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Technology brings stalkers one step closer to celebrities

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July 2, 1997
Web posted at: 5:13 a.m. EDT (0913 GMT)

From Correspondent Jim Moret

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Concerns for the security-conscious celebrity just got greater.

It's common knowledge throughout Los Angeles that vendors offer maps to the stars' homes. But the ultimate list -- the list of the Academy of Television, Arts and Sciences' 9,000 members, including celebrity names, addresses and phone numbers -- was recently stolen from the Academy.

"People don't become members of the Academy thinking that their home addresses and telephone numbers are now going to be distributed to every person in the world," said Calvin E. Davis, attorney for the Academy.

The Academy filed a lawsuit against a mass mailing firm in possession of the list, and a judge ordered it returned immediately. What's unclear, however, is just who else might have obtained the information.


That question may also be moot to anyone with a computer and modem. Web sites on the Internet promise and deliver thousands of celebrities' names and addresses on demand.

"We know the problem exists, and the concern is that it is accessible to so many people," said security consultant Moshe Alon.

Alon, a former member of the Israeli Secret Service, now protects such celebrity clients as Elizabeth Taylor.

"They don't want the security bringing them to the point that they don't have accessibility to the public. But they are very well aware that there are people out there that might hurt them," Alon explains of his celebrity clients.

Real-life bogeyman


Stalking may be the greatest fear.

"Being the victim of a stalker is a hideous and insidious situation," says actress Theresa Saldana. "It never goes away. When someone is after you, it's like the proverbial bogeyman, only it's real life."

Saldana became an activist for victim's rights after she was stalked and stabbed by a crazed fan.

Other celebrities targeted by obsessed admirers include Cher, Justine Bateman, Olivia Newton-John, Sheena Easton and Sharon Gless. Actress Rebecca Shaefer may be the most famous stalking victim. She was murdered by a schizophrenic fan.


Thankfully for many celebrities, California laws are on the victim's side.

"If you are being threatened or stalked at work or at home, no longer do you have to wait until you are attacked before law enforcement can step in and help you," said L.A. District Attorney Gil Garcetti at a press conference last week to announce the formation of a new anti-stalking team.

Still, celebrities and others fear the easy access that today's technology gives the overzealous admirer.

"I don't think that we have more stalkers than we had 10 years ago. They're just getting more sophisticated, and the amount of information they can get through the Internet and other sources is much bigger," Alon says. "It's very easy today to identify celebrities."


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