Mon, Jan 01, 2007 - Page 13 News List

Planet Pop


Chevy Chase: I put Gerald Ford's career "in the dumper."


Pop star George Michael has been charged with being "unfit to drive" after he passed out in his car in October and will appear in court next week.

Following his arrest in north London in October, Michael was charged with "being unfit to drive" just before Christmas.

Motorists called police to report that the 43-year-old former Wham! frontman's car was causing an obstruction at traffic lights in northwest London on October 2.

Michael was then found slumped over the steering wheel of his car and arrested on suspicion of being unfit to drive, and possession of what is believed to be cannabis.

It is the second time this year that the singer has been found in a similar state at the wheel of his car. Police cautioned him in February for possessing cannabis in February in central London.

In April, he was in the news again when he collided with three parked cars near his home in north London.

In June, a UK tabloid published claims that the singer — born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou -- was caught "cruising" for sex at a well-known gay pick-up spot in London.

Last week's death of former US president Gerald Ford brought unwanted attention of a different kind to comic actor Chevy Chase, who portrayed the politician as a klutz on the Saturday Night Live television show.

Chase says he does not enjoy the renewed attention the ex-president's death brought him.

"I'm just a guy who made some fun of Gerald Ford in 1976 and I prefer to be left alone, really," the 63-year-old comedian told a reporter this week from a Colorado ski resort where he had been skiing with his daughter.

Chase, who has starred in many Hollywood film comedies and written for television shows, said he gets upset when people say that Ford "made" his career.

"The man who 'made my career' did not do Fletch, did not do Caddyshack, did not write for The Smothers Brothers before he wrote for Saturday Night Live, did not write for 12 years before that and win Writers Guild awards.

"It's that kind of thing that comes out in the press that perpetuates myths about me that are disgusting, that hurt my feelings, that hurt my family's feelings."

Chase and other original cast member of Saturday Night Live once relished the national publicity that the show's irreverent comedy generated.

But since Ford's death last week at age 93, Chase has declined interview requests from the nation's top newspapers and television news programs, which have repeatedly played excerpts of his old skits. Pundits and Internet blogs also have been debating Chase's impact on the Ford presidency.

"He did not make my career," said Chase. "If anything, I took his career and put it in the dumper because I did not want him to be president of this country, that's the way it really should be written."

Chase said he later became friendly with Ford and called the Republican "a very, very sweet man."

Oscar-winning actress Julia Roberts is expecting her third child with husband Danny Moder, People magazine reported Friday.

Roberts, 39, the star of Pretty Woman and Erin Brockovich, is due to give birth next summer, spokeswoman Marcy Engelman told the magazine.

Calls to Engelman's New York offices were not immediately returned. Showbusiness figures routinely use People to make significant announcements.

Roberts and cinematographer Moder, 37, who married in 2002, are already the parents of twins, Hazel and Finn, who were born two years ago.

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