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People In The News

May 23, 1991

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Michael Landon, battling cancer of his liver and pancreas, has been hospitalized for surgery to deal with a blood clot in his leg, a spokesman said.

Landon, 54, entered Cedars-Sinai Medical Center late Monday for the surgical procedure performed Tuesday, said his spokesman, Harry Flynn.

Landon was expected to go home to Malibu on Friday.

″He was supposed to go home right away, but he now has the flu and they won’t release you if you’re sick,″ said Flynn.

″He seems to be doing fairly well. It was a small surgical procedure not directly related to the cancer,″ said hospital spokesman Ron Wise.

Landon, star of ″Highway to Heaven,″ ″Little House on the Prairie″ and ″Bonanza,″ learned last month that he had inoperable cancer of the liver and pancreas. The father of nine is undergoing chemotherapy and experimental treatments.

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The Internal Revenue Service auctioned off tax-plagued entertainer Willie Nelson’s golf course and country club for $230,000 Thursday.

Nelson’s property in several states has been seized and sold by the IRS to help pay $16.7 million he owes in back taxes, penalties and interest.

The IRS last month bought back the 9-hole Pedernales Country Club and Golf Course from Darrell Royal, former University of Texas football coach and friend of Nelson.

Royal bought the 76-acre property west of Austin for $117,350 during a bank foreclosure sale in March.

But the IRS redeemed the golf course and scheduled Thursday’s sealed-bid auction after officials received offers for more than Royal’s purchase price, said IRS spokeswoman Valerie Thornton.

The successful bidder was James Noryian, owner of Investors International of Austin, which mostly buys foreclosed commercial real estate. He said he didn’t have any immediate plans for the golf course.

The IRS in April also sold Nelson’s fishing camp, located near the golf course, but it has had trouble selling most of the entertainer’s other Hill Country properties.

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NEW YORK (AP) - Olympic gold medal gymnast Cathy Rigby says her stage role as Peter Pan has helped her overcome her fear of failure.

Rigby has been nominated for a Tony award for her Broadway role as the boy from Never-Never Land who won’t grow up.

″At the Olympics, I needed to please, to live up to expectations,″ Rigby says in an interview in this weekend’s issue of Parade magazine. ″This time, I just wanted to do the best I could. I wanted to pass on the magic of this role.″

Rigby, who began acting in 1981, says this role has made her comfortable.

″For a long time, I didn’t grow up,″ she said. ″Maybe that’s why I understand Peter so well. Peter accepts fear. Even though it’s frightening to stand before millions at the Olympics or stand in front of an audience in the theater, there’s a part of me that plows through fear like he does.″

End Advance

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NEW YORK (AP) - Dennis Miller, the smirking former″Weekend Update″ anchorman on NBC’s ″Saturday Night Live,″ will host a new syndicated late- night talk and variety series, the series’ producers said Thursday.

Miller, who quit NBC’s show after its season-ending broadcast last Saturday, had been a ″Saturday Night Live″ regular since 1985.

His new, as-yet untitled show, to air Mondays through Fridays, will premiere next January, said its producers, the Tribune Entertainment Company of Chicago and Brillstein-Grey Productions in Los Angeles.

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NEW YORK (AP) - Broadway producer David Merrick has gotten better and better over his 79 years, says his live-in lover, countering the opinion of his estranged wife.

″Sexually, he is very, very good for a man his age,″ 37-year-old Natalie Lloyd told the Daily News.

Merrick, best known for the Broadway hits ″Hello Dolly,″ ″42nd Street″ and Promises, Promises,″ also is perfectly sound when it comes to his financial affairs, said Lloyd.

Merrick’s estranged wife, Etan, filed court papers claiming he is physically and mentally infirm since a 1983 stroke and needs a conservator to protect his $14 million fortune from his ″unscrupulous″ mistress.

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NEW YORK (AP) - Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis says she’s ″passionate about preservation″ of architecture and heritage.

In a letter to Parade magazine, published in the upcoming weekend edition, Mrs. Onassis encourages people to think about saving architecture as part of their efforts to preserve the environment.

″We are the only country in the world that trashes its old buildings, old neighborhoods. Too late we realize how much we need them,″ she wrote.

″Youth is leading the fight to save the planet. Why not also fight for some of the great old buildings on it?″ she asked.

End Advance

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CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Navy Lt. Jeffrey Zaun, a former prisoner of war in Iraq, says he hopes attention turns away from him to soldiers still returning from the Persian Gulf War.

″These guys were over there for several months,″ he said by telephone Wednesday during a stop at nearby Fort Campbell. ″They fought hard and did a good job.″

Zaun, 28, of Cherry Hill, N.J., was taken prisoner after his A-6 Intruder was shot down during the early days of the bombing of Iraq.

He was shown on Iraqi television with a swollen, bruised and cut face.

He is back on active duty, assigned to Oceana Naval Air Station near Virginia Beach, Va.

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