People talk 4/16/03

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Ed McMahon settles lawsuit over toxic mold

LOS ANGELES -- Former "Tonight Show" sidekick Ed McMahon settled a lawsuit against the last of several defendants he sued for toxic mold that allegedly sickened him and his wife, killed his pet and made his Beverly Hills mansion unlivable.

McMahon, 80, agreed to accept $230,000 to resolve the dispute, court documents revealed Monday. He'd sued American Equity Insurance Co., two insurance adjusters and several cleanup contractors for $20 million last year, claiming his 8,000-square-foot mansion was ruined.

The other defendants made settlements over the past few months. The settlement reached Friday was paid by Controlled Environmental Solutions.

McMahon filed the lawsuit in April 2002 claiming that a plumbing pipe in his home ruptured in July 2001, flooding his den. The company he hired to clean the mess, Alliance Environmental Group, allegedly painted over the stachybotrus chartarum, and didn't tell him about the mold.

Oscar-winner Moore continues Bush critique

AUSTIN, Texas -- Filmmaker Michael Moore, who slammed President Bush and the U.S.-led war in Iraq during his Oscar acceptance speech, continued his criticism before a university crowd in Bush's home state.

The documentary maker said Monday night that the president's approval ratings are high because the American people rally around their leader after a tragedy, and Bush "is the one occupying the federal land at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue."

But Moore said the United States is at war with Iraq because of the former Texas governor's need to keep the public's eye off his domestic failures as president.

"It's not about the weapons of mass destruction; it's about the weapons of mass distraction," he told 4,400 students and guests at the University of Texas.

Movie buffs nominate actor for honors -- twice

LOS ANGELES -- Arnold Schwarzenegger, who's portrayed robots both killing and kindly, will host an upcoming television special about the top 100 heroes and villains of the screen.

An American Film Institute poll asked voters to choose among 400 nominated characters from American film history and decide which should be considered wicked or virtuous.

Schwarzenegger's T-800 killer robot is nominated twice, once for the attacking character he played in 1984's original "The Terminator," and again for 1991's "Terminator 2: Judgment Day," in which the android he played was a protector.

The show is scheduled for June 3 on CBS and will feature interviews with actors including Kirk Douglas, Susan Sarandon, Kathy Bates, Glenn Close, Harrison Ford, Dennis Hopper and Christopher Reeve.

Actress exaggerates to get soccer film role

WASHINGTON -- When she was being considered for the starring role in "Bend It Like Beckham," Parminder Nagra told the director she had a little experience playing soccer.

She really hadn't.

"It was my first experience in what it was like to play soccer even a little bit," said Nagra, who had to train for two months before filming could start. "There were times I was thinking, 'Why exactly am I doing this?' Fortunately, it has been worth it."

Nagra, 27, and co-star Keira Knightley were in Washington over the weekend to meet pro soccer star Mia Hamm. Knightley's character idolizes Hamm in the film, while Nagra's character is obsessed with Manchester United star David Beckham.

The movie, directed and co-written by Gurinder Chadha, is Britain's top-grossing homegrown film with earnings equivalent to about $17 million. But the thrill of playing the sport didn't last with either of the stars after filming ended two years ago.

Added Nagra: "I've had enough of those smelly shin pads for quite a while."

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