People talk 7/11/03

Friday, July 11, 2003

Country singer forced to undergo surgery

LOS ANGELES -- Mickey Gilley, the country music entertainer and entrepreneur whose Texas nightclub spawned the 1980's "Urban Cowboy" craze, underwent emergency surgery for a burst appendix, his publicist said.

Gilley, 67, was about to board his airplane when he was stricken July 3 at the airport in Branson, Mo., where he has a home and theater.

"I just folded up like a dollar bill," Gilley said in a statement Wednesday. "If I'd been in the air, I don't know that I could have landed the plane. The pain was excruciating."

A friend took him to Skaggs Hospital for the operation, spokesman Sandy Brokaw said. Gilley returned to his Branson home Monday.

Gilley said he felt ill a couple days before his appendix burst, but he'd dismissed it as a flu bug and performed at his Mickey Gilley Theatre.

Gary Busey teams up with unknown for series

LOS ANGELES -- Gary Busey didn't know Adam de la Pena from, well, Adam, when the comedy writer approached him about doing a television show based on hanging out together.

De La Pena thought Busey was funny in the 1996 movie "Black Sheep" with Chris Farley and David Spade and figured the 59-year-old actor could do comedy.

"Adam brought me this idea. It had no blueprint, no foundation, no script and no outline. Just imagination," Busey said Wednesday at the Television Critics Association summer gathering. "Where I live, my imagination is big so I thought it would be good."

The result is "I'm With Busey," a Comedy Central show that debuted in June. The duo embark on adventures, including an episode in which Busey gives his protege romance tips. They also attend a driving school and learn self-defense techniques.

Busey has a lot of life lessons to draw on. He was accused of spousal abuse in 2001 by his former wife; he's gone through drug rehabilitation; he had a tumor removed from his sinus cavity in 1997; and he nearly died in a 1988 motorcycle accident.

"I don't feel I'm funny and I'm not trying to be funny, that's what makes it so funny," Busey said. "Some of the standards TV has of restrictions and puritan values are a little bit primitive and this show is going to help us get through that."

Busey was the Oscar-nominated star of the 1978 movie "The Buddy Holly Story." His other films include 1992's "Under Siege" and 1993's "The Firm."

Oscar-winner Connelly not getting many offers

NEW YORK -- Jennifer Connelly says winning an Academy Award for "A Beautiful Mind" hasn't improved her job offers very much.

"There is still a hierarchy, a food chain, that I am not at the top of," Connelly tells Harper's Bazaar in its July issue. "I'm not necessarily the greatest box-office draw."

She won a best-supporting actress Oscar in 2002 for playing the wife of schizophrenic math genius John Forbes Nash (Russell Crowe).

Connelly, who's expecting a child with actor-husband Paul Bettany this summer, said she was delighted to appear in Ang Lee's "The Hulk," though a bit puzzled about how to handle her role.

"Ang didn't want the characters themselves to be conscious of their comic-book world," she said.

Rare Austen first edition auctioned for $36,000

LONDON -- A first edition of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" has sold for $36,000 at a British auction.

The buyer, who wasn't present at Tuesday's auction in Edinburgh, Scotland, was identified only as British.

John Sibbald, book specialist for the auctioneers Lyon and Turnbull, found the three-volume edition among 70 boxes of books from an estate.

Sibbald previously discovered a first edition of "Pride and Prejudice," which sold for $64,000 last year.

Among other items in Tuesday's sale, an uncorrected proof copy of J.K. Rowling's first book, "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" (known in the United States as "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone"), which sold for $4,300. -- From wire reports

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