Inqlings | A Phila. honor will go to Gere

Posted: June 19, 2007

Why wait for the announcement of this year's Marian Anderson Award? I hear actor Richard Gere will be in the spotlight for his humanitarian work Nov. 12 at the Kimmel Center.

Gere, 57, is to be the first native Philadelphian to get the award, named for the trailblazing South Philly contralto. (Gere left town for Syracuse, N.Y., as a baby, though.)

Gere's causes include human rights in Tibet, ecological awareness, and AIDS. Wachovia is the lead sponsor of the award program, which carries a $100,000 prize. PECO sponsors the award dinner.

Cola war

Coke has run afoul of Reading Terminal Market's general manager, Paul Steinke. He recently advised shopkeepers by e-mail that reps from the Philadelphia Coca-Cola Bottling Co. have been trying to "splash" the Coke brand all over the place, offering signs, menu boards, seat cushions and clocks.

Seven years ago, management slapped Pepsi for doing this.

Nothing wrong with a sign or two, says Steinke, "but there have to be limits set on how far that goes." He's met with Coke reps, and hopes they might consider sponsorships instead.

No reply for comment from Coke.


Bad break for veteran actress Helen McNutt. Playing a nun in the basketball flick Our Lady of Victory, she fell Friday during a scene in which the crowd celebrated an Immaculata win. Hairline fracture of the pelvis, a movie rep says.

Philly filmmaker Lee Daniels (Monsters Ball, The Woodsman, Shadowboxer) is casting for a lead actress for the movie Push, which he hopes to shoot in August. Push is based on the best seller by Sapphire, the Dickensian story of a pregnant 16-year-old in Harlem. Casting agent Diane Heery seeks an overweight African American girl, ages 15 to 19. "No acting experience necessary, but it can't hurt," says Heery. E-mail photo, resume and info to

Briefly noted

Impresario Charlie Mack halted Saturday's birthday party for his girlfriend, Maria Ramos, at Pinnacle nightclub to do a surprise 4.5-carat proposal. Together four years, they have an 8-month-old daughter, India Marie. Wedding is a year out.

After Sunday's Kimmel show, Harry Connick Jr. took two daughters and two of their friends to the Franklin Institute for a private tour of the Tut exhibit. Beholding the golden diadem (crown), he exclaimed: "I want that for my daughters!" The girls settled for Tut headdresses from the gift shop.

Book beat

St. Joe's men's basketball coach Phil Martelli says he'd been asked to write his autobiography, but "I haven't done anything to warrant it." He agreed to spell out his lessons - the gist of his motivational speeches - in Don't Call Me Coach (Camino Books), out this fall and written with Harold Gullan. (Gov. Rendell penned the foreword.)

Singer Eddie Levert will be here tomorrow to sign his father-son bonding book, I Got Your Back, which he and coauthor Lyah Beth LeFlore finished the day before the sudden death of his son, Gerald Levert. It's 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at North by Northwest, 7165 Germantown Ave.

Tube notes

Ah, live TV: CN8's Your Morning shot a swimsuit bit outside the Loews hotel recently. While a six-packed male model was preening for host Greg Coy and guest Nicole Cashman, a passerby crept up from behind and flashed his own chest, which he proceeded to stroke.

Good thing there's no smellavision yet. Howard Eskin whipped out a real fish head on NBC10's Sports Final Sunday night, much to the dismay of hosts John Clark and Jade McCarthy. Eskin explained that Clark has flip-flopped on his Phillies forecasts.

Inqlings |

A passerby gets into the act during a swimsuit demo on CN8's "Your Morning." See

Contact columnist Michael Klein

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