Champion of the Buzzer
Enter Eddie Timanus into the TV Quiz Show Hall of Fame. The 31-year-old sportswriter from Reston, who has been blind since age 3, won almost $70,000 this week on "Jeopardy!" He is the show's first blind contestant.
"They didn't make any rules alterations for me," Timanus told the New York Post. "The clue is up there on the screen and you can't ring in until Alex [Trebek] is done reading the question. The other contestants might have had a slight advantage there as far as being able to read ahead, but [when it came to] getting the timing of the buzzer, I was on equal footing." Timanus, who writes for USA Today, first appeared on Wednesday night's program and, according to show officials, he made it through five days of shows to take home almost $70,000 and two cars. The shows airing this week were taped in August. Timanus will return to "Jeopardy!" in May for its Tournament of Champions.
Wild Wilder Guests
Vanity Fair's Hollywood party Thursday night for 93-year-old Billy Wilder, who has just published a book of interviews with fellow director Cameron Crowe, was a tart mix of old and older. At one point during the festivities at Morton's restaurant, big-band legend Artie Shaw, 87, was asked if he'd ever met Mick Jagger, 56, who was standing a few feet away. "Never met him," Shaw said. "All I know about Mick Jagger is his mouth." But what about his music? "He doesn't play music. He plays rock," Shaw replied.
And speaking of the Rolling Stones, Keith Richards tells British GQ he had "a little taste" of his old pal heroin during the band's recent tour. "In the old days, I really didn't want to deal with being a star every day, and you could kind of hide inside heroin," he said. Richards described his old self as an "amateur chemist, a drugologist" who used to consult a 1903 medical dictionary. "I've abused drugs," Richards said, "but I didn't go into them without boning up on them first."
Just Trying to Get By
Patricia Duff, the ex-wife of billionaire Ronald Perelman, is taking to the airwaves to tell her side in the couple's nasty child-custody fight.
In an interview today on the Fox News Channel's "Judith Regan Tonight," Duff becomes positively distraught when asked whether she might lose custody of their 4-year-old daughter, Caleigh. "It's shattering," said a sobbing Duff, who wants her former hubby to pay $132,000 a month in child support. "This is my only child. . . . Nobody should be put through this." She also offers this dire warning: "Women across America should be shaking in their shoes right now, because women's rights to their own children are being eroded so rapidly it's frightening."
Good luck getting a ticket: Billy Joel says he will perform at Madison Square Garden on New Year's Eve . . . Barbra Streisand and James Brolin top eonline.com's "Top 10 Worst Couples" list, edging out Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn and Siegfried and Roy . . . Hollywood's most infamous madam, Heidi Fleiss, filed for bankruptcy this week, just four weeks after getting out of jail. Fleiss--who was sent to the slammer for conspiracy, tax evasion and money laundering--has debts totaling more than $269,000 . . . Sexy actor Taye Diggs says: "I have no problem if women just see me for my body. It's a big, big compliment" . . . PBS celebrates its 30th anniversary Monday with a cocktail reception at the Capital Hilton. Jim Lehrer, Bill Moyers and Mark Russell will be among the guests.