PEOPLE

Pneumonia puts Cash in hospital once again

Pneumonia has once again put singer Johnny Cash in the hospital. The 68-year-old was listed in serious but stable condition Monday morning at Baptist Hospital. Spokeswoman Donna Mason said he was admitted Sunday morning.

Cash was treated for pneumonia during a two-week hospital stay in October 1999. The year before, he was hospitalized twice for it and said later he nearly died that fall. He was diagnosed in 1997 as suffering from a nervous system disease called Shy-Drager’s syndrome, but later was told by doctors that was a misdiagnosis. As recently as two months ago, Cash declared that his health was much improved.

AND THE ANTI-OSCAR GOES TO : Was it only last May that John Travolta unleashed his scorched earth policy, otherwise known as “Battlefield Earth”? The movie, inspired by the L. Ron Hubbard novel of the same name, leads the Razzie nominations worst picture, director, screenplay, actor, screen couple and three supporting actors as the Golden Raspberry Foundation picked contenders Monday for 2000’s worst movies.

“Battlefield” didn’t beat the all-time Razzie Award nomination leader “Showgirls” (with 13) only because the dis-awards show has whittled its categories down to nine. A sweep could bump-off-and-grind the 1995 extended lap-dance flick, which won seven awards. That seems unlikely, even though Travolta has been nominated twice for worst actor (the second for his turn in “Lucky Numbers”). Adam Sandler poses some stiff cardboard competition. “The difference between Travolta and Adam Sandler is that he’s shown in the past that he can act. With Adam Sandler, you wonder if he can do any better,” says Razzie founder John Wilson.

Other worst picture entries include Sandler’s “Little Nicky,” “Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows” and “The Next Best Thing.” They tied for second with five nominations apiece, while “The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas” garnered four.

Joining Travolta and Sandler as worst-actor nominees are Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Beach”), Sylvester Stallone (“Get Carter”) and Arnold Schwarzenegger (“The Sixth Day”). Worst actress nominees went to Kim Basinger (“Bless the Child,” “I Dreamed of Africa”), Melanie Griffith (“Cecil B. Demented”), Madonna (“The Next Best Thing”), Bette Midler (“Isn’t She Great”) and Demi Moore (“Passion of Mind”).

The foundation has 503 voting members consisting of critics, filmgoers and people who work in the entertainment business. Winners will be announced March 24 during a news conference on the eve of the Academy Awards, but no ceremony will be held to present the gold-painted, golf ball-sized plastic raspberry (valued at $4.27) atop a film canister. “I don’t think this year’s pictures are worthy of a ceremony,” Wilson says.

LIVING LA VIDA VENIDERA: That’s living the afterlife, as the Ricky Martin-to-English translations goes. The hip-swiveling sensation may soon have a female live-in, if he closes escrow on a Miami Beach mansion said to be haunted.

Former owner and philanthropist Micky Wolfson said he thrice hired an exorcist to cast out a “vindictive, old-maidish sort of figure.” Apparently, the parents of a woman killed on the way to her wedding in the late 1930s built the mansion to house her spirit. Wolfson didn’t know the woman’s name but said the sellers warned his parents when they bought the house not to make changes to it.

Mark Hampton, one of the architects of the spook dwelling, said the woman’s spirit often pulled panels from the ceiling and left radios on. Once during a discussion about changing drapes, “we both heard an Oooohh,” Hampton said. “It was a little chilling.” Of course, that could have been spectral interior-design commentary.

Current owners Andrew Hartnagle and Wayne Stork haven’t commented on any sightings, but Coldwell Banker Realtor Kent Karlock says a ghost is not part of the built-ins. “I’ve been in that house many times, and I’m not aware of anything (unexplainable),” he said. However, the furnished 7,700-square-foot 1937 estate seven blocks north from Martin’s current abode in the 4300 block of North Bay Road is selling for one million less than the asking price of $7.5 million.

CRUISE CONTROL: Though many were shocked by the abrupt news that Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman were breaking up, no one was apparently more surprised than the couple’s friends and family and even the wife, herself. The Australian actress was “broadsided” by the public split, announced Monday, reports People magazine. “Nicole was surprised by the timing of the announcement more than the idea of the separation,” an anonymous friend said. “It came much sooner than expected.” Cruise, 38, and Kidman, 33, had just renewed their marriage vows on Christmas Eve, which was their 10-year anniversary, US Weekly reveals in an upcoming issue. Cruise filed for divorce in Los Angeles court Wednesday, citing irreconcilable differences.

While speculation about the breakup has included the couple’s involvement in Scientology, the couple’s publicist, Pat Kingsley, vehemently naysays that. “Scientology had nothing to do with this They are not being controlled by the Church of Scientology. They are not being counseled.”

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.

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