People talk 12/06/02

Friday, December 6, 2002

De Niro and pals cause frenzy at military base

TAMPA, Fla. -- The usual military order that pervades U.S. Central Command was immediately suspended when Robert De Niro and friends showed up.

De Niro, who came to visit troops Wednesday at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa and screen his new movie, "Analyze That," brought along co-star Billy Crystal and pal Kevin Spacey.

The trio touched off a frenzy of several hundred uniformed soldiers clamoring for autographs and pictures with the stars.

After meeting with Gen. Tommy Franks, the U.S. Central Command chief who coordinates the war in Afghanistan, the trio took seats under a bayfront pavilion to chat with soldiers, kiss babies and sign uniform caps, dollar bills, DVD cases and anything else thrust at them by the soldiers.

Later, about 1,400 base personnel trooped into a hangar for a sneak peek at "Analyze That," which opens Friday.

The comedy has De Niro and Crystal reprising their 1999 "Analyze This" roles as a neurotic mob boss and his twitchy analyst.

"We need to come support everybody and tell them we're behind them, we're with them," said De Niro, whose Tribeca Film Institute hopes to make a habit of screening new movies at military installations.

'Bachelor' continues charity appearances

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Hundreds of people flocked to a tanning salon to see Aaron Buerge, better known as "The Bachelor."

Two weeks ago, an estimated 26 million people watched the 28-year-old banker from Springfield, Mo., propose to psychologist Helene Eksterowicz, 28, in the finale of the hit ABC reality series.

Since then, Buerge has been traveling the country.

Many of Buerge's appearances have been for charity, including a stop earlier this week in Butler, Mo., to help raise money for a dialysis machine.

"This is 'The Twilight Zone' a little bit," Buerge said Wednesday of his newfound celebrity, which includes a recent phone call from actress Sandra Bullock. "I'm trying hard to keep it in perspective."

Buerge was in Lincoln to help radio station KISS-FM celebrate its second birthday at a tanning salon.

After signing autographs in the afternoon, his evening plans included a dollar-dance benefit.

He said he'll see Eksterowicz this weekend in Springfield for only the fourth time since the show's final taping in September.

He's taking the relationship slowly, he says.

"Our parents have been married for decades," Buerge said. "We only want to get married once."

-- From wire reports

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