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Hugh Hefner: The Original Playboy

Aired March 23, 2002 - 11:00   ET



ANNOUNCER (voice-over): Next on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS, he's the pajama'd patriarch of men's magazines.

GARY MARSHALL, PRODUCER: He was a very young man.

ANNOUNCER: The Chicago native who took a risk on the risque and built a sexual empire.

BILL MAHER: Like all men, he's my hero.

ANNOUNCER: Even at 75, he's still living the life most men dream about.

HUGH HEFNER: I literally have seven girlfriends at the present time.

ANNOUNCER: The original playboy, Hugh Hefner. Also the college coach who reigns over March Madness.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The wins come as a result of the things he believes about the kids he coaches.

ANNOUNCER: His team may be out, but not Coach Krzyzewski's winning ways.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's hard for me to be said about one game when I get an opportunity to work with these kids on a day-to-day basis.

ANNOUNCER: On the sidelines with Duke Coach, Mike Krzyzewski. Then, they are one of the hottest R&B acts in the land. Now the three soulful divas are spreading out on their own.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My first movie is "Austin Powers 3." That's huge.

ANNOUNCER: The independent women of Destiny's Child, their story and a whole lot more, now on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.


ARTHEL NEVILLE, GUEST HOST: Welcome to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. In for Paula Zahn, I'm Arthel Neville. His life and lifestyle are legendary. Hugh Hefner: at 75, he remains the ultimate playboy. We're talking about the original swinger. He's still partying, still running around with the young women, still reinventing himself and still begging the question, "Hef, how do you do it?"

Here's Bruce Burkhardt.


BRUCE BURKHARDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hugh Hefner, the life of a never-ending party for over 75 years.

H. HEFNER: I literally have seven girlfriends at the present time, and we're like a bunch of kids.

CHRISTINE HEFNER, CEO, PLAYBOY ENTERPRISES: I think he's certainly redefining what it means to be 75.

BURKHARDT: He is a blend of old-school and new, with an intoxicating ability to squeeze out every ounce of publicity in whatever he does or wherever he goes.

MAHER: Needless to say, like all men he's my hero. I mean I'm 30 years younger than he, so that gives me something to shoot for.

MARSHALL: You know, the old joke. This girl said to him once, some 18-year-old said to him, "I've never dated anybody over 25" and Hef said, "neither have I."

BURKHARDT: Even at 75 years old, men still want to be him, women want to be around him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like his vibes.

BURKHARDT: That magazine of his, 15 million readers worldwide. His company today is worth more than three-quarters of a billion dollars. Hugh Hefner, one of the original swingers, a man who helped pioneer the sexual revolution.

H. HEFNER: One of the things that makes my life even better than it appears from the outside is that I am a very reflective person and expectant person, and I look at my life very much through the eyes of the boy who dreamed the dreams. I am still in a very real way that boy.

BURKHARDT: That boy grew up in a modest neighborhood on the West End of Chicago. His parents, Glen and Grace Hefner were conservative Protestants. Both worked at teachers. His upbringing was nurturing, although when it came to affection, it was rare.

H. HEFNER: There was no hugging or kissing or display of emotion of any kind, and because in turn they were raised, you know they were farm people from Nebraska, and they were raised in typically repressive environments themselves, and I think to some extent you pass that on. BURKHARDT: Hefner lived just blocks away from school, Sayer (ph) Elementary. While most kids his age were enjoying that age of innocence, Hugh Hefner kept mostly to himself. That was, until 1940 when he entered Sky Mist (ph) High School. It was here that the shy teen broke from his shell. Hefner learned how to dance the jitterbug, and he fell in love for the first time.

H. HEFNER: She was working at a drug store that summer, my Summer of '42, at the age of 16, and I was an usher in a neighborhood movie house. So, when I got through with that, I would go and pick her up and take her bowling or take her dancing, take her to a movie, and that was a very sweet and delicious time.

BURKHARDT: He wasn't an enthusiastic student, but he did possess a genius IQ of 152, defining himself creatively outside of the classroom.

H. HEFNER: The happiest time of my life was my early childhood, unrelated to school, but in the neighborhood with my peers, student council and school paper and wrote plays and songs and performed.

BURKHARDT: In 1944, following his high school graduation, Hef, as he became known, joined the army, serving in the infantry and writing for the military newspaper. But it wasn't until his honorable discharge in 1946 that Hugh Hefner aggressively pursued his passion for publishing.

He studied at the Chicago Art Institute before attending the University of Illinois. As a freshman, Hef doubled up on his course load, freeing up his upper class years for writing and illustrating the school paper, "The Daily Illinois."

In the campus humor magazine "Shaft," Hef experimented with something never before seen in a college publication, a feature profiling a coed of the month.

PROF. LOIS BANNER, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: This was a revolutionary period. It was revolutionary on many levels, and Hefner in a sense sensed one of those revolutions that was going on, and he became almost a personal vanguard of that revolution, the revolution in sexuality.

BURKHARDT: When we return to the story of Hugh Hefner, the controversial "Playboy" magazine is launched, and the young publisher nearly calls it quits.

H. HEFNER: "Playboy" has never played on a level playing field. Always, there have been strong forces there vying against me.




BURKHARDT: In the early 1950s, Hugh Hefner had big dreams. Free from the army, the 23-year-old married his steady college girlfriend, Millie Williams, and he became a dad twice over.

Little did Hef know that his daughter, Christie, would play a critical role in her father's company in the years ahead.

C. HEFNER: I have a relationship with my father and was protected from the hardest part, which would have been in the public eye and everybody meeting me for the first time, seeing me not as Christie but as Hugh Hefner's daughter.

BURKHARDT: As a young man, Hef struggled as a promotional copyrighter for "Esquire" magazine a dead-end job as far as he was concerned.

H. HEFNER: "Esquire" was always for older guys, but it had changed, and like other magazines that were more popular like (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and "Argosy" it was very much devoted to male bonding and outdoor adventure, and I wanted to create a magazine that was a little more sophisticated and was -- focused really on the romantic connection between the sexes from a male point of view.

BURKHARDT: Hef's vision would revolutionize publishing. He borrowed money from his mother, took out loans on his furniture, and designed his first layout on his kitchen floor. He called his magazine "Stag," quickly changing the name to "Playboy." On the cover, America's bombshell, Marilyn Monroe.

MAHER: I mean he couldn't even get funding for it when he proposed it, you know. He said he was trying to sell this idea to publishers, and he said, you know "sex is a sure thing" and they were like, "I don't know. That's a risky idea, naked women in a magazine." You know what I mean, who were these people back then?

H. HEFNER: Breaking down those walls and boundaries and stereotypes is a part of what my life is all about.

BURKHARDT: The controversial first issue hit newsstands in December, 1953. There wasn't a cover date on the magazine because Hef wasn't sure he'd be able to finance another issue.

H. HEFNER: Well, I've never thought of "Playboy" quite frankly as a sex magazine. I always thought of it as a lifestyle magazine in which sex was one important ingredient.

BANNER: He was at the right place at the right time, and he was very bold. Much of his brilliance is as a marketer.

BURKHARDT: By 1960, "Playboy" had it its stride. Circulation exceeded one million. Unfortunately, his marriage was not as successful. After 10 years together, the pair divorced.

C. HEFNER: Oh, I mean I was a child but if I had to try and describe it, I think that they got married too young and I think they were typical of a generation that, unlike my generation, you know got married right out of school and it's hard to know who you are and who you're going to grow up to be, and whether you're ready to be married when you're 21 years old. BURKHARDT: Undeterred, Hefner expanded the "Playboy" franchise, hosting his own television, "Playboy's Penthouse." Viewers thought it took place in Hef's swank Chicago mansion. It was actually a sound stage resembling the playboy's pad. He would host a similar program in the late '60s, "Playboy After Dark."

Hef also launched a chain of exclusive nightclubs. It's hostesses known as Playboy bunnies became as famous as the celebrity guest list.

H. HEFNER: What I created came out of my own adolescent dreams of fantasies. I was trying to redefine what it meant to be a young, urban unattached male.

MARSHALL: I think he had some people say smut and nudity and everything, and you know he wanted to become and he became the lord of legs, the baron of bosoms, the duke of derriere. I go on forever with this. But they weren't rooting for him to be that.

BURKHARDT: Hefner's swinging days suffered a double setback in 1963. He was arrested and later acquitted on obscenity charges while feminist Gloria Steinem posed undercover as a Playboy bunny and printed her scathing commentary for all to read.

But what Hef did not or could not have planned for in 1969, was Bob Guccione, the flamboyant editor-in-chief of "Penthouse Magazine." Guccione's philosophy was considered more daring, and he wanted nothing more than to strip his archrival, Hugh Hefner, of his publishing crown.

BOB GUCCIONE, JR., PUBLISHER, "GEAR" MAGAZINE: We were in sort of mortal combat, Penthouse and "Playboy," friendly mortal combat.

BURKHARDT: The rivalry as remembered by Guccione's son, who today at age 45 is a publishing success in his own right.

GUCCIONE: I think the thing about Hefner is that he's always been himself, and that's always been very genuine. There was a time when he led the curve and a time when he followed the curve. To some people he may look like a museum piece. To others, he looks like he's got the fountain of youth in his bedroom, which by the way he may well have in his bedroom, you know.

BURKHARDT: In 1971, Hef expanded his empire by moving out west. He purchased a sprawling California mansion, nestled within Beverly Hills.

H. HEFNER: I think that Playboy Mansion West has been referred to as Shangri-la, and to some extent it is. You come through those gates and you are in another world. We're a block from Sunset Boulevard, but you feel as if you are in an English countryside with wild birds and animals out on the lawn, and filled with beautiful women and celebrities and very attractive people.

BURKHARDT: When Hugh Hefner's story continues, another crack at marital bliss. MAHER: Why did Hugh Hefner ever, given his situation, enter into a state of matrimony?

BURKHARDT: And another side of Hef, one rarely seen.

ANNOUNCER: Coming up on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS, Miss May, 1971, Miss November, 1981, and Miss October, 1993, playmates from the past, but where are these bunnies now, when PEOPLE IN THE NEWS continues.



ANNOUNCER: We now return to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. Here's Arthel Neville.

NEVILLE: Next year, "Playboy" will celebrate its 50th anniversary, five decades of playmates from notables to unknowns and all sort of bunnies in between, but where are they now?


BURKHARDT: Janice Pennington was one of the original "Barker's Beauties" from the hit game show "The Price is Right." Before her long run on the show, Pennington came on down as Playboy's Miss May in 1971. So where is Janice Pennington now? Pennington wrote a book in 1994 that told the bizarre tale of her first husband, a U.S. spy who disappeared in 1975. She has since remarried. After 29 seasons on "The Price is Right," Pennington left the show in 2000.

In 1982, Shannon Tweed was the queen of "Playboy," when she was named Playmate of the Year. So where is Shannon Tweed today? Chances are, if you've watched movie channels past midnight, you've seen Tweed in her one of over 40 films. She's become the queen of the erotic thriller, with movies like "Power Play." She's also made guest appearances on mainstream television shows like "Frazier." She lives with long-time partner and KISS bassist, Gene Simmons. They have two children.

In the mid-90s, she was the "it" girl. Jenny McCarthy took her 1994 Playmate of the Year status and seemed to turn it to make it as a Hollywood starlet. She hosted the dating show, "Singled Out," and starred in her own MTV variety show. She left the world of MTV for the short-lived NBC prime time show "Jenny."

So where is Jenny McCarthy now? Now 29, McCarthy wed Director John Asher in 1999. The couple is expecting their first baby this June. She's attempting to make a comeback, hosting this year's American Music Awards. She's also in development for a new series on Fox. We'll be right back.



SNOW: Good morning from CNN in Washington, I'm Kate Snow. Up next, PEOPLE IN THE NEWS, but first this news alert.

In New York, more remains have been recovered at Ground Zero. The remains include a firefighter and two people believed to be Port Authority employees. Recovery crews say they've been finding a number of bodies in recent days because they're excavating the South Tower. It collapsed first, giving people little time to escape. More than 150 people are still missing.

On the heels of last Sunday's deadly church attack in Islamabad, Pakistan's president is now repeating vows to crack down on terrorism there. In a televised speech today, Pervez Musharraf said Pakistan's intelligence system must be changed and improved. Two Americans were killed in that church attack last week, and amid fears of more attacks, Washington has ordered much of its diplomatic staff to leave the country of Pakistan.

Today is the first day of the new school year in Afghanistan, and for many Afghan girls, it's their first chance to get an education. During the five years of Taliban rule, females were not allowed to go to church -- to school rather. Now classrooms are filled with girls, and women once banned from working have been rehired as teachers. I'm Kate Snow in Washington. PEOPLE IN THE NEWS starts right now.

Neville: Welcome back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. Hugh Hefner has said that he never intended to be revolutionary. All he wanted to do was create a men's magazine that had sex in it. Well, Hefner insists that it was a coincidence "Playboy" turned out to be a very revolutionary idea. But what happens when revolutionary becomes routine? Here again is Bruce Burkhardt.


BURKHARDT: It started as a provocative magazine, put together in Hugh Hefner's kitchen. It became an institution, one that plays a role in many a young man's past.

MAHER: I mean "Playboy" is very much the same as it was when I was 13 or whenever it was, 12, 13, when I first was, you know, stealing it from homes I was babysitting at. It still has a very regimented approach.

BURKHARDT: An approach that made its mark for nearly three decades. But by the early '80s, "Playboy" began to lose its hop. In 1985, Hef suffered a mild stroke and "Playboy" needed help, the surprise choice to turn things around, his daughter Christie.

H. HEFNER: And morale was very low and she came to me and said she'd like very much to take a crack at overhauling the business end of the company and it seemed like a good idea.

C. HEFNER: This wasn't what I expected to. I expected to go into either law and politics or journalism, and it was really one of those paths in the road that my father originally suggested as what I think we both thought would be just a couple of years, and turned into a career.

BURKHARDT: As the new CEO, she plotted a new course for the ailing franchise.

C. HEFNER: Well, I think in the '80s we certainly wrestled with what was the role of "Playboy" magazine in a post-sexual revolution, post feminist world.

BURKHARDT: As CEO, Christie Hefner gave the magazine the financial facelift it desperately needed, while her father concentrated on the magazine's content and its image.

H. HEFNER: And always on the cover, and it's part of the fun of it, is the "Playboy" rabbit. Sometimes he's there where you can see him and sometimes he's hidden.

BURKHARDT: Of course, there's one very revealing trademark of "Playboy" and that's the centerfold. In 1989, Hef went gaga for one model in particular, Kimberley Conrad.

KIMBERLEY CONRAD, 1989 PLAYMATE OF THE YEAR: You know, I was there to do my shoot and then, you know, six months, seven months later he asked me out. He was in a transition. He and his girlfriend had broken up and my boyfriend and I were broken up, so he asked me out and I declined a couple of times. I wasn't sure, you know, and then finally we went out and we had a great time.

BURKHARDT: A great time that blossomed into a brief courtship. The two got married later that year. Children soon followed, two boys.

CONRAD: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the older brother. He's very focused. Cooper is the little, he's like Jack Nicholson, the entertainer, the actor. But they're both very bright, very, very bright.

BURKHARDT: But after nine and a half years of marriage, Hefner separated from his wife.

MAHER: Why did marriage work out? Why did he ever try it? Why did he ever -- you know, it's sort of like when people said, why did the Roman Empire fall? No, why did it last so long? Why did Hugh Hefner ever, given his situation, enter into a state of matrimony?

BURKHARDT: Today, Hugh Hefner is a bachelor again, currently dating, he says, seven women at one time.

H. HEFNER: Well, I'm in remarkably good health and I think part of that has to do with a positive attitude on life. Part of it is genetic. My mother lived to be 101, so to some extent I'm still a 75- year-old young man.

BURKHARDT: On this day, Hugh Hefner was as real as he could be. His sons were over to shoot some hoops, and his trademark silk pajamas were replaced by blue jeans, the only sound you could hear, his boys on the basketball court.

H. HEFNER: It's always difficult to be the children of celebrities, and I think that being the sons of "Playboy" adds a little something in addition that one has to cope with. BURKHARDT: To help the boys cope, Hef came up with a unique living situation. His ex-wife Kimberley Conrad and their two boys live right next door. A private path through their backyards connects the two properties.

H. HEFNER: Even though, you know, there were conflicts within the marriage, the love was still there and the sense of continuity with family was still there, and it is because you know for the boys, I mean always. I mean in the best of all worlds children should be raised by both parents, our pride and joy.

BURKHARDT: There's no doubt that Hugh Hefner is enjoying this time in his life.

MARSHALL: At 75, he's going out to nightclubs and he's dancing around. But he sits, if you watch. I mean he dances his dances and then the cameras are off and he sits a minute, but he has the energy, has always had that energy since he was a very young man.

BURKHARDT: He's also enjoying financial success. Playboy Enterprises is worth more than three-quarters of a billion dollars.

C. HEFNER: And I think the remarkable thing about my father is that he is very much able to live in the moment, and he has proven that over and over again, and when he says "I've never been happier," he means it.

H. HEFNER: I would like to be remembered as somebody who has changed the world in some positive way in a social, sexual sense, and I'd be very happy with that. I'm a kid who dreamed the dreams and made them come true.


ANNOUNCER: Just ahead on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS the master of March Madness, Coach "K," when we return.


NEVILLE: OK, he's as synonymous with March Madness as the team he coaches, and even if you can't spell his last name, Mike Krzyzewski has led the Duke Blue Devils to three NCAA championships and nine Final Fours in 16 years. But, as Tom Rinaldi found, you don't have to be from Duke or even a fan of college basketball to be impressed with Coach "K."


TOM RINALDI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Mike Krzyzewski doesn't use a whistle. He hates them. Instead, he wants his players to react to the sound of his voice, even in the chaos of competition; and the voice has been echoing in victory for 30 years.

BOBBY HURLEY, FORMER DUKE PLAYER: You see the kind of emotion that he has for the game and the kind of passion he has. JOHNNY DAWKINS, DUKE ASSOCIATE HEAD COACH: The wins come as a result of the things he believes about the kids he coaches, not because he wants to win every game or win every championship.

MIKE KRZYZEWSKI, DUKE COACH: If my purpose on this planet was to win basketball games, it would be a bad life.

RINALDI: Don't misunderstand, Krzyzewski wins games, lots of them. In the last two decades, he has turned the Duke University men's basketball program in Durham, North Carolina, into the envoy of the collegiate world.

The Blue Devils have won three national titles since he arrived, the most recent coming last April. A number of his players have gone on to the NBA. Nearly all have graduated. Why so many wins? Because winning is not the obsession. It's all part of what Krzyzewski considers a culture, not a team, making shots count yes, but not as much as the people who make them.

GRANT HILL, ORLANDO MAGIC: It's a fraternity. It's a group of guys that, you know, have each other's support, have each other's back.

KRZYZEWSKI: It's a culture where people want to be a part of it, where they feel safe to try to do whatever they can do.

RINALDI: Krzyzewski's childhood culture was working-class Chicago. The son of immigrants, his parents would not allow Polish to be spoken in the house, but the message from his mother Emily, who scrubbed floors at the Chicago Athletic Club was clear, never fear losing.

KRZYZEWSKI: Well, my mom is the greatest person I've ever known. She only wanted what was good for me, and she loved me no matter what happened. She's the basis of why I am not afraid to lose.

RINALDI: Leading the Chicago Catholic League in scoring, while serving as class president at Weber High, Krzyzewski was recruited to play college ball. His new culture would be West Point, drill sergeants, uniforms, life by the code.

KRZYZEWSKI: Oh, I wanted to quit hundreds of times at West Point, because that dream of mine was not to become an army officer. My dream was to be a basketball coach, a teacher and all of a sudden I'm in the military and I did it, primarily, because my mom and dad wanted me to. My coach was Bob Knight, and what I learned from him was the incredible passion that it took to be successful, the amount of preparation and an understanding of the game to a level that I had not experienced before.

RINALDI: Krzyzewski's old coach would win championships as well, but Knight's behavior toward his players and others often eclipsed entire seasons. Krzyzewski yells too, make no mistake, but he also uses a completely different approach at time. You called a time out recently. You looked at each player in this time out and said, "you're good." They're playing at Duke. Don't they know they're good?

KRZYZEWSKI: No. I think there are times where everybody, me too, needs to have somebody who loves them and who they believe in tells them, "I believe in you."

HILL: Just like a parent, you know. There's six inches between patting on the back and patting on the butt, and as a parent he did both.

RINALDI: After graduating from West Point, Krzyzewski began the long journey of an aspiring coach, working his way from army bases to Indiana, back to West Point. He landed at Duke in 1980. A headline from the school paper greeted "an unknown coach with a name impossible to spell." The first few seasons were difficult. The bottom seemed to come following a season ending 43-point loss to Virginia in 1983.

KRZYZEWSKI: I remember that night we went to a small restaurant, more of a fast food place. Somebody said, "well, here's to forgetting about tonight," and I said "no, no. Here's to never forgetting about tonight" you know because this is a reference point. In order to appreciate where we're going to be, we have to know how this felt, how losing felt.

RINALDI: Winning would follow soon after. By 1991, the Blue Devils reached the Final Four of the NCAA basketball tournament for the fourth year in a row, yet they'd never won the title. That bothered everyone, except Krzyzewski.

KRZYZEWSKI: So we went three years in a row and we didn't win, and now all of a sudden, what was a dream, somebody was trying to tell me, man was a nightmare. And I said, "you know what, you got something wrong with you, because" -- and I really believe it's why we won the fourth time, the fourth consecutive year we went, because I never looked at that as pressure.

RINALDI (on camera): By the 1994-95 season, center court at Duke was the center of the college basketball universe. Mike Krzyzewski had won back-to-back national titles. He had gone to the Final Four seven times in nine years, and yet he was falling apart mentally and physically.

(voice-over): He says the stress of his job overwhelmed him. Krzyzewski had surgery to relieve excruciating back pain, but returned in only 10 days and worked to a point of complete exhaustion. In the middle of that season, his wife gave him an ultimatum.

MICKIE KRZYZEWSKI: Seeing him on a personal level just physically declining and emotionally and mentally not being the person that he was, not even being able to handle his decline.

KRZYZEWSKI: I was out of it to be quite frank with you. I had come back too soon, and my wife Mickie just said, "look, you're either going to the doctor today or that's it" and that's it was that's it you and me, and so that was an easy decision for me to make.

RINALDI: Krzyzewski left the team in the middle of the season. The Blue Devils fell apart, winning only four of their last 19 games in his absence.

KRZYZEWSKI: The most difficult part was the fact that I felt I was responsible for it. You know, I mean that's my team. I learned that at West Point that you're the leader no matter what, and I wasn't there for them.

RINALDI: While the separation from his team tore at him, Krzyzewski needed the time more than he realized. He rediscovered his family, recovered his health and recharged his passion. By 1999, just four years later, his team was back playing in the national championship game. And Krzyzewski's Blue Devils entered this year's tournament, not only as defending champions, but as a favorite to repeat, after capturing an unprecedented fourth straight ACC tournament title.

Yet winning doesn't seem a great enough reason why so many of his players come back to him. Last summer, several dozen players returned to Duke for a charity game. There was Grant Hill, perennial NBA all- star, Christian Laettner, former NBA lottery pick, and Elton Brand, former NBA Rookie of the Year, all returning to their coach, returning to the voice they were trained to follow, one preaching of value beyond victory.

HILL: He's still coaching and he's still giving me advice and I'm just like a sponge trying to soak it all up.

ELTON BRAND, LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS: Coach K's drive makes him the best. You don't want to fight the guy. He's not going to give up ever.

KRZYZEWSKI: If my purpose was to not just be a basketball coach but to use whatever success we have to do some other really good things, it adds depth. It adds meaning. That's where we are at right now, where we can have a positive influence on people and that's winning.


NEVILLE: Coming up, E.T. phones home again and Destiny's Child proves you don't have to split to go solo. But first, this week's passages.

ANNOUNCER: How much eyeliner does it take to keep America's most watched soap afloat? Only Revlon and Erica Kane know. The cosmetics giant is paying millions of dollars in advertising to ABC to be part of the soap's storyline. So diva, Erica Kane, played by actress Susan Lucci goes manicure-to-manicure with Revlon after the firm tries to steal away one of her employees. Will Erica Kane squash the makeup maven? Stay tuned.

Talk about not wasting any time, newlyweds Liza Minelli and David Gest announce they are planning to adopt four children. According to a British newspaper, the couple has said the children will be of all races. It was just one week ago that Minelli and Guest tied the knot at their star-studded wedding in New York. Maybe it's a warm-up for celebrity boxing. Girl fight star Michelle Rodriguez is accused of throwing a few off-screen punches in an alleged fight with a woman at her apartment in Jersey City, New Jersey. The 23-year-old actress pleaded innocent on Monday to charges of assault and harassment and was released on $2,500 bail. Rodriguez plays another tough gal in her latest film, "Resident Evil," which opened in theaters on Friday. For more celebrity news, pick up a copy of "People Magazine" this week. We'll be right back.


NEVILLE: Twenty years ago, a wayward alien captured the heart of a generation. This weekend, E.T. the extraterrestrial returned home to the big screen, back with a new look to complement that old charm. Now for the 20th anniversary, movie-goers will find a more expressive and active E.T. thanks to a high-tech facelift.

And, of course, E.T. isn't the only character who has changed over the years, which leads us to another "Where Are They Now?"


BURKHARDT (voice over): In 1982, we were introduced to E.T., the lovable alien stranded on earth who is befriended by a 10-year-old boy. Henry Thomas, Dee Wallace Stone and Drew Barrymore were among the memorable cast of the blockbuster movie. So "Where Are They Now?"

Henry Thomas played Elliott, E.T.'s best friend and Reese's Pieces distributor. Now 30, Thomas has kept busy on TV and the big screen, appearing in more than 30 films. He can be seen in the 1998 movie, "Niagara, Niagara" and heard on the movie soundtrack with his band the Blue Healers.

Two years ago, Thomas played opposite Matt Damon in "All the Pretty Horses." This summer, Thomas will appear alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Cameron Diaz in "Gangs of New York." B. Wallace Stone, then billed at D. Wallace played Elliott's divorced mother, Mary.

Since E.T., the 52-year-old Stone has remained a steadily working actress, appearing in TV guest shots on shows like "Felicity" and mainly low- and medium-budget movies such as "Cujo" and "The Frighteners." The dancer turned actress also enjoys a career as a motivational speaker. Stone has her own motivational videos and cassettes available for purchase.

And we all know Drew Barrymore. She played Elliott's 6-year-old sister Gertie. The 27-year-old granddaughter of actor John Barrymore was born with Hollywood in her blood. We've seen her transition from child star to preteen drug and alcohol abuser to a reinvented Hollywood sweetheart.

Since 1992, Barrymore has averaged more than four projects a year, including "Batman Forever," "The Wedding Singer" and "Never Been Kissed." In December, 2001, shock comedian husband Tom Green filed for divorce from Barrymore after less than six months of marriage. Barrymore will return as the butt-kicking Dylan Sanders in "Charlie's Angels 2." The anticipated sequel is slated for release next year.


NEVILLE: Well, the members of Destiny's Child probably couldn't tell you a thing about the debut of E.T. The R&B trio was barely out of diapers when the movie premiered, but Destiny's Child does know a thing or two about meteoric success. Just now in their early '20s, the three divas of Destiny's Child already make up one of the best selling female groups of all time, and they are our "People to Watch."


NEVILLE (voice over): They're more than just survivors, and if you listen to their lyrics, Destiny's Child will tell you what has made them destined for success.

Beyonce Knowles, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams say their determination and work ethic keep them on top. Even with 21 million albums in singles sold, the dance divas aren't sitting still.

BEYONCE KNOWLES: A lot of our fans were in parties and clubs and they heard all these (UNINTELLIGIBLE) mixes, and everybody would come up to us and say, "where can we get these songs? Where can we get these remakes, because I heard the hottest remakes (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

NEVILLE: Ever-obliging, Destiny's Child has just released 12 remixes on their new album, but it's not just the remixes that are providing new ways for fans to enjoy the group, all three members of Destiny's Child are also pursuing solo projects to showcase their talent.

For Michelle Williams, that means her own gospel album, slated to hit the shelves next month.

MICHELLE WILLIAMS: Definitely something I'm truly excited about. I never thought that in a million years that this would be happening.

NEVILLE: Kelly Rowland is taking a crack at the small screen, playing D.L. Hughley's niece in his sitcom on UPN.

KELLY ROWLAND: I've had so much fun on the Hughley's. D.L. Hughley that's my boy. I had so much fun being on the set with him.

KNOWLES: She needs (UNINTELLIGIBLE). I'm serious. I'm serious. Her publicist. Everybody my girl needs her own sitcom, OK?

NEVILLE: And a throwback to the '70s, Beyonce Knowles is holding her own with a certain shagadelic super agent.

KNOWLES: My first movie is "Austin Powers 3."

WILLIAMS: She is (UNINTELLIGIBLE). She did it up for real.

KNOWLES: Thank you, but I really enjoyed myself and I learned a lot and it's a great experience. NEVILLE: Al these individual efforts have sparked rumors that the members of Destiny's Child are going their separate ways, but the trio insists it isn't so.

WILLIAMS: People just like want us to say, oh well she's doing something. Oh, we're mad or we're jealous. No. You're right there to support the group member and know that that's going to held Destiny's Child. When somebody does something solo, it helps the group and we know this.

NEVILLE: But lately, speculation on the multi-platinum group's future has been eclipsed by the lingering attention on their past. Since their 1998 debut, three singers have been kicked out of Destiny's Child.

KNOWLES: We don't want every time you see us there's some major drama.

NEVILLE: Two former members of the group who settled a wrongful termination case against Destiny's Child are suing once again. They claim the lyrics to the smash hit "Survivor" are insulting towards them.

WILLIAMS: It has been two and a half, almost three years that Destiny's Child has been Beyonce, Kelly and Michelle, and it's a shame we're still going through this, and everybody's mature. Everybody should be like over this.

NEVILLE: Now these three independent women are going at it alone, hoping to stay at the top of the charts with nothing and no one from their past to hold them back.

KNOWLES: It's been a long time and we hold no grudges.


KNOWLES: God bless them. We don't want any drama. We just want to be able to perform and make our music.

WILLIAMS: And you heard it.

NEVILLE: Now in addition to their solo projects, the girls of Destiny's Child are working together on a new CD, and an upcoming autobiography. Well, that's all the time we have for this edition of PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. For Paula Zahn, I'm Arthel Neville. Thanks so much for joining us.




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