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Entertainment news for April 16, 1993

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NIGHT AL
He just won his first Oscar after eight nominations, but Al Pacino‘s not resting on that laurel. The 52-year-old actor; honored for his portrayal of a tango-dancing blind man in Scent of a Woman, is back in New York for his role as am ex-drug-runner-turned-nightclub-owner in Carlito’s Way. Ever the Method actor, Pacino club-crawled with costars Sean Penn and Penelope Ann Miller. ”There has been a lot of hanging out outside of work,” says Miller; who plays Pacino’s dancer girlfriend. ”Al has taken us out to dinner, and next week we’re all going out dancing to salsa clubs.” Evidently, Woman wasn’t Pacino’s last tango. — Melina Gerosa

PAGE TURNER
Kathleen Turner has a new role — as a library mom in her 5-year-old daughter Rachel’s private school in Manhattan. Turner regularly reads classics like Goldilocks to the star-struck tykes. ”Kids want to know about Jessica Rabbit,” Turner says. ”They say, ‘Was that really you?”’ — Cindy Pearlman

DOCUDRAMA
Liberators: Fighting on Two Fronts in World War II is now engaged in a battle of its own. The Oscar-nominated documentary has come under fire for its premise — that a black battalion, the 761st, liberated the Buchenwald and Dachau concentration camps. PBS’ flagship station, New York’s WNET, partially funded the documentary and is reviewing its accuracy with the help of Emmy-winning documentarian Mort Silverstein (C. Everett Koop, M.D.: Children at Risk). At least one eyewitness stands behind the film. ”It was April 11, 1945, when I saw the first black soldiers coming through the main gate,” says Buchenwald survivor Benjamin Bender, 64, who appears in Liberators. ”For me, they were like giants — they were beautiful.” — Meredith Berkman

THEY’RE NO ANGELS
Frat Boys of the Month Award goes to Matt Dillon, Billy Baldwin, D.B. Sweeney, and Denis Leary, who were palling around at a recent screening of the new Robert De Niro-Ellen Barkin film, This Boy’s Life. The foursome cracked jokes and whispered in the back row like a bunch of male-bonding brats — until De Niro appeared on the screen for the first time. At that point, they became as silent as altar boys. When De Niro talks… — Sharon Isaak

SPLIT DECISION
What a difference a word makes. Benny & Joon, opening April 16, focuses on the bittersweet romance between a highly functioning schizophrenic (Mary Stuart Masterson) and the eccentric who falls for her (Johnny Depp), but the term schizophrenia has been edited out because it turned off test audiences. ”It’s a loaded word,” says Susan Arnold, who coproduced the movie with Donna Roth. ”The audience couldn’t get past the label of her illness.” Roth insists the goal isn’t to sanitize the film. ”We’re not shying away from the fact she’s mentally ill,” she says. ”It’s more about how you don’t have to be perfect to have love.” — Juliann Garey

STERN WARNING
Ever since Election Day, radio deejay Howard Stern has been bragging that President Clinton’s watchdog wonks would go easier on him and his employer, the Infinity Broadcast Corporation, than the conservative Bush administration did. But the shock jock may be in for a rude awakening. ”Infinity and Stern are going to get nailed if they violate the rules,” says interim FCC chairman James Quello. ”I’ve listened to the show, and I don’t like it. He’s just a smart-ass.” The 78-year-old Quello is a Democrat but has long backed conservative broadcasting policy. He prefers standard talk radio over Stern’s highly rated morning show. Stern, who talks to the press only on his own terms, didn’t return calls. — Alan Mirabella

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