Tom Cruise will subject himself to all sorts of indignities for a good cause and some decent publicity these days. Not long ago, Cruise got slimed by green goo with Rosie O'Donnell at Nickelodeon's Kids' Choice Awards. That stunt was topped over the weekend when we got to see Dustin Hoffman dunk Cruise into a tub of cold water.
"It's like 'Mission: Impossible 2,' " Hoffman said, pointing to Cruise, who was suspended above the tub at a celebrity-stoked fair in Mandeville Canyon that raised about $2 million for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Hoffman praised Cruise's willingness to get wet for a good cause.
"Other celebrities said, 'I'll do anything but the dunk,' " Hoffman said. "Tom probably said, 'Give me the dunk.' "
In a wet suit and jeans, Cruise endured about a dozen wet plunges. Besides Hoffman and his son, Max, the dunkers included Camryn Manheim, who threw herself against the target to ensure that Cruise got soaked. "It was a chance to see Tom Cruise wet," Manheim said. "I never thought it would happen."
Hoffman, unable to unseat Cruise despite hurling more than 30 tennis balls, finally slammed the target with his fist. Afterward, Cruise treated Hoffman to a wet hug. And, with blue lips and red nose, Cruise exchanged shivering pleasantries with his pregnant former wife, Mimi Rogers.
Elsewhere, Scott Hamilton tutored kids at the portable ice rink, Sela Ward tended to the fish pond and Minnie Driver staffed the race-car simulator. David Arquette and Courteney Cox Arquette played Flip the Chick, banging a gavel on a Rube Goldberg-style contraption that flicked a rubber chicken up and, with any luck, into a bucket.
The Gori Details
The estranged wife of Vittorio Cecchi Gori has hired lawyer Marvin Mitchelson, who filed a dirt-dishing breach-of-contract suit against the Italian producer of "Il Postino" and "Life Is Beautiful." Rita Ruzic-Cecchi Gori seeks half the estimated $2-billion fortune she says they built together.
She alleges in L.A. Superior Court that her producer husband, whom she married in 1983, has broken his promise to share what they accumulated during their life together. She says she was more than a wife; she was also a business partner, coming up with ideas and making contacts that helped the Cecchi Gori Group grow into a top entertainment firm. Her court papers cite no less an authority than "Variety," which has listed Ruzic-Cecchi Gori among the 50 most influential people in Hollywood.
The couple had nothing when they moved in together in 1981, court papers say. They married two years later, but split in August 1999. They have filed legal separation papers in Rome, where it takes three years for a divorce to go through, Mitchelson said.
Meanwhile, she claims, he has locked her out of the company's offices--as well as the $18-million Trump Tower penthouse, the $4.75-million Beverly Hills mansion and homes in London and Rome. She also seeks unspecified damages, claiming he battered and berated her in front of their two children and had affairs during their marriage. A woman who answered the phone at his production office said there would be no comment. Stay tuned on this one.
Legendary pianist and former Navy boxer Roger Williams, 76, expects to raise some blisters on his fingertips tonight) during a marathon performance at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. "I don't mind a little blood on the keys," Williams said. "No pain, no gain."
Williams, who recorded such classics as "Autumn Leaves," "Born Free" and "The Impossible Dream," wants to break a world record by pounding the ivories for more than 12 hours straight. He'll take audience requests, drawing on his 10,000-song repertoire.
To build endurance, he has jogged three miles a day and he'll have 12 clean shirts handy, a case of Gatorade and a supply of Nu Skin, a product that adheres to broken skin to help it heal.
The free event is Williams' way to interest children in music. After the marathon, Williams will donate his $100,000 Steinway to the library as a tribute to his longtime friends, the Reagans.
Now You Know
The misinformation has been flying fast and furious, but we've learned more about the man Tom Cruise is suing for $100 million over a nonexistent videotape. Turns out Michael Davis is the publisher of Bold Entertainment Magazine--the same outfit that offered a reward to anyone who could reveal who dropped the dime on Robert Downey Jr. last year. Davis, while officially declining comment to anyone who isn't from People magazine or the National Enquirer, said in a barrage of e-mails that he was duped by a source. He never had a tape of Cruise, he said, nor offered one for sale.
"I wanted to find out what the world of hackers was like. I actually came on set the first day with a big nose ring, and I said to [director] Joel Silver: 'Joel, these guys are not what you think they are. They're hard and they're tough.' And he said, 'Get rid of the nose ring, will you?' "--Hugh Jackman, on preparing to play a master hacker in "Swordfish."
Times staff writers Gina Piccalo and Louise Roug contributed to this column.