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Cameos haven't disappeared

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If anyone thought that the cameo — the unannounced appearance of a star in a film — had disappeared, rest easy: The venerable Hollywood tradition is alive. Robert Altman’s The Player, due out in April 1992, could feature a grand total of 80 cameos, including ones by Bruce Willis and Julia Roberts; Steven Spielberg’s upcoming Hook will spotlight Glenn Close, Quincy Jones, and Phil Collins as some of the Captain’s throat-slitting pirates. Here are a few recent celebrity sightings:

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
Sean Connery as King Richard the Lionhearted, who shows up at the finale and gives his blessing to the marriage of Robin and Maid Marian.
Impact: Connery, who played an aging Robin Hood in 1976’s Robin and Marian, reminds critics what real star charisma is and makes Kevin Costner look pale.

Dying Young
Ellen Burstyn as Julia Roberts’ working-class mom, who watches Home Shopping Network and advises Roberts to feed her cancer-stricken patient ”some ham.”
Impact: Burstyn gives a solid performance, reminding audiences she’s still around.

Defending Your Life
Shirley MacLaine as the sunshiny host of a celestial video about past lives that’s shown to Albert Brooks and Meryl Streep.
Impact: Shirley’s willingness to goof on her space-cadet image is especially appealing.

Backdraft
David Crosby as a resident of a burning apartment building, who stands on the sidewalk in his bathrobe, begging Kurt Russell to save his home.
Impact: None, except for Crosby’s gratitude to director Ron Howard and producer Brian Grazer for giving him a shot at immortality.

Dead Again
Robin Williams as an ex-psychiatrist who works as a stock boy at a Spanish food market and offers penetrating insights on past lives and possible murder motives.
Impact: This is a nice boost for the film.

Doc Hollywood
George Hamilton as the ponytailed owner of Beverly Hills plastic surgery clinic, who convinces Michael J. Fox that life as a face-lifter is empty and vapid.
Impact: Hamilton is more important to Doc, uncredited, than he was to Godfather III, credited.

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