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September 12, 1988

NEW YORK (AP) _ Ted Koppel, who’s talked to numerous world leaders as anchor of ABC-TV’s ″Nightline,″ says he wouldn’t mind continuing those chats in another capacity - like secretary of state.

″Would I someday want to be secretary of state of the United States? Of course,″ Koppel said in Life magazine’s October issue.

″Do I think I would really be qualified for it?″ he continued. ″In some respects, yes, because part of the job is to sell American foreign policy, not only to Congress but to the American public.″

Koppel recalled that some of his most exciting years were the ones spent covering then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s shuttle diplomacy in the Middle East. They have remained friends, he said.

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Cartoonist Gary Larson will give his pen a rest this fall to take a 14-month break from creating ″The Far Side,″ his syndicate says.

Larson, 38, who lives in Seattle, will stop distributing new cartoons Oct. 30 and will begin again Jan. 1, 1990.

″Even revolutionaries need to refuel,″ said John McMeel, president of Universal Press Syndicate, which distributes Larson’s cartoons to more than 800 newspapers.

Larson, who says he sits down at his drawing table and ″gets silly,″ is famous for cartoons about cows that honk at humans, dinosaurs that smoke and women with beehive hairdos.

During Larson’s hiatus, Universal Press will distribute more than 1,000 cartoons he drew in the early 1980s that were published in about 30 newspapers, McMeel said Saturday.

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GEORGETOWN, Ohio (AP) - World walker Steven Newman says he may be staying put for a while after taking a short stroll to the altar.

Newman, who walked 22,500 miles across 20 countries and five continents from April 1983 to April 1987, married Suzanne Neu Woods, 24, on Saturday.

″As of this morning, Steve Newman’s wanderlust may have been nipped in the bud,″ he said.

The 34-year-old Bethel man has been making the television talk show rounds and is writing a book about his experiences.

The couple met last year when Mrs. Newman took her grandmother to hear Newman speak to a group of senior citizens.

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NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (AP) - Paramount Pictures, responding to criticism from Portugese-Americans about its new movie ″The Accused,″ starring Jodie Foster and Kelly McGillis, says the film is not based on the Big Dan’s gang rape case.

Portuguese-Americans have said ″The Accused″ will open old wounds stemming from the barroom rape here.

The movie shot in Vancouver, Canada, contains a barroom rape scene, but does not portray Portuguese-Americans or any other ethnic group as committing the rape, said Paramount spokeswoman Jane Lanouette.

The movie is not set in Massachusetts and is not based on the Big Dan’s case, Lanouette said.

The disclaimer followed reports that the movie was based on the March 1983 gang rape at Big Dan’s tavern in a section of New Bedford heavily populated by Portugese-Americans. The case drew national attention.

Six men, all of Portuguese descent, were charged in the case. Four were convicted and two were acquitted.

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) - Dustin Hoffman, who plays an autistic man in his latest film, ″Rainman,″ will attend a premiere here to benefit a local autism center.

″It’s extremely gratifying for a person of his stature to pay attention to a very unusual population of people,″ said Ruth Sullivan, director of Huntington’s Autism Services Center.

The actor befriended Mrs. Sullivan’s 28-year-old autistic son, Joseph, as he prepared for his role.

Autism is a communication and behavior disorder characterized by impaired speech and an unresponsiveness to other people.

In ″Rainman,″ which co-stars Tom Cruise, Hoffman plays Raymond Babbitt, an autistic man who inherits $3 million from his father. Cruise plays his brother, who tries to trick Babbitt out of the money.

Barry Levinson, whose films include ″Diner,″ ″The Natural″ and ″Tin Men,″ directed the United Artists production, set for release Dec. 12. The screening at the Keith-Albee Theatre comes one day before the film’s official premiere in New York and Los Angeles.

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BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) - Alan Ladd Jr. is leaving his post as chairman and chief executive officer of MGM Pictures Inc. after a string of hit films, including ″Moonstruck″ and ″A Fish Called Wanda.″

Ladd, 50, a former president of 20th Century Fox and president of The Ladd Co., also resigned as director of MGM-UA Communications Co.

″Over the past few months, I had received inquiries from third parties regarding other opportunities; I felt that it was inappropriate for me to consider these while still affiliated with MGM,″ Ladd said. ″Recently, I made the decision to pursue other interests.″

The recent releases ″Moonstruck,″ which won Academy Awards for actresses Cher and Olympia Dukakis, ″Willow,″ and ″A Fish Called Wanda″ leave MGM ″in the best shape its has been in the past several years,″ Ladd said.

″We regret his departure,″ said MGM-UA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Stephen D. Silbert.

While at 20th Century Fox, Ladd, son of the late actor Alan Ladd, was responsible for such hits as ″Star Wars″ and ″The Omen.″ Among his other successes are ″Chariots of Fire″ and ″Police Academy.″

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