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Entertainment news for August 8, 1997

Celebrity parents made news this week

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The family that plays together stays together. Must be why celeb kids are paving the way for Mom and Pop’s showbiz careers. Two years ago, Suddenly Susan‘s Kathy Griffin helped her dad, John, 76, sign with a commercial agent. Since then the Chicago electronics-store manager has appeared in more than half a dozen spots, including ads for GM, Chevy Malibu, and Pizza Hut. Now Ellen’s mom, Betty DeGeneres, 67, whom viewers may recognize from the Ellen promos with her daughter (above), is getting into the act. She recently signed with L.A.’s Abrams Artists, and though she has yet to land an ad, her agent, Doug Ely, thinks Betty’s got what it takes. ”She’s warm, approachable, and has a lot of confidence,” he says. ”It’s just a matter of time.” What persuaded her to go pro? ”Jean Howard had a small part on Ellen, and she told me that commercials are a lot of fun,” says Betty. Jean would be Ron’s mom.