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O'Donnell pitches in for Reno's election bid



Published: Tue, January 1, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



O'Donnell pitches infor Reno's election bid

MIAMI -- Talk-show host Rosie O'Donnell was host of a $250-per-person fund-raiser Sunday for Janet Reno, the former U.S. attorney general and a Democratic candidate for governor.

"When I heard that she was running, I called up her office and told her I would do any and everything I can," O'Donnell said.

O'Donnell was hoping to raise $50,000 for Reno, one of five Democrats attempting to unseat Gov. Jeb Bush. Asked about her chances of defeating Bush, Reno said bluntly: "I'm going to win."

Both Reno and O'Donnell, a foster parent, said they shared a commitment to helping children. "It's a big problem in the state of Florida. There are over 3,000 children today available for adoption, free for adoption in the state, in foster custody," O'Donnell said. "Chances are they will age out of the system, they will go right into welfare and into prison, so we need to do better for this generation of kids."

'Big Tom' is big newsafter 'Survivor' berth

RICH VALLEY, Va. -- Life in rural Smyth County hasn't been the same since goat farmer "Big" Tom Buchanan made his television debut this fall on CBS's "Survivor: Africa."

Buchanan, 46, finished taping the show months ago, but even his son swears that he doesn't know if his father will win the show's top prize. The network bans Buchanan from talking about "Survivor: Africa" until he is eliminated.

The farmer came home in early September and tried to get back to everyday life.

He makes morning visits to KJ's Kountry Korner for a fried bologna sandwich and a bottle of Mountain Dew. Then, with a cell phone constantly ringing by his side, he works the farm.

Tourists have filtered into the region with the hopes of meeting "Big Tom" and buying one of his autographed T-shirts.

"He's a hoot," Chilhowie resident Cathy Waters said last week as she sorted through T-shirts showing Buchanan on the cover of TV Guide. "Everybody likes him."

"Survivor," which requires contestants to vote out one member each week, is down to Buchanan and four others. The $1 million jackpot will be awarded after the season finale Jan. 10.

New Zealand honorsdirector of 'Rings'

WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- Peter Jackson, director of "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring," was honored by his native New Zealand on Monday.

Jackson, who was named a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, said his award was a "great thing" for New Zealand creativity.

"We're used to the achievements of our sporting heroes being honored, and it's nice to have recognition for the arts and culture. To me that means more than any personal thing," he said.

Today's birthdays

Author J.D. Salinger is 83. Ernest Hollings, D-S.C., chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, is 80. Actor Frank Langella is 62. Musician Country Joe McDonald is 60. Writer-comedian Don Novello is 59. Actor Rick Hurst is 56. Country singer Steve Ripley (The Tractors) is 52. Rapper Grandmaster Flash is 44. Actress Ren Woods is 44. Actress Dedee Pfeiffer is 38.

Actor Morris Chestnut is 33. Actor Verne Troyer is 33. Writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson is 32.

O.J. Simpson hailship-hop as coping tool

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. -- O.J. Simpson says hip-hop music helped him deal with life in the aftermath of his murder trial.

Speaking before a hip-hop concert he was to be host of Sunday, Simpson said he became involved with hip-hop after listening to the music of slain rapper Tupac Shakur.

"He was singing about having these crazy things happening around him, and I could relate to that," Simpson said.

Simpson was acquitted of the 1994 murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, in Los Angeles. He moved to Florida from California after a civil court ordered him to pay $33.5 million in a wrongful death lawsuit.

Simpson said he was angered by the accusations and innuendo being floated by lawyers, so-called experts and the media during the criminal trial.

"I was really bitter. I wanted to scream," he said.

The hip-hop concert was canceled early Monday after only 100 people showed up.




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