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People in the News

May 8, 1985

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Despite an Academy Award for ″The Killing Fields,″ Dr. Haing S. Ngor continues to work for $400 a week counseling refugees at the Chinatown Service Center.

Ngor, 36, has no beach house in Malibu or mansion in Bel-Air. The physician, who speaks nine languages, maintains a modest apartment on the edge of Chinatown, near his work at the center, which provides social services, job training and placement for about 30,000 Chinese and Indochinese each year.

On a shelf beside his French-English dictionary, there is a paperback copy of ″The Killing Fields″ - the factually based story of an American reporter and his Cambodian assistant during the fall of Cambodia in 1975.

In ″The Killing Fields,″ Ngor portrayed Dith Pran, the assistant who was forced into slave labor in the fields with millions of other Cambodians.

Ngor’s experiences under the Khmer Rouge were similar to Pran’s. Both escaped into Thailand. All that remains of Ngor’s family is a younger brother, who lives in Van Nuys, and two nieces.

Ngor said he got the film role ″by accident.″

″I tell you, the movie business in Cambodia is very low-class people,″ he said. ″Doctors are like pretty high.″

But the casting director was at a wedding Ngor attended and after several interviews and an offer of $1,300 a week, Ngor agreed.

Still, he said, he only learned the extent of his part when he arrived in Thailand with the filmmakers in 1983.

″They said, ‘Haing, you play this part,’ and I said, ’Oh, my God.‴


LOS ANGELES (AP) - Comedian Robin Williams, star of the film ″Moscow on the Hudson,″ is moving to Sonoma near - of all places - the Russian River.

Williams, 32, and his wife, Valerie, sold their Topanga Canyon home to live year-round on their 600-acre ranch in the Sonoma wine country, said Gary Harryman, who handled the deal through Malibu Realty.

″They sold their Topanga digs for $270,000″ to writer Gene Larson and his wife, Jodi Johnson, he said.

″Robin and Valerie built a large plantation house on the ranch, which they’ve owned for some time, and they have every comfort there that a Caesar ever had,″ Harryman said.

Because of his acting career, the couple, who have a 2-year-old son, Zachary, will also maintain a Los Angeles apartment. But his business card describes him only as ″Robin Williams. Rancher.″


AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - City Counilman Mark Spaeth, who is seeking a divorce from actress Amanda Blake, has been hospitalized for treatment of a mysterious fever, officials said.

″His illness is being kept between the two of them,″ said Michael Glynn, Ms. Blake’s manager in Hollywood. ″They agreed not to discuss that or their divorce.″

Spaeth, a 45-year-old real estate investor, was admitted Monday to Brackenridge Hospital.

″Mr. Spaeth is in guarded condition. He was admitted for diagnostic tests for a fever of unknown origin,″ hospital spokesman Donald Winspear said Tuesday.

Two weeks ago, he filed for divorce from Ms. Blake, whom he married in April 1984.

While hospitalized in Houston last June, Spaeth fell and broke his arm after becoming dizzy. He returned there in December citing weakness and weight loss. In announcing in February that he would not seek a second term, Spaeth said tests indicated he had a viral infection that would require further treatment.


DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) - Nobel laureate Mother Teresa talked with President Lt. Gen. Hossain Mohammad Ershad on Wednesday about welfare and humanitarian programs for children, a presidential official said.

In their meeting at the president’s house, they also discussed establishing a rehabilitation center for lepers in Bangladesh, said the official.

The 75-year-old Mother Teresa, here on a 24-hour visit, lectured at two conferences and visited a children’s home.

″We must love our fellow people who live and die in poverty and hunger,″ she told a seminar on adult education. ″It is not important how much we give but it is important much love we put in our giving.″

She was to leave for Calcutta, India, later Wednesday.


TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) - New York City’s flamboyant Mayor Edward Koch arrived Wednesday for his fifth trip to Israel.

Koch, who was to attend a ceremony Wedensday night in Tel Aviv marking the 40th anniversary of the end of World War II, was met here by Foreign Ministry officials.

During his five-day visit, Koch is to meet Israeli immigrants from New York City, attend a book fair in Jerusalem and meet Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek.

He last visited Israel in February 1983.

A tourist from New York City, Ellie Torres, said she sat next to Koch on the flight to Israel. She said he forgot his reading glasses and borrowed hers, which he promised to return before leaving Israel.


LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Rev. Jesse Jackson will deliver social commentaries on 150 radio stations beginning in mid-May, the president of a radio syndication company said.

The former Democratic presidential candidate was asked to make the commentaries for morning and evening drive time broadcasts because he was recently named the third most admired man in America after President Reagan and the pope, according to a recent Gallup poll, said Bob Dockery Jr., president of Syndicate It.

″I look forward to this daily dialogue with America as a way of lifting the sights of the common people,″ said Jackson.

″There is no question that Rev. Jackson has become a spokesman for a diverse segment of the American public and, therefore, is a perfect choice to discuss topical issues,″ Dockery said. ″In addition, he is an incredible speaker.″

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