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8 items from 2002

Celebrity Photographer Herb Ritts Dies

27 December 2002 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Celebrity photographer Herb Ritts has died at the age of 50. Ritts, who made his name capturing stars like Madonna and Elzabeth Taylor on film, died in hospital in Los Angeles on Thursday, after suffering complications of pneumonia. The American was best known for his unorthodox pictures, including Taylor with her brain-surgery scar still visible and Superman actor Christopher Reeve wired up in a high-tech wheelchair. Ritts' Los Angeles gallery representative David Fahey says, "He could get people to do things that they were reluctant to do, because in the end it would make a great photograph." Ritts is survived by his partner Erik Hyman, his mother Shirley, brother Rory, and sister Christy. »

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Superman Reeve Hopeful for the Future

29 October 2002 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Superman actor Christopher Reeve is so pleased with his progress that he is certain he will walk again. Reeve, who has been paralyzed since a riding accident in 1995, is confounding medical science by regaining movement. He says, "I'm positive I will walk again." In fact, doctors have been so surprised by the 50-year-old's progress that they want to study him. Reeve recently showed a neuroscientist that he was able to move his finger again and was delighted at the response to his feat. He says, "I showed him my finger movement, and from his reaction you'd have thought I'd just walked on water! He said I should take part in a study, and put aside my other activities - acting, public speaking, writing, travel - in order to focus on exercise, which I did." However, neither Reeve nor scientists can define what is exactly happening in his body. He says, "The physical exercise may be stimulating nerve pathways that remained intact after my injury, but went to sleep through disuse. The other possibility is that the spinal chord - if driven by exercise - can regenerate to some extent. That's the only possible explanation, because there's been no medical intervention." Reeve does realize that because of his wealth he can easily afford treatment denied to others - and thinks this is unfair. He adds, "I've been able to afford things that should be available to everyone, and should be paid for by insurance. I hope my progress will change the way insurance companies work." »

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Woo set to cash big 'Paycheck' for Paramount

22 October 2002 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

John Woo is in negotiations to direct Paramount Pictures' Paycheck for producers John Davis and Michael Hackett. The project is aimed to go into production in February. Paycheck reunites Woo with Paramount, for which he directed the blockbuster feature Mission: Impossible 2, starring Tom Cruise, and Face/Off, a co-production with Buena Vista Pictures that starred Nicolas Cage and John Travolta. Based on a short story by Philip K. Dick, Paycheck is a futuristic tale of a man who has part of his memory erased and begins to find clues to his whereabouts for the past two years. Dean Georgaris adapted the screenplay, which saw Brett Ratner attached to direct. However, Ratner departed the project last month to direct Warner Bros. Pictures' Superman (HR 9/25). Woo, repped by Endeavor, most recently directed MGM's costly flop Windtalkers, starring Cage. Davis is in production on Revolution Studios' Daddy Day Care, starring Eddie Murphy and Anjelica Huston. »

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Douglases Go Blonde

30 September 2002 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Hollywood couple Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones have celebrated their simultaneous birthdays with dramatic new blonde hairstyles. Screen veteran Michael showed off his dyed hair at a joint birthday and charity bash with his Welsh wife and actor pal Christopher Reeve at New York's Marriott Marquis Hotel on Wednesday. Catherine and Michael turned 33 and 58 respectively, while paralyzed Superman hero Reeve welcomed his 50th. Elizabeth Arden spokesmodel Catherine looked to have borrowed some of her hubby's dye as she dazzled revellers with light streaks at the front of her glossy brunette locks. A guest explains, "There were gasps as everyone saw Michael's hair. It was bright blond and certainly gave him a very different look from the one we are all used to." »

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Reeve: I Considered Suicide

26 September 2002 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Brave actor Christopher Reeve considered suicide after the 1995 horse- riding accident which left him paralyzed. The Superman star, 49, has been in a wheelchair since the fall near Charlottesville, Virginia, but recently gained movement in his fingers and toes after years of rehabilitation. Devoted wife Dana explains, "He talked about committing suicide, but it was not serious. It was a thing that couples do, talking about what if this, what if that and this came up even before the accident. In the end, I said, 'Give it two years and if you still feel the same I will help you kill yourself.' I meant it in a salesman type way. You know if anything goes wrong, just bring it back in two years!" Christopher adds, "After those two years of having my wife, children and friends around me there was no way I was going to kill myself." »

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Christopher Reeve Lays Into Bush Over Stem Cell Research

18 September 2002 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Christopher Reeve has blamed George W. Bush for his continuing paralysis - claiming the president has blocked research into stem cell technology which could help him. The Superman star, who was left in a wheelchair after a horse riding accident seven years ago, says Bush has ignored an essential aspect of the US Constitution by paying too much attention to the views of Christians in America who oppose use of stem cells. He says, "We've had a severe violation of the separation of church and state in the handling of what to do about this emerging technology. Imagine if developing a polio vaccine had been a controversial issue. There are religious groups - the Jehova's Witnesses I believe - who think it's a sin to have a blood transfusion. What if the President for some reason decided to listen to them, instead of to the Catholics, which is the group he really listens to in making his decisions about embryonic stem cell research? Where would we be without blood transfusions?" Reeve says he believes trials using stem cell technology would be under way by now if the research had received full US government support. »

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Reeve Can Move His Toes and Fingers

11 September 2002 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Paralyzed actor Christopher Reeve is regaining his senses and can now move some of his fingers and toes. The Superman star, 49, has been in a wheelchair since a horse riding accident near Charlottesville, Virginia in May 1995. Doctors announced today Reeve is progressing well and they believe with his current rate of progress there is a chance he may walk again. Doctors from the Washington University School Of Medicine say Reeve can feel a pin prick over most of his body and is able to distinguish between hot and cold, and sharp and dull sensations. Doctor John McDonald explains, "No one who has suffered an injury as severe as Chris' and failed to have any initial recovery has regained the amount of motor and sensory function he has." Reeve was ecstatic to feel the hugs of his wife Dana and his three children Will, Matthew and Alexandra. He enthuses, "To be able to feel just the lightest touch is really a gift." The star's progress has cost him $420,000 a year in medical bills and therapy which includes electrical muscle stimulations and repetitive motion exercises to restart his motor skills. »

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Margot Kidder Recovers From Accident

28 August 2002 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Troubled actress Margot Kidder has hit more bad luck - she's suffered a broken pelvis in a highway accident in the state of Maine. The 53-year-old actress, who played Lois Lane in the Superman movies of the late 1970s and early '80s, was injured on Sunday when her GMC Yukon hit a raised pavement and rolled over several times. Kidder, who lives in Montana, had been in Maine to host the 15-Minute Festival, a series of original plays staged at the National Theater Workshop Of The Handicapped. She was on her way to Montreal, Canada, when the accident happened. Kidder's friend, David Stuckey, says that the actress - who went bankrupt after a 1990 car crash stopped her from working for two years and also suffered from manic depression in 1996 - won't require surgery but will remain for several days at Waldo County General Hospital in Belfast, Maine. Stuckey says Kidder was in a lot of pain, adding, "But she's in good spirits. She's okay." »

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