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August 12, 2002

Anna Nicole Smith, Jackie Mason, Martha Stewart, Spike Lee, and more . . .

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Anna Nicole Smith Deserves More Credit
Anna Nicole Smith won $88 million from the estate of her late husband, oil tycoon Howard Marshall II, after a protracted legal battle with her stepson, but apparently her credit's still no good. The larger-than-life former Guess model was shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue last week and had already bought about $5,000 worth of St. John and Escada clothes and accessories when she tried charging another $1,000. After one card was declined, she pulled out another, but that one was rejected as well. Smith didn't seem surprised or upset, an onlooker reports, and asked a salesperson to point her in the direction of the nearest ATM. All the while, she was followed by three camera crews who were filming her new reality show on E!, The Anna Nicole Show.

Jackie Mason: That's My Line!
Jackie Mason wasn't laughing after watching Robin Williams's recent HBO special, Robin Williams: Live on Broadway. Mason alleges that Williams ripped off several of his jokes -- including some shtick about the war in Afghanistan, George W. Bush and Tony Blair, and airport security and a routine about dentists. Mason's lawyer, Raoul Felder, has fired off a cease-and-desist letter to HBO, demanding that there be no further broadcasts containing what Mason alleges are his jokes. Felder writes that the 71-year-old comedian "is particularly angry because he writes his own material, and it takes him approximately two years to be able to put the material together for theatrical presentation." A rep for HBO insists that "the situation has been resolved," but declined to say how. Felder said Mason is not going to file suit against HBO or Williams, but warned that he may do so if he feels Williams steals his jokes in the future. Williams's attorney, Gerry Margolis, insists the Oscar winner has done no wrong: "Robin Williams stole nothing from Jackie Mason. He stole nothing from anybody."

Martha Stewart: Still Living
Despite the fact that her company's stock is tanking and she's on an indefinite hiatus from the Early Show because of her ties to ImClone, we hear that Martha Stewart is moving forward on launching yet another spin-off of Martha Stewart Living, along the lines of Martha Stewart Weddings and Martha Stewart Kids. The new title will be devoted to food. She was planning on a November debut, but the date is now up in the air. Stewart's rep declined to comment.

Spike Lee's Walk of Shame
Spike Lee took the NYPD's oath "To Protect and Serve" a little too literally at the premiere of K-19: the Widowmaker. After his friend's car ran out of gas just as they were driving up to the red carpet at the Ziegfeld, the director asked a police officer to get him some gas. When the cop refused, Lee got into a heated argument with several officers. "He kept saying, 'I need you to get me gas,' " an onlooker reports. "Then he stormed off and started yelling into his cell phone." The cops weren't fazed. "Can you believe this shit?" one of them snorted. "Who the hell does he think he is?" After the screening, as others hopped into chauffeured cars for the three-block ride to the after-party at the Russian Tea Room, Lee was spotted walking there with L.A. Lakers star Rick Fox.

Miramax Not Taking Leary Lightly
Miramax lawyers have fired off a letter to Comedy Central asking to know more about the new Denis Leary–produced reality show, Contest Searchlight, in which Leary holds a contest for aspiring writers to create their own sitcom. Comedy Central will air the contest in four episodes, then follow with six episodes of the contest winner's sitcom. Miramax says Contest Searchlight sounds an awful lot like Project Greenlight, the Emmy-nominated HBO series co-produced by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon in which the winner of a script contest won the chance to direct his movie. A Miramax rep cracks, "This was a yellow light, not a red light, from Greenlight to Searchlight." Lenny Clarke, a co–executive producer on Searchlight, says Miramax doesn't scare him. "These people over there make me sick. I saw that show, and it sucks."

IceMan Cometh: We hear Wayne Gretzky may be about to pull a Michael Jordan. The 41-year-old hockey legend -- he holds 61 NHL records and was MVP nine times -- has been training for the past month and has told friends he's seriously thinking about returning to the rink. The Great One retired in 1999 after a twenty-year career that ended with three years as a Ranger. His rep insists he's not looking to make a comeback: "He's getting back into shape, he's lost some weight, but he's not going to start playing again."

With Catherine Townsend.


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