April 29, 1994 at 04:00 AM EDT

Money Talk
I really had to say something about the grave gender disparity in the salaries of actors mentioned in your article ”Offers They Can’t Refuse.” I realize that the figures are based on the drawing power and track records of these stars, but get serious! I like Michelle Pfeiffer, Jodie Foster, and Meryl Streep as much as Tom Cruise, Kevin Costner, and Al Pacino. They are all fabulous and are all great talents. So who makes the decisions on what to pay whom? When producer David Brown says that the apparent disparity is ”not in any way discriminatory,” I think he’s way off the beam. This seems to be further evidence that women in all occupations continue to be undervalued compared with their male colleagues. Hollywood should be ashamed of itself.
Marci Duryea
Glen Ellyn, Ill.

Let me get this straight: Holly Hunter (who has just won an Oscar) would have to make eight movies just to equal the asking price (for one movie) of that blond twerp Macaulay Culkin? She also performed nude scenes. As usual, it is the white male establishment that is pulling in the big bucks, while a few blacks—such as Oscar winner Denzel Washington—and a handful of women have to compete with the likes of Kiefer Sutherland and Mickey Rourke for whatever money is left.
Mary Shelton
Riverside, Calif.

The top money-making actors you listed were all in the $8 million to $15 million range. To answer the question you posed on your cover, ”Are They Worth It?”: Arnold Schwarzenegger? No. Eddie Murphy? No. Michael Keaton? No. Bruce Willis? No. Steven Seagal? No. Tom Cruise? Well, maybe.
David Sterns
Astoria, Ore.

‘Star’ Burst
In his review of my book, Gene Roddenberry: The Myth and the Man Behind Star Trek, Benjamin Svetkey ill served both the work and Star Trek fans, whom he seems to believe are incapable of understanding that Star Trek has transcended its creator. Calling me ”the Salman Rushdie of Trekkies,” Svetkey stated that my ”coolest find” was the first-draft opening narration for the series. Apparently, Svetkey must have already known what I believe most people didn’t—that Gene Roddenberry spent the years after Star Trek went off the air reinventing his past so that the details of his life would conform to an image of a visionary. Svetkey revealed his own agenda when he wrote that ”hell hath no fury like a Trekkie scorned.” Shame on you for sending the Ayatollah Khomeini to review a balanced and thoroughly documented book.
Joel Engel
Topanga, Calif.

‘Lake’ Affront
We at the Ricki Lake show were very unhappy with your representation of events (in News & Notes) surrounding the program entitled ”I’m Angry Because People Think I’m Gay.” We consider Ricki Lake to be in the vanguard of daytime talk shows in the way that we deal with gay men and women. The episode in question was handled fairly and sensitively by Lake, the panelists, and the studio audience.
Gail Steinberg
Ricki Lake Executive Producer New York City

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