PEOPLE

“Love Story” actor is battling leukemia

Ryan O’Neal, who turned 60 last month, has been diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia, but it’s not life-threatening. “He has chronic leukemia, it is treatable and he is very doing very well,” spokeswoman Dede Binder told Reuters on Wednesday. About 7,000 cases of this type of leukemia are diagnosed each year in the United States. O’Neal, who finished work recently on romantic comedy “People I Know” starring Al Pacino and Kim Basinger, apparently has undergone treatment and is living in his Los Angeles area home.

YOU’LL FLIP THROUGH THIS IN THE CHECKOUT LINE AND YOU KNOW IT: Don’t hate them because they’re beautiful. Don’t even hate them because they’re People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People in the World.”

Actress Catherine Zeta-Jones appears on the cover of the annual issue, which hits newsstands Friday.

Julia Roberts made the list for the sixth time, Halle Berry for the fifth time and George Clooney for the fourth. More than half the celebrities on the list 32 are actors or actresses.

From the sports world, there’s the Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden (hey, don’t they call him Chucky ’cause he looks like that possessed doll from “Child’s Play?”); Texas Rangers shortstop Alex Rodriguez, whose 10-year, $252 million contract makes him the highest-paid player in baseball; and Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant.

First lady Laura Bush is on the list, as is U.S. Navy pilot Shane Osborn, mission commander of the spy plane crew that was held for 11 days on a Chinese island last month.

Others include Evan and Jaron, Renee Zellweger, Heather Locklear, Kate Hudson, Chow Yun-Fat, Hugh Jackman, Jill Scott, Ed Harris, Kelly Ripa, Jude Law, Faith Hill, Colin Firth, Katie Couric, Taye Diggs, Benicio Del Toro, Debra Messing, Jeff Probst and, yes, Jennifer Lopez.

PUBLIC CONFESSION DUE: It’s reverend versus reverend. Jesse Jackson has been banned from Harlem’s prominent Canaan Baptist Church of Christ by its pastor, The Rev. Wyatt Tee Walker, who is steaming over a broken promise for a public apology.

“Please know that your relationship with me and Canaan cannot be repaired until you make a public or written apology,” Walker wrote Jackson in a Feb. 1 confidential letter obtained by Village Voice reporter Peter Noel. “I will not allow you to disrespect my person or the people I serve. Until such time, please do not call me or ask for my assistance in any manner.”

On Jan. 23 Walker, a former top aide to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., “reluctantly” allowed Jackson to appear before his congregation for what was supposed to be a “Service of Penance.” Instead of repenting his act of fathering a child out of wedlock, he went into political-rally mode. “He did not repent,” a Rev. Al Sharpton aide told the Voice. “He did not apologize. He made a political speech. He never referred, even remotely, to the scandal.” Walker, who didn’t attend, was outraged when he watched a videotape 10 days later.

“The bottom line is that you cannot help yourself,” the letter to Jackson reads. “Your addiction to the need of media attention seems to be fatal and you have fallen into the practice of using people for your advantage and personal aggrandizement.”

ONLY 4 AND ALREADY A ROCK CRITIC: Rock star Bob Geldof says he’s doing everything possible to make sure the orphaned girl he cares for remembers her late parents, INXS singer Michael Hutchence and British television personality Paula Yates. “I have the records, photos, videos and all that stuff for her,” Geldof told Hello! magazine in an interview published Tuesday.

A British judge awarded Geldof, Yates’ former husband, temporary custody of 4-year-old Tiger Lily, ruling in December that he should care for her for a year so she could remain in Britain with his other children, her three half-sisters. Geldof, one-time lead singer of the Boomtown Rats and organizer of the 1980s famine relief fund-raiser Live Aid, said the four girls were horrified when one of his old songs came on the radio.

“The next song coincidentally was Michael’s,” he recalled. “Tiger was listening intently. At the end she said, My real dad’s a better singer than you, Dad.'”

Today’s People Column was compiled by Vera H-C Chan from staff and wire reports. Comments? Write to us c/o the Times, P.O. Box 8099, Walnut Creek, CA 94596-8099. Or call 925-943-8262, fax 925-943-8362, or e-mail spin@cctimes.com.

Milestones

Hearing postponed: For Jenna Bush. A judge agreed on Wednesday to postpone the case of President Bush’s 19-year-old daughter, charged with alcohol possession by a minor, because her lawyer was having knee surgery Monday. The University of Texas at Austin freshman could face a possible $500 fine or community service.

Baby born: To James Cameron and Suzy Amis. “Access Hollywood” reported Tuesday night that Amis gave birth four weeks ago. Kristy Freedman, publicist for the Cameron-produced Fox television show “Dark Angel,” said a detailed announcement is in the works.

Birthdays: Broadway librettist Betty Comden (82), folk singer Pete Seeger (82), country singer Dave Dudley (73), singer James Brown (68), singer Engelbert Humperdinck (65), sports announcer Greg Gumbel (55), singer Christopher Cross (50), country musician Cactus Moser of Highway 101 (44), country singer Shane Minor (33), actor Dule Hill (26), actress Jill Berard (11).

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