Pamela Anderson to trade acting for stripping -- Plus, news about David Letterman, Mike Myers, Gwyneth Paltrow, Meg Ryan, Michael Jackson, Mary J. Blige, Billy Joel, and others
Kid Rock, Pamela Anderson
Credit: Kid Rock and Pamela Anderson: Dave Hogan/Image Direct

TUBE TALK ”V.I.P.” star Pamela Anderson says that, within two years, she’d like to retire from acting. (Cynics may wonder when she ever started acting.) ”Within a couple of years, I am just going to bow out,” she says on an interview with TV’s ”Extra,” airing in two parts today and Monday. ”I really want to stop everything and be with my kids. I have had a lot of craziness, and it is just time to simplify.” Not that the 34-year-old is necessarily quitting show business altogether; in fact, she may yet work with her rock star boyfriend. ”I have a stripper pole in my bedroom. I was thinking that I would just take pole dancing lessons and go on the road with Kid Rock.”

Not that you’d know it from the low-key episode he plans tonight, but this evening marks David Letterman‘s 20th anniversary as a late-night host. His show debuted on Feb. 1, 1982 on NBC and, with few changes, moved to CBS in 1993. But there’ll be little on tonight’s broadcast to mark the occasion, save for the appearance of Regis Philbin, who has visited Dave’s show 61 times (second only to Tony Randall‘s 70 visits), and who seems to be Letterman’s guest of choice for his milestones, like his first post-heart surgery show a couple years ago, and his first post-Sept. 11 show. Behind the scenes, however, Letterman is observing the anniversary by renegotiating his contract with CBS, which expires at the end of the summer. CBS is expected to offer him at least two or three more years and a raise from the $16 million or so he earns per year now, lest he be lured away by Fox, which hopes to create its own late-night show with an established host like Letterman or Conan O’Brien, whose NBC contract also expires soon….

It’s a scene you’d expect to see in an action movie: A woman is trapped in a burning car, and a man pulls her out seconds before the vehicle goes up in flames. Except that this incident really happened last Saturday, and the hero was ”60 Minutes” correspondent Steve Kroft. The 56-year-old reporter saw the woman stuck in the sand and spinning her wheels outside his beach home in Southampton on Long Island, N.Y. He pulled her out of the smoke-filled car just 30 seconds before an engine fire engulfed the car’s interior. She turned out to be a 76-year-old New Jersey woman with diabetes who had been listed as missing for a day. ”She was very disoriented and didn’t know exactly where she was,” Kroft said. Southampton Police Sgt. Robert Flood said, ”He saved that woman’s life.”…

REEL DEALS Austin Powers is officially dis-membered. The Motion Picture Association of America held up on appeal its initial ruling that New Line can’t call its movie ”Austin Powers in Goldmember,” following MGM’s complaint that the title infringed on the copyright of the classic 007 picture ”Goldfinger.” While the Powers franchise had spoofed a James Bond title before (”Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me”), the MPAA ruled that this time, New Line hadn’t followed proper procedure in filing the name. The studio may resubmit the title, but not before June 14, which is only a few weeks before the movie opens (July 26), which would give the filmmakers too little time to mount an ad campaign once the MPAA issues a ruling. Still, forcing Mike Myers to change his movie’s name may backfire on MGM, which had been wooing him to revive the studio’s ”Pink Panther” franchise and step in to Peter Sellers‘ shoes as Inspector Clouseau….

Guess it should have been no surprise that Gwyneth Paltrow will star in a London production of last year’s Tony- and Pulitzer-winning Broadway play ”Proof.” Her patrons at Miramax have bought the film rights and commissioned a screenplay from the play’s author, David Auburn. So Paltrow’s stage run in May will serve as a handy audition.

How do you follow up an intimate, indie character drama about a woman living as a man? How about with a big-budget, apocalyptic sci-fi thriller? That’s the plan for ”Boys Don’t Cry” cowriter/director Kimberly Peirce, who’s in talks with Universal to direct an adaptation of Arthur C. Clarke‘s ”Childhood’s End.”

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