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People in the News

January 26, 1990

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A judge has ordered Washington Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke to pay his ex-wife $29,000 a year to support the couple’s 2-year-old daughter, far less than the $110,000 she had requested.

″It means I’m going to appeal,″ a tearful Suzanne Martin Cooke told The Washington Post in an interview Thursday from her home in Fauquier County, Va. ″It means I’ll have to move to D.C. ... It means I’ve got to go to work.″

Cooke’s attorney, however, had a different opinion of the decision handed down this week after a drawn-out and rancorous child support battle in Fauquier County Circuit Court.

″I’m speaking for Mr. Cooke. Mr. Cooke and I think it’s fair and equitable,″ said Milton S. Gould.

The legal battle began shortly after the two were married in July 1987, when Cooke discovered his pregnant wife had not had the abortion she’d promised, according to court testimony. He locked her out of his estate in affluent Middleburg, Va., in August and filed for divorce in October.

Cooke, 77, has never seen his daughter Jacqueline, born Jan. 25, 1988, although he acknowledged paternity last spring after court-ordered blood tests. The Redskins owner refused to add child support to his alimony payment of $6,000 a month through 1993 until the amount was set by the court.

Mrs. Cooke had asked for $11,640 a month to cover Jacqueline’s schooling, clothes, vacations, a nanny, riding lessons and purchase of a $650,000 farm. Instead, she will receive $2,420 a month.

Although Mrs. Cooke conceded that many single mothers would be grateful to get that much child support, ″they aren’t married to billionaires. We’re dealing with one of the richest men in America.″

Last October, Cooke was No. 51 on the Forbes magazine list of 400 richest Americans, with a fortune the magazine estimated at $1.25 billion in real estate and other interests.


LOS ANGELES (AP) - It’s hard to imagine, but Paul Newman became eligible for Social Security on Friday.

The ageless actor with the cobalt-blue eyes said he planned to celebrate his 65th birthday by having ″a quiet dinner with my lady,″ according to his publicist, Warren Cowan. The lady is his wife and frequent costar, Joanne Woodward.

On Thursday, Newman was doing what he loves best: racing fast cars, this time at Daytona, Fla. ″Joanne is tolerant of my racing,″ he once remarked, ″especially since I repay her by going to the ballet.″

A dozen years ago, Newman lamented, ″If only I had started racing 10 years ago, I could have been a national champion by the age of 50.″

The chances of Newman needing Social Security payments are slim. Producers are still willing to pay him $3 million to appear in their films. This despite the fact that his two 1989 releases failed to ignite the box office.

The actor portrayed two real-life figures: Gen. Leslie Groves, head of the atomic bomb project, in ″Fat Man and Little Boy″; and Gov. Earl Long, the hell-raising Louisiana governor in ″Blaze.″

The third film he made last year, ″Mr. and Mrs. Bridge,″ will be released this summer. Ms. Woodward is costar in the story of upper-middle-cla ss life in Kansas City from 1914 to 1944.


LOS ANGELES (AP) - ″Star Trek″ actor William Shatner said a woman suing him for palimony is a onetime friend trying to a make some money off of his stardom.

Vira Montes, 28, contends in a lawsuit filed by celebrity divorce lawyer Marvin Mitchelson that she was the 58-year-old Shatner’s ″companion, confidante and homemaker″ from 1984 until earlier this month.

″It’s a shame this had to happen,″ Shatner said in a statement released Thursday. ″The case she presents is ridiculous. She was a friend whom I tried to help. Someone obviously got to her and convinced her that she could possibly make a killing by suing me.″

Shatner, on vacation with his wife, Marcy, and three daughters, was unavailable for further comment, said his publicist, Cheryl Kagan.

In a lawsuit filed Wednesday, Ms. Montes claims she gave up her career as a medical assistant in exchange for Shatner’s promises to provide her financial support.

She claims that Shatner agreed to provide her a California house, a car, horseback riding lessons, an Arabian horse and another horse for her 8-year- old son.


ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Former President Reagan will receive $1,000 a minute for a one-hour talk to owners of Hardee’s franchises meeting in Orlando next month.

″We had our sights on him before he was even out of office,″ said spokesman Ted Schlutow of the fast-food restaurant chain. ″Our biggest growth pattern was during the Reagan years.″

Schlutow said he didn’t know what Reagan’s topic would be when he speaks Feb. 5. The convention, expected to attract 1,400 Hardee’s owners, will also feature a speech by Lou Holtz, Notre Dame University’s football coach.

Reagan has been commanding hefty appearance fees since leaving office. His take-home pay here will pale in comparison to the $2 million a Japanese media conglomerate reportedly paid for a Reagan visit last October.

The night before his planned speech here, Reagan and wife Nancy will attend a dinner benefiting House of Hope, a home for teen-age runaways. They will receive the House of Hope’s first humanitarian award.


LONDON (AP) - Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher visited the set of Britain’s longest-running soap opera Friday, turned down a drink and complained that the serial’s timing is awkward for her.

″I’ll just have a bitter lemon. I’m on duty,″ said Mrs. Thatcher, 64, when she was offered a whiskey in the stage-set pub of ″Coronation Street.″

She told the cast she often was too busy to watch the 30-minute episodes screened on Wednesdays and Fridays. Sometimes she videotaped them.

″Coronation Street″ has been running since 1960 on the commercial Independent Television channel. It chronicles the lives of several families living in a blue-collar neighborhood in northern England.

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