HUNTER, N.Y. (AP) _ Mandy Patinkin, who lost his father to pancreatic cancer, understands how important it is for cancer patients and their families to have a place to unwind.

So Patinkin, star of the CBS series ``Chicago Hope,'' is throwing his support behind a Catskills benefit Saturday for Gilda's Club, a cancer support group named after the late comedian Gilda Radner. The organization offers a clubhouse in New York City where cancer patients and their families can relax free of charge.

``It's a place for people to come who are part of a club of which they don't want to be a member,'' said Patinkin, who sits on the club's board but won't be able to attend the celebrity benefit at Hunter Mountain.

``I realize the desperate need a lot of people have to share their experiences,'' he said in a phone interview Monday from Los Angeles.

Radner, an original cast member of ``Saturday Night Live,'' died of ovarian cancer in 1989; the club was founded by her husband, actor Gene Wilder.

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Mario Cuomo, fresh from his co-starring role as a pitchman for Frito-Lay, has settled on a new job.

The former governor and might-have-been candidate for the Oval Office and the U.S. Supreme Court has gone back to lawyering. He joined Willkie Farr & Gallagher as a partner, effective Monday.

``I look forward to practicing law in an environment that will present many exceptional professional challenges and that will allow me to use all I have learned about life and the law in my public and private careers,'' Cuomo said in a statement released by the firm Tuesday.

Cuomo, who lost his bid in November for a fourth term as governor, twice toyed with running for president and turned down President Clinton's offer for a Supreme Court post.

Last month, he appeared with former Texas Gov. Ann Richards in a humorous commercial for Doritos during the Super Bowl.

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SEATTLE (AP) _ Tickets to Pearl Jam's latest pair of concerts didn't sell at all _ they were free.

Only members of the Pearl Jam fan club received the coveted tickets by mail for two unpublicized shows.

Dozens of disappointed Pearl Jam die-hards were turned away Monday from Moore Theater in downtown Seattle, the rock group's hometown.

Pearl Jam has been in a protracted legal battle with Ticketmaster over the fees it charges fans who buy concert tickets and has not performed publicly for more than a year. The group is gearing up for an overseas tour and may schedule an American tour this summer.

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LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Chuck Norris, the martial arts action-adventure star, is tying the knot.

The star of television's ``Walker, Texas Ranger'' plans to marry fashion designer Monica Hall, Norris publicist Michael Gerety confirmed Tuesday. No date has been set.

The marriage will be the second for Norris, 54, and the first for Hall, 25.

Norris was the six-time professional middleweight karate champion before turning to Hollywood to star in such films as ``Missing in Action,'' ``The Delta Force'' and ``Sidekicks.''

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DAYTON, Ohio (AP) _ Kelley Deal, guitarist for the alternative rock group The Breeders, pleaded innocent Tuesday to drug charges.

Deal, 33, was arraigned on charges of signing for delivery of a package that contained four grams of heroin and was released on her own recognizance. She faces up to 18 months in prison and a $2,500 fine if convicted.

She and her twin sister, Kim, started The Breeders in 1990. The band hit the Top 40 with the single ``Cannonball.''

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GARDINER, N.Y. (AP) _ Concert pianist Vladimir Feltsman is looking forward to shorter Customs lines now that he's become a U.S. citizen.

The 43-year-old Feltsman, who performs around the world and still visits his parents in Russia, was naturalized on Jan. 27.

A resident of Gardiner, about 65 miles north of New York City, Feltsman said his new status will make traveling abroad easier. He teaches at the State University of New York campus in nearby New Paltz.

``Without needing my old visa, at least the lines at the airport will be a lot shorter,'' he said.