Strom Thurmond And Wife Separate

Posted: March 29, 1991

Sen. Strom Thurmond (R., S.C.) and his wife since 1968, Nancy, have split, they announced yesterday. The couple, married when she was 22 and he was 66, have four children, ages 15 to 19. They made separate statements, but neither indicated that a divorce was brewing. "At this point I would like to be able to pursue several career options and some measure of independence," said Nancy, 44. "I care deeply for Strom. . . . Public life carries with it heavy responsibilities, loneliness, extreme pressures, stress and family sacrifices, often with devastating consequences." In a much shorter statement, Strom Thurmond, at 88 the oldest member of Congress, said: "This was a difficult decision, but one on which we both agree."

CELEBRITY DOCKET

Donnie Wahlberg, freed Wednesday on $5,000 bail after being charged with arson, denied that he set a rug on fire in a Louisville, Ky., hotel. "The report is that I ran down the hall pouring vodka all over the place trying to burn the place down," said the New Kids on the Block singer. "There was no vodka, there was no matches. . . . In no way, shape or form did I break the law. . . . I'm really on top of the world right now. Why would I want to burn a hotel down?" No injuries or major damage were reported from the fire.

In papers filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Nicolas Cage has been named by Christina Fulton as the father of her 4-month-old son, Weston Coppola Cage. The actor denies the allegation.

APRES WAR

Sir Stormin'? Could be. London royal-watching columnist Nigel Dempster says that when Queen Elizabeth visits the colonies in May, she'll call on Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf and wife Brenda at their Tampa, Fla., digs and give him one of those honorary knighthoods she bestowed on Ronald Reagan.

Gen. Colin Powell will take the mound at New York's Yankee Stadium April 15 to throw out the first ball for the home team's home opener against the Chicago White Sox. The Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman will be joined by the family of Marine Capt. Manuel Rivera, the first Bronx resident to die in the gulf war.

Lt. Gen Thomas Kelly, the gulf-war Pentagon briefer who's out of the Army this weekend, has about 50 speeches lined up at $20,000 a pop, sources say - though his agent won't. Good retirement duty.

Sure, war is hell, but maybe it's also football. Steve Sabol, president of NFL Films in Mount Laurel, said his outfit will put out a 60-minute documentary on the war by late summer, complete with big-voice narration and big-orchestra background. "Football is obviously the military's sport of choice," said Sabol. "The television newscasters certainly played (the war) that way and . . . President Bush even called it his 'Super Bowl.' " Peace activist Leslie Cagan objected that the plan "reinforces the notion that war is a viable, workable, common-sense way to solve international problems (and) is a game."

MARKINGS

Phil Collins and George Harrison were among 90 mourners at yesterday's funeral for Conor Clapton, the 4 1/2-year-old son of Eric Clapton who died in a fall last week from a Manhattan high-rise. His coffin, in a church 15 miles northwest of London, was draped in tulips and jasmine. There were more than 70 wreaths, including one in the shape of a guitar.

Whitney Houston will discuss those rumors that she's a lesbian on Ed Gordon's talk show tonight at 8:30 p.m. on cable's Black Entertainment Television.

Indianapolis Mayor William H. Hudnut 3d did not take kindly to City Councilman Julius Shaw's offer to part with his four tickets to the NCAA Final Four basketball tournament for $1,500. Shaw bought them for $120. Though scalping is legal in Indianapolis, Hudnut said Shaw's use of his "public position for personal profit is reprehensible." Shaw countered that he didn't buy them for scalping purposes - but then, "free enterprise is just that kind of animal in America." Voracious!

MEDIA WATCH

George Holliday, heretofore unheard from except for that damning video he took of police officers beating a Los Angeles motorist, went celebrity as of yesterday. He hired a lawyer, who announced that his guy talks for bucks only. Look for Holliday on Monday's Geraldo. The lawyer called Holliday, 31, "a national folk hero," but noted: "He never wanted all this fame and fortune."

Bill Watterson, creator of Calvin and Hobbes, is taking a nine-month hiatus

from the comic strip beginning May 5. Strips from its 1985 debut year will be rerun. Watterson reportedly will retreat to Santa Fe, N.M., and paint. "Had I known Calvin and Hobbes would last this long, I would have paced myself," said the reclusive Watterson. "The strip requires a great deal of research, and I need to do more interplanetary exploration and paleontology work before I continue."

French actor Gerard Depardieu yesterday formally demanded that three publications retract a story in which he was quoted as saying he participated in rapes as a boy. Time magazine gave a quick rebuff, saying it was satisfied that quotes in its story were "neither mistranslated nor misunderstood." USA Today had no immediate comment, and the Washington Post said its lawyers were studying the written demand. In a statement yesterday, the Oscar-nominated Depardieu said the stories were "outrageous. I did not participate in a rape at 9 or any age. It is, perhaps, accurate to say I had sexual experiences at an early age, but rape - never."

WHITE HOUSE DOINGS

Barry Polisar, banned last fall from Anne Arundel County, Md., schools, had the best possible thing happen - he landed a gig at Monday's annual White House Easter-egg roll. Polisar is a children's performer whose songs - which deal satirically with things like nose-picking, underwear and girls with beards - were deemed too earthy for the children of Anne Arundel. Polisar noted: "Isn't it amazing what a difference six months make?"

Barbara Bush was on the West Coast Wednesday night, so the Bush kids, Dorothy and Neil, decided to take dad out for some theatrical diversion. At Washington's National Theater, just two blocks away from the White House, President Bush and his children took in The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber. They do know how to love him.

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