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May 17, 1997

NEW YORK (AP) _ Let’s see if this sounds familiar. A portly comic grows up in the Midwest, heads to Hollywood and marries a huge TV star, gets into a messy divorce and then marries a much younger woman.

The story of Tom Arnold’s life? Yes and no.

It’s also the premise for Arnold’s new fall television series on the WB network, ``The Tom Show.″

``It is a little autobiographical in that I slowly develop a relationship with a younger woman,″ the 38-year-old actor says in the May 23 Entertainment Weekly. ``At some point the show will deal with that difference in age.″

After divorcing television diva Roseanne, Arnold remarried. His wife, Julie, is 23.

One thing not borrowed from real life is his ex-wife character, Arnold claimed, adding that Roseanne is attempting to sue over the program’s premise. Her lawyers declined comment.

His TV ex and the real thing will be strikingly different, Arnold said.

``We’re talking with Sean Young about playing the ex-wife,″ he says, ``and she looks nothing like Roseanne.″

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LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Getting dumped by Van Halen drove Sammy Hagar to rebuild his solo career. The rock ‘n’ roll veteran is bouncing back with a new album and a concert tour.

``I have to prove that there is life after Van Halen,″ Hagar said. ``If they think they can bring anyone in to replace Sammy Hagar, they’re making a big mistake.″

Hagar, who stepped in for original Van Halen singer David Lee Roth when he left the band in 1985, was kicked out of the band last June in a bitter split. After recording a few new songs with Roth, Van Halen hired Gary Cherone, formerly of the band Extreme, as its lead singer.

The 49-year-old Hagar admits the dismissal hurt a lot, sending him into a deep funk relieved only with the help of former Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart.

Hart shared how his own pain and depression following the 1995 death of Grateful Dead leader Jerry Garcia was only relieved by focusing on music.

``He said, `You’ve got to get right back into it,‴ Hagar said. ``I’m not kidding, Mickey became like my coach. He shoved me into it, and we just started writing songs.″

Within two weeks of his firing, Hagar was working on his new album ``Marching to Mars″ and making plans for a tour with his new band. The album comes out Tuesday, the concert tour kicks off Friday in Davenport, Iowa.

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LONDON (AP) _ Diana is cleaning out her closet.

The Princess of Wales released details Saturday about 80 formal dresses she is putting up for sale to benefit AIDS and cancer charities, a fund-raising idea championed by 14-year-old son Prince William.

The list of high-fashion frocks Diana wore during her marriage to Prince Charles is topped by her favorite British designer, Catherine Walker, who made 42 of the evening, dance and cocktail dresses.

Other designers include: the Emanuels, Bruce Oldfield, Zandra Rhodes, Victor Edelstein, Murray Arbeid, Yuki, Bellville Sassoon and Lorcan Mullany, Hachi, Jacques Azagury, Gina Fratini, and Christina Stamboulian.

The dresses, to be auctioned June 25 in New York, span Diana’s 15-year marriage to Charles, which ended in divorce last summer.

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ It doesn’t get any better for George P. Shultz. Besides getting a commemorative statue, the former secretary of state is also getting a new bride.

The 76-year-old Shultz announced his engagement Friday to Charlotte Maillard Swig, chief of protocol for San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown.

During the statue unveiling program at the exclusive Bohemian Club, Shultz surprised the crowd with the news of the planned nuptials, then showed off the engagement ring _ a band made of red, white and blue jewels.

Shultz served as secretary of state for Ronald Reagan.

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