Tattle: Syphilis scare hits porn biz

Dick Van Dyke : Up for lifetime award.
Dick Van Dyke : Up for lifetime award.
Posted: August 23, 2012

THE FREE SPEECH COALITION, which is actually a pornography trade group, has called for a voluntary nationwide halt to filming (impossible since most porn is shot by amateurs on smartphones) while performers are tested for . . .

Syphilis.

The old-timey STD has returned to Los Angeles as West Nile has reared its ugly mosquito-sized head in Dallas.

One sex performer has tested positive for syphilis, and the performer's sex partners are being notified, according to Joanne Cachapero, a spokeswoman for the FSC. L.A. County public-health officials are investigating a possible outbreak of the disease.

At least five possible cases of syphilis were reported last week.

Cachapero said the group is calling on all performers, more than 1,000 (although if you looked on the Internet, you'd think it was closer to 1 million), to be tested. Because syphilis can be difficult to detect, the FSC's medical experts have ordered all sex stars to get a dose of antibiotics. After performers get the shots, they can go back to work within 10 days, Cachapero said.

A shot of penicillin can cure a person who has had syphilis for less than a year, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Additional doses are necessary for people who have had the STD for a longer period.

(It is believed, but unconfirmed, that Christopher Columbus, George Washington and Napoleon died of syphilis.)

According to the CDC, syphilis is transmitted through direct contact with syphilis sores, which mainly occur on the external genitals, vagina, anus or inside the rectum. The disease can be transmitted through a variety of sex acts.

And the porn industry is the "America's Got Talent" of sex acts.

'Office' closing

Producer Greg Daniels says NBC's "The Office" will conclude business after the upcoming ninth season.

He said Tuesday that the final year will reveal who's been making the mock documentary that has provided the show with its format.

Although its ratings have slipped, "The Office" is still NBC's highest-rated scripted series.

* In sort-of-related news, NBC has landed the untitled Michael J. Fox sitcom to premiere in the fall of 2013.

'Green' star speaks

When Aussie actor Joel Edgerton stopped in town recently to promote his new movie "The Odd Life of Timothy Green," Daily News film critic Gary Thompson pestered him about his favorite Edgerton title, "Warrior."

Edgerton and Tom Hardy starred as Philadelphia brothers who end up fighting each other for a winner-take-all mixed-martial-arts tourney in Atlantic City ( Nick Nolte earned an Oscar nod as their father).

The movie opened to $5 million in 2011 and made only $13 million, but is finding a larger audience thanks to word of mouth and the influence of social media, Edgerton said.

"I was just having dinner with [director and Penn grad] Gavin O'Connor the other night, and we were talking about how people are finding it now. You see people talking about it on Twitter on a daily basis," he said.

"Hopefully it will become one of these movies that mean something to people, regardless of how much money they made at the box office. Like 'The Shawshank Redemption' and other movies that came out to the sound of crickets and are now on people's list of great movies."

In "Warrior," Edgerton played a father/husband/schoolteacher moonlighting as a fighter to keep the bank from foreclosing on his home. It's a character he keeps returning to.

"They say directors, even if they work in different genres, end up making movies about the same things. I think it's true of actors as well. For me, it's the richness of family life, the pull of family."

In the fable "The Odd Life of Timothy Green," he plays one half of a childless couple who wish for a "perfect" child and find one growing in their garden.

"It's a bit like 'E.T.' or 'Big,' the stranger arriving in town and affecting everybody's lives, and eventually riding off," he said. "It has a magical element to it, but I think there are some lessons that speak very much to real life."

TATTBITS

* Various sources are reporting that former New York Giant Michael Strahan will be tapped as Kelly Ripa's permanent co-host.

He sacked Anderson Cooper and Seth Meyers to get the gig.

How's he going to get to work?

Subway.

Dick Van Dyke, 86, will receive the Screen Actors Guild's highest honor: The Life Achievement Award. The 19th annual SAG Awards will be presented Jan. 27.

* The website of a Moscow court where three members of Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years in prison has been hacked.

The hackers posted Pussy Riot's latest song ridiculing President Vladimir Putin on the site, along with calls to release the band members.

* Another self-published erotic hit has found a major publisher.

St. Martin's Press announced Tuesday that it had acquired Sara Fawkes' Anything He Wants (Dominated by the Billionaire), which has appeared on e-best-seller lists since the first of five planned e-installments came out in May. St. Martin's will release the fifth volume in September, then issue all five books in print and electronically in November.

This time the sex is between a CEO and an office temp.

Seriously.

* In memory of Phyllis Diller, who died at 95 on Monday, a few of her choicest one-liners:

"I once wore a peekaboo blouse. People would peek and then they'd boo."

"When I told Fang I was going to have my face lifted, he said, 'Who'd steal it?' "

"You know you're old when your walker has an airbag."

"They say housework can't kill you, but why take the chance?"

"Think of me as a sex symbol for men who just don't give a damn."

- Daily News wire services

contributed to this report.


Email gensleh@phillynews.com.

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