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December 17, 2001

Dominique Swain, Jayson Williams, Liz Taylor, Elliott Gould, Deepak Chopra, and more . . .

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Dominique Swain Bares Her Beliefs
It looks like Dominique Swain -- who first gained notoriety as the lead in Lolita, the 1997 film that debuted in the U.S. on Showtime after its pedophilic plot proved too controversial for theater distributors -- isn't shying away from pushing the envelope. The 21-year-old actress is baring all for the latest installment of PETA's "I'd Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur" campaign, which has previously featured Pamela Anderson, Kim Basinger, Cindy Crawford, Melissa Etheridge, and Christy Turlington. The ad features the starlet au naturel, scribbling the mantra on a chalkboard, with a tag line reading KINDNESS IS A CLASS ACT. "I love animals -- I used to wear my ferret as a live stole," says Swain, "and if all I have to do to raise awareness is strip naked, then so be it." Despite the ad's risqué image, PETA has managed to get a high school to host the official unveiling this week in Los Angeles, where an audience of Venice High School students will also watch an anti-fur video hosted by designer Todd Oldham. "It's the opposite end of the spectrum for me," the Lolita star jokes. "Most of my fan base so far has been 50-year-old men." Another party -- co-sponsored by babes-and-beer magazine Gear -- is scheduled to take place soon at Spa.

Jayson Williams: Tipsy at Veruka
NBC basketball commentator and former New Jersey Net Jayson Williams hasn't let an alleged late-night run-in last month with a police officer outside a bar in Branchburg, New Jersey (witnesses say he pushed the cop; Williams insists he didn't), put a crimp in his nightlife. A source tells us that Williams recently shelled out $10,000 in tips in the early-morning hours at Noel Ashman's Veruka. He handed over the wad of cash to a manager and told him to split it among the night's staff. Williams's lawyer, Oscar Holt III, verified the story: "It's the holidays." And that's not all. Holt also confirmed our tipster's story that Williams recently gave $5,000 to about four homeless people outside Veruka a few weeks ago. Holt says, "His friend had just paid him back for a favor, but Jayson said, 'Let me just give it to someone who needs it.' "

Liz Taylor Gets Wiggy With It
People magazine's plan for a museum inside the Time-Life Building was scrapped earlier this year in order to give the space to CNN for use as a studio. But Ann S. Moore, the Time Inc. VP who spearheaded the project, isn't giving up. She expects to open the museum after CNN moves to the new AOL Time Warner headquarters at Columbus Circle sometime in 2004, and hopes that the museum's original opening exhibit -- a display of all eight of Elizabeth Taylor's wedding dresses along with much of her famed jewelry collection -- will be revived, too. "That was the hardest call I had to make," Moore told us at People's Heroes Among Us luncheon last week, "to call Elizabeth Taylor and say, 'Sorry, we don't need your diamonds.' " People didn't take everything Taylor was willing to give, however. Moore says she turned down the actress's offer of 200 of the wigs she stored at her house in Switzerland.

Elliott Gould: Love and the First Degree
Elliott Gould's father, Bernard Goldstein, must be smiling in heaven. Soon after Gould learned that his dad -- who passed away in 1988 -- dropped out of Brooklyn's New Utrecht High School in the 1930s, he also was told about New York State legislation that guarantees a diploma to any veteran of World War II or the Korean War. Gould recently sent a copy of his dad's honorable discharge papers -- he was an Army sharpshooter in WWII -- to New Utrecht. He received the diploma the day after Thanksgiving. "He left school in 1931, and he graduated in 2001," Gould told us with a laugh. "My father wasn't an academic, but he was really sensitive and very talented. I just wanted to give him something that he earned."

Poetry in Motion: We hear that people behind the Families of Freedom Fund, a scholarship program backed by Bill Clinton and Bob Dole for children of September 11 victims, are shopping around a book of poems, written and illustrated by children, about freedom. Actress Hallie Kate Eisenberg, 9, of The Women, and 15-year-old singer Charlotte Church have already signed up to contribute. Court TV's Catherine Crier will select what will be included in the book.

Penetrating Thoughts: Deepak Chopra offered some interesting reflections on war and missiles last week. During Rasa Music founder Donna D'Cruz's party celebrating the release of Chopra's new CD, The Soul of Healing Meditations, and book, The Deeper Wound: Recovering the Soul from Fear and Suffering, at Diane von Furstenberg's studio, the spiritual guru cracked, "You know what a missile reminds you of -- a huge, huge phallic symbol of destruction."

With Catherine Townsend and Aric Chen.


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