Fighting Parkinson's: No Spin Here
* "I don't feel victimized," Michael J. Fox told us yesterday about being afflicted with Parkinson's disease at age 38. "I don't want or expect or tolerate much pity, and nobody else that I've met in this community does either." Fox's "community" includes the million Americans who suffer from the degenerative neurological disorder--among them Attorney General Janet Reno and boxing great Muhammad Ali. "This is an incredibly winnable situation," said Fox, whose Parkinson's was diagnosed in 1991. "Scientists say this is probably the most curable neurological illness. It's just a matter of these guys getting consistent funding."
Today, Fox testifies before a Senate subcommittee on the need for more research dollars. "I'm doing okay. It's a daily thing," said Fox, who has three children with actress-wife Tracy Pollan. "There's a rigidity, a stiffness and a kind of exhaustion that I deal with. You kind of schedule your exertion very carefully"--such as producing and starring in the ABC sitcom "Spin City." "In a lot of ways, I'm like in my late fifties, physically."
Last year, Fox underwent four hours of successful surgery in which doctors created a lesion in the area of his brain that was producing violent tremors along the left side of his body. While the symptoms have decreased, he still depends on a regimen of drugs, mainly Sinemet. Many Parkinson's sufferers end up in wheelchairs, but Fox told us: "I'm going to keep going. I'm certainly going to work for a couple more years on the show. . . . I kind of wake up each day and see how much energy I have and see what I can do."
Myers and Amanpour: The Stork Club
Other than being celebrated and accomplished women, what do Dee Dee Myers and Christiane Amanpour have in common? On the face of it, not much: Myers, 38, is a former Clinton White House press secretary, and Amanpour, 41, does double duty as CNN's chief international correspondent and a CBS "60 Minutes" star. But here's one answer: Both are about three months pregnant.
Myers and husband Todd Purdum, Los Angeles bureau chief for the New York Times, and Amanpour and husband Jamie Rubin, assistant secretary of state for public affairs, have been confiding their happy news to various friends who, in turn, blabbed to The Source. Myers--a lecture circuit regular, Vanity Fair contributing editor and trustee of California State University--wouldn't directly address her impending motherhood when we reached her in Los Angeles. But she did tell us, amid chewing noises, "no ice cream, but I'm eating a pickle--and it tastes really great."
We especially applaud the wildly peripatetic Amanpour, who's based in London, and Rubin, who lives here, for managing to produce this result. They joke that they see each other so little, they call their get-togethers "conjugal visits." Both CBS and CNN, which might expect to see less of Amanpour once she's a mom, made positive noises yesterday. "60 Minutes" honcho Don Hewitt wished her "the best of luck" and CNN President Rick Kaplan told us: "This is great. We love Christiane. Whatever makes Christiane happy makes us happy." When we reached Rubin in New York, he favored us with four seconds of silence. "That," he told us, "was a pregnant pause."
THIS JUST IN . . .
* Newt Gingrich's girlfriend, Callista Bisek, won't be deposed tomorrow because--we're shocked!--the lawyers are haggling. Bisek's attorney wants to quash Marianne Gingrich's subpoena, saying the aggrieved wife's lawyers are pursuing a "wholesale fishing expedition." Marianne's attorney says Bisek is trying "to avoid providing testimony and . . . documents concerning her relationship with Mr. Gingrich."
* Jack Kent Cooke's ashes were buried Aug. 29 at Trinity Episcopal Church in Upperville, Va., reports Capital Style magazine. Cooke's widow, Marlene, is steamed at Cooke's son John for not depositing the ashes at Far Acres, the family's former estate in Middleburg. "Jack told me all the time that he wanted his ashes around the farm. He loved that place," Marlene told us.
* Weekend lifestyles of the rich and famous: Rupert Murdoch and new bride Wendy Deng breakfasted Sunday on what smelled like bacon and eggs on their 158-foot sailing yacht, Morning Glory, in Annapolis Harbor. And after Secretary of State Madeleine Albright hiked the length of Manhattan Saturday, she dined with friends at Sylvia's soul food restaurant in Harlem.
* Here's what Warren Beatty tells pals about a certain renegade pollster who apparently isn't helping write his speech for tomorrow's Americans for Democratic Action dinner in L.A.: "I treat Patrick Caddell like a small Eastern European country. We exchange ambassadors from time to time but we do have our disagreements."