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  CELEBRITY WATCH
Listen to "Celebrity Watch" from CNN Radio's Ken Pauli
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August 1, 2000
Web posted at: 3:33 p.m. EDT (1933 GMT)

Today's buzz stories:

Ben Stein wins convention attention

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PHILADELPHIA -- He was a speechwriter for Presidents Nixon and Ford, and his dad was a prominent presidential adviser. But until he arrived in Philadelphia this week, the star of "Win Ben Stein's Money" had never attended a political convention.

Now Ben Stein's having a fine old time hanging with the Grand Old Party.

"The importance of the convention as a media event and as a political event has diminished dramatically," he told CNN's Showbiz Today. "But the importance of it ... as a source of fun for the people involved in it has increased dramatically. So I see it mainly as a sort of giant Fort Lauderdale weekend for adults."

No one, it seems, is having more fun that Stein, who's become well-known from his popular Comedy Central quiz show.

"Bear in mind, I could not get a date for my senior prom in high school and some friend's sister took pity on me and went with me on a platonic basis," he said. "And now I'm a star, and I like it a lot."

Connie Stevens shares dream with GOP

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LOS ANGELES -- Connie Stevens arrived in Hollywood when she was 15, became a celebrity, and much later made millions from a line of cosmetics.

On Monday, the actress-turned-entrepreneur spoke at the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia. Her topic: the American Dream, and the American dreamer.

"And they got the right one," the one-time star of "77 Sunset Strip" told Showbiz Today.

Stevens, 61, became a single mom after a brief marriage to Eddie Fisher, and eventually had to give up acting. She wound up in Las Vegas, where for years she was a headliner.

Then, one day she looked up at the marquee where she was performing, and that glance changed her life. "It (said) 'Prime rib at $16.95, starring ...' and I said, 'No, I don't think so. I'm out of here.'"

Stevens has learned not to be afraid of failure.

"I've been devastated many times in life," she said. "But it's part of the journey, and I'm looking at the whole picture."

Comedy Central to GOP reporters: Cover zoning instead

PHILADELPHIA -- The way Jon Stewart sees it, Comedy Central's got as good a reason to cover the GOP Convention as anyone.

"We're a fake news organization and this is a fake news event, so I think we're the only people who should be here," the host of the cable network's "The Daily Show" said Monday.

At a press conference, Stewart and his not-quite-correspondents promoted their convention coverage, including a George W. Bush profile called "From Wealth to Riches" and commentary by Bob Dole and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich.

Stewart, Variety reported, encouraged reporters to go find some real news -- at a zoning board meeting in nearby Bucks County. "It's always been about zoning," he said.

Film producer Weintraub injured in bike accident

LOS ANGELES -- Injuries from a bicycle accident forced movie producer Jerry Weintraub to skip the Republican gathering in Philadelphia.

Weintraub, who produced "Diner" (1982) and "The Karate Kid" (1984), broke his shoulder and knee Sunday when he was thrown over the handlebars near his Kennebunkport, Maine, home. He apparently hit something on the highway, publicist Paul Bloch said.

"He's in a tremendous amount of pain," Bloch said.



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