring the smiles and the pride within this state in so many people, we had to experience racist and sexist remarks that are deplorable, despicable, and abominable and unconscionable. It hurts me."

In Washington, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino was asked if
President Bush thought Imus' punishment was strong enough.

"The president believed that the apology was the absolute right thing to do," Perino said Tuesday. "And beyond that, I think that his employer is going to have to make a decision about any action that they take based on it."

"What I did was make a stupid, idiotic mistake in a comedy context," Imus said on his show Tuesday morning, the final week before his suspension starts.

Asked by NBC "Today" host Matt Lauer if he could clean up his act as he promised on Monday, he said, "Well, perhaps I can't." But he added, "I have a history of keeping my word."

Imus said on "Today" that he believed his show should have a regular black cast member and more frequent black guests.

Of the two-week suspension by MSNBC and CBS Radio, he said: "I think it's appropriate, and I am going to try to serve it with some dignity."

The Rev.
Al Sharpton also appeared on "Today" and called the suspension "not nearly enough. I think it is too little, too late." He said presidential candidates and other politicians should refrain from going on Imus' show in the future.

Comic Bill Maher, CBS News political analyst Jeff Greenfield and former Carter administration official Hamilton Jordan all appeared on Imus' show Tuesday.

Imus' radio show originates from WFAN-AM in New York City and is syndicated nationally by Westwood One, both of which are managed by CBS Corp. (MSNBC, which simulcasts the show on cable, is a part of NBC Universal, which is owned by General Electric Co.)

While Imus has used his show to spread insults around — once calling
Colin Powell a "weasel" and other times referring to New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson as a "fat sissy" and former Colorado Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, an American Indian, as "the guy from `F Troop'" — his comments about the Rutgers women crossed the line, Stringer said.

"It is more than the Rutgers women's basketball team. It is all women's athletes. It is all women," said Stringer, the third-winningest women's basketball coach of all time who has taken four teams to the
Final Four.

Many of the women on the team said while they may have wanted to ignore Imus' comments, they felt they had little choice but to address the controversy that had led them to be bombarded with e-mails and calls from friends, family and the media.

The team's players said they hoped the scandal would serve as an opportunity to speak up for women and give a voice to issues such as racism and sexism, but acknowledged that it also served as a reminder of just how much work needed to be done.

"It kind of scars us. We grew up in a world where racism exists, and there's nothing we can do to change that," said Matee Ajavon, another member of the team. "I think that this has scarred me for life."

April 06, 2007

Huggins returns home to West Virginia

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Bob Huggins came home Friday and promised to stay "as long as you people will have me." The return came 30 years after he played his last game as a Mountaineer.

"Thanks for letting me come home," Huggins told a crowd that included Gov. Joe Manchin at West Virginia University's Coliseum. "I've had the greatest times of my life here, and I hope we can have a whole lot more them."

Huggins replaces John Beilein, who left Tuesday to become Michigan's coach.

Huggins' five-year contract guarantees him $800,000 the first year, matching his Kansas State salary. Athletic director Ed Pastilong said Huggins will earn about $5 million, plus incentives, over the five-year period.

Though Huggins had turned down West Virginia once before in 2002, he couldn't refuse his alma mater this time around. He was the first choice to replace Gale Catlett in 2002, but negotiations broke down in the final hours and he wound up staying at Cincinnati.

"I wanted to be here since I was a little kid. Sometimes for whatever reasons it's not the right time," said Huggins, who was born in Morgantown.

"I want to stay here as long as I can do what I'm supposed to do and as long as you people will have me."

Dave Minor, a 56-year-old fan from Shinnston who attended the news conference, said Huggins should stay as long as he remains competitive and enthusiastic.

"If you think you can stay here just because you are from here, it's not going to work," he said.

The 53-year-old Huggins has plenty of history with the Mountaineers. A former captain and two-time academic All-American during his 1975-1977 playing days, Huggins spent the first year of his coaching career here as a graduate assistant.

Basketball under Huggins will be a fast-paced game with a lot of scoring. He stressed the team he's inheriting has "been very well schooled" by Beilein.

"I like to seem them score," Huggins said. "I like to see the ball go in."

Although he's established himself as one of the top college basketball coaches in the nation over the past quarter-century, Huggins is no stranger to controversy.

He spent 16 seasons at Cincinnati, leading the Bearcats to 14 consecutive
NCAA tournaments and one
Final Four. But critics targeted his program for low graduation rates, a series of player arrests and NCAA rules violations that ultimately led to probation and a reduction in scholarships.

Huggins argued the criticism over graduation rates was unfair, but noted the NCAA now does a better job of calculating those rates.

"I think people forget the fact that I graduated magna cum laude," he said. "If I didn't care about academics I wouldn't have had a 3.97. I came from a family of seven kids, and they're all professionals."

Huggins has also had some health issues. He suffered a massive heart attack on the recruiting trail on Sept. 28, 2002.

"Don't I look good? What's wrong with the way I look?" he joked when asked about his current condition. "I'm doing fine. You know, I'm like most of us. I could stand to lose a couple pounds. But you know, I'm doing great."

A DUI arrest in 2004 ultimately led to his dismissal from Cincinnati following the 2004-05 season.

Huggins sat out the 2005-06 season but returned to the sidelines after Kansas State hired him on March 23, 2006.

Huggins had five years remaining on his contract at Kansas State and must pay the school $100,000 for breaking his contract early.

He led the Wildcats to a 23-12 record and a NIT berth in his only season at the school and signed what is thought by many to be the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation.

And he stands just 10 wins shy of 600 career coaching victories.

April 03, 2007

Beilein to leave West Virginia for Michigan

DETROIT - It appears John Beilein will take on the challenge of trying to restore Michigan to basketball glory.

The Detroit Free Press reported Monday that Beilein will leave West Virginia to take the coaching job at Michigan. Neither school has confirmed the hiring.

Beilein, 54, has spent the last five years at West Virginia, guiding the Mountaineers to the NCAA Tournament regional final in 2005, the regional semifinals in 2006 and the National Invitation Tournament title this season.

Michigan has not reached the NCAA Tournament since 1998 and fired coach Tommy Amaker on March 17. Amaker compiled a 108-83 record in six seasons, winning the NIT in 2004.

However, the Wolverines would like to restore the success they enjoyed in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when players such as Gary Grant, Glen Rice, Chris Webber, Jalen Rose and Juwan Howard starred at the school.

Michigan won the national championship in 1989 and lost in back-to-back title games in 1992 and 1993 under coach Steve Fisher.

Beilein's contract at West Virginia is through the 2011-12 season. But it appears Michigan is willing to buy out the deal.

Beilein has compiled a record of 456-267 with four schools - LeMoyne, Canisius, Richmond and West Virginia.

This season, the Mountaineers did not get an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament despite a 22-9 record, including 9-7 in the Big East Conference.

West Virginia was as a top seed in the NIT, where it won five games, including a 78-73 victory over Clemson in Thursday's title game.

The Wolverines were 22-13 this season but just 8-8 in the Big Ten Conference. They suffered a 21-point drubbing at Florida State in the second round of the NIT.

Goestenkors leaving Duke for Texas

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) -- Gail Goestenkors is leaving Duke to coach the Texas women's basketball team, a person with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Goestenkors, 44, built a powerhouse during her 15 seasons at Duke, winning seven Atlantic Coast Conference coach of the year awards and compiling a career record of 396-99.

The person with knowledge of the decision spoke on condition of anonymity because a formal announcement had not yet been made.

Duke guard Abby Waner said a team meeting was scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, but did not know why it was being held.

Goestenkors was widely considered the top candidate to replace Hall of Famer Jody Conradt at Texas after her sudden resignation last month.

The night Conradt retired, Texas officials made it clear they would be willing to pay for a top-notch coach. Conradt earned $550,000 a year. While Goestenkors' salary at Duke is not a public record, it was believed the private school would be unlikely to match a high offer from the Longhorns.

Goestenkors visited the Texas campus last week, when she met with women's athletic director Chris Plonsky and members of the school's search committee and toured the Longhorns' 44,000-square-foot practice facilities.

Goestenkors coached the Blue Devils to four Final Fours and two appearances in the national championship game. Her last Duke team was one of her best -- the Blue Devils ended the regular season ranked No. 1 and held the top overall seed in the NCAA tournament, but were upset in the regional semifinals by Rutgers. Duke ended the season with a 32-2 record.

After Goestenkors visited Austin, Duke held an on-campus rally attended by fans and players to urge her to stay. But Texas is considered one of nation's best programs with its first-rate facilities and a recruiting pipeline to 1,300 Texas high schools.

Goestenkors already has established herself with those schools, signing star senior Lindsey Harding out of the Houston area.

Conradt spent 31 seasons at Texas and won her only national championship in 1986, when the Longhorns went 34-0. She retired with a career record of 900-306 in 38 seasons at Sam Houston State, Texas-Arlington and Texas.

Conradt and Tennessee's Pat Summitt are the only Division I coaches with 900 or more victories, but the Longhorns last made the Final Four in 2003.