Tolkien exhibit offers insight into trilogy writer

Thursday, December 13, 2001

LONDON -- A new exhibition of letters and manuscripts of J.R.R. Tolkien gives insight into the very private man who wrote "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

Tolkien was a reluctant celebrity, and one of the letters that went on display at The British Library on Tuesday reveals his irritation at the loss of privacy that followed the success of his books -- "The Hobbit" in 1937 and the trilogy in the 1950s.

Tolkien writes about how he is all set to move into a new apartment after his wife's death, but complains he no longer will be protected from "Hoopers, Snoopers, Goopers, press-gangs, phone-bugs, and transatlantic lion hunters and gargoyle-fanciers."

Some of the correspondence comes from notes to his grandson that accompanied Christmas gifts and money, and are written in his ornate, calligraphic hand, using a broad-nibbed pen.

Freddy Fender to get kidney from daughter

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Singer Freddy Fender, who is battling health problems including hepatitis C, will have an operation next month to receive a kidney donated by his 21-year-old daughter.

"It's not that easy to ask someone for an organ," said Fender, who scored the '70s hits "Before the Next Teardrop Falls" and "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights."

The 64-year-old Fender, who lives in Corpus Christi, Texas, said Tuesday that he also needs a liver transplant because of cirrhosis. Doctors would like to do both operations at once to keep trauma to his body to a minimum, but he can no longer wait for a liver to become available.

Fender has dialysis every other day, and without a transplant, he will soon need it every day, said his publicist Kirt Webster of Nashville.

The transplant is scheduled for January at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio.

Clooney calls early films repeat of TV errors

LOS ANGELES -- After 10 years of trying, George Clooney vaulted from television to the big screen. Then he immediately started repeating mistakes that had kept him struggling in mediocre television for so long.

Clooney said he always called himself a film actor even when he had done mostly television. After losing out on a big film part, he concluded, "You know what? I am a television actor. That's where I've succeeded, and there's nothing wrong with that. So I decided I had to do better television," Clooney said.

Clooney fought hard for "ER," the NBC series that launched him to stardom and opened doors for his movie career in the mid-1990s.

Randy Travis takes roles in TV, movie

LOS ANGELES -- Randy Travis has tried his hand at acting lately, co-starring in the Western movie "Texas Rangers" and in episodes of the CBS drama "Touched by an Angel."

But that hasn't kept the country singer away from music.

"We have started recording one country album, another gospel album," he told AP Radio. "We have not finished either one, still looking for material. I'm also in the process of writing some."

Travis, 42, said he can write pretty much anywhere, anytime.

"I don't need anything really -- a little quiet time. Sometimes it's there, sometimes it's not," he said.

--From wire reports

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