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Also: Listen to "Celebrity Watch" from CNN Radio's Ken Pauli
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Web posted on:
Monday, November 16, 1998 4:41:38 PM EST

Today's buzz stories:


Travolta living his pilot fantasy, minus the Brownies

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Actor John Travolta says before he became a pilot, he used to act like one. Travolta says he first wanted to be a pilot when he watched jets fly from New York's LaGuardia International Airport over his home in Englewood, New Jersey. Later, he built model planes with his dad. Then he got his girlfriends to play along.

"I wanted my own little airliner in the backyard," Travolta tells Redbook magazine in its December issue. "I'd have my girlfriends use their Brownie uniforms to be the flight attendants, and I was the captain and they would have to pretend they were serving people."

Travolta recently moonlighted as the author of a children's book, "One-Way Night Coach," about flying. "I have often thought, maybe, it might be fun either starting an airline, or being part of one that's already established and making it better," Travolta said. "It would be another side game to play."

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Whitney Houston says she and hubby don't abuse drugs

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Whitney Houston is trying to put an end to rumors that she and husband Bobby Brown are abusing drugs. "No, I'm not a drug addict, and neither is my husband," Houston says in the issue of Newsweek hitting newsstands Monday. "If that were so, you'd get a lot less work out of me. It would show in the performances and in the work."

The singer-actress, whose new album is "My Love is Your Life," said her recent cancellation of a scheduled appearance on "The Rosie O'Donnell Show," which helped fueled the drug rumors, was due to illness. She also blamed her frantic work and family schedule for the drug talk. "A lot of what we go through is stress. When I'm stressed I don't eat, and I guess that makes people think I'm on drugs," Houston said.

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Universal chief ousted after box office disappointments

NEW YORK (CNN) -- The head of Universal Studios entertainment, Frank Biondi Jr., resigned Monday as Universal's chairman and CEO, the apparent casualty of a series of box office disappointments and a corporate shake-up by parent company Seagram Ltd.

Universal has been plagued by poor performance and delays of its movies this year. "Meet Joe Black," the Brad Pitt vehicle which was originally supposed to be released this past summer, opened this weekend to a disappointing third place. Universal also is preparing to release its newest movie, "Babe: A Pig in the City," over Thanksgiving, but its Los Angeles premiere, originally scheduled for Monday, was canceled because the movie isn't yet finished.

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Kenneth Branagh plays Woody Allen in 'Celebrity'

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Woody Allen says he didn't want Kenneth Branagh to mimic him in the soon-to-be-released Allen film "Celebrity." But that's exactly what Branagh did, and now Allen isn't complaining. "I said to him, 'This part is definitely not me. If I was younger, I definitely would not play it,'" Allen says in Sunday's Daily News. "It requires a younger and more attractive person than me."

But when it came time to shoot the film, Allen and everyone else involved couldn't help noticing how Branagh played his character with Allen's trademark halting speech, fluttering hands and jittery energy. "In the end, I had so much respect for him as an actor that I felt, look, I don't wanna sit down and say we gotta reshoot everything and you gotta do it my way," Allen said. "So that's what happened." "Celebrity" opens November 20.

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Reuters contributed to this report.

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