Plus, Sir Alec Guinness, 98°, Macaulay Culkin, Ice T, Al Pacino, and more

By Lori Reese
Updated August 07, 2000 at 04:00 AM EDT
Sam Levi/Retna

RESCUE It seems Harrison Ford takes his many roles as an action hero quite seriously. The ”What Lies Beneath” star is being credited with saving a stranded hiker from a mountaintop in his — get this — helicopter. Ford, who lends his flying skills and machine to police rescue missions, apparently responded to a distress call sent last week by Sarah George, 20, and Megan Freeman, 22. The two women were in the midst of a five-hour climb when dehydration and altitude sickness immobilized George. The actor landed his ride in a nearby meadow and lifted her from the scene. The ailing woman says she had no idea that she was being chauffeured by Han Solo until an emergency medical technician filled her in, and with minutes to go before landing she vomited into a hat. ”I can’t believe I barfed in Harrison Ford’s helicopter,” she said. No doubt the force was with her.

DEATHS Sir Alec Guinness, stage and screen luminary, has died in England. The actor, best known for his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi in 1977’s ”Star Wars,” began his career in 1938 and earned his first Oscar for the 1957 classic ”The Bridge on the River Kwai.” Guinness was known for both his tremendous talent and humility. ”You can only be your own personality, and I am just happy to be an actor,” he has said. ”If I tried to swan around, I wouldn’t know how to behave. If I tried to be a superstar, I’d be a laughingstock.” He was 86.

RECORD Yet another bubblegum band is gearing up for ex Mouseketeer style success. A new tune by teen boy quartet 98° has beaten Britney Spears‘ record for the most added single on mainstream radio, reports Rolling Stone. ”Just One Night (Una Noche)” — a song from the band’s upcoming Sept. 26 release, ”Revelation” — was added to 170 of 172 station play lists across the country last week, surpassing the 155 mark set by Spears’ ”Oops!… I Did it Again.” Still, if the group hopes to crack the teen queen’s sales record, they have a long way to go: Their last album ”98 Degrees and Rising” went a mere five times platinum, compared to the 10 times platinum of Spears’ ”Baby One More Time.” But if their single is any indicator, maybe they should consider notching their name up a degree — 99° — ’cause they’re so HOT.

SPLIT Macaulay Culkin may be staying ”Home Alone” for a while. The 19 year old ex child star has split with wife Rachel Miner, 20, according to a report in the New York Post. ”They have temporarily separated. It is very amicable, and they remain the best of friends,” his spokesperson says in the Post. The two actors tied the knot in 1998, a year after they met at the Professional Children’s School in New York. It was, um, the first marriage for both.

TV NEWS Ice T has accepted an unlikely role on NBC’s ”Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” This fall, the ”Cop Killer” singer will play street smart Det. Odafin Tutuola, who teams up with Richard Belzer’s Det. John Munch, Variety reports. The rapper has worked with ”Law & Order” creator Dick Wolf many times, making guest appearances on ”New York Undercover” and ”Players.”

REEL DEALS Fox Searchlight has acquired Al Pacino‘s indie labor of love ”Chinese Coffee,” Variety reports. Pacino has been working for three years on the film, which portrays a late night conversation between a down and out Greenwich Village writer and his mentor. Fox says it plans on a 2001 release. Too bad nobody bothered to tell Pacino that struggling writers can’t afford to live in the Village anymore…. ”Ice Storm” director Ang Lee‘s latest effort ”Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” will make its North American debut at the New York Film Festival Oct. 9. The martial arts romance, which earned loud critical snaps at Cannes this year, stars Chow Yun-Fat and Michelle Yeoh.

POLITICS Add another tune to the campaign appropriation game. George W. has selected ”We the People,” sung by a collection of country luminaries including Billy Ray Cyrus, Waylon Jennings, and Jon Anderson, as the new theme song for his campaign. The song — chosen to reflect Bush’s down to earth persona — touts the hardworking lives of farmers, truckers, and factory workers. These are things Bush often read about while attending Yale.