Feeling dizzy? Spin some more!

Anne Heche returns to Earth and the official spinning begins; Mel Tormi's velvety estate goes on the market for more than you have. Plus: Meg Ryan and Dennis Quaid dash our hopes.

By Amy Reiter
Published August 25, 2000 6:55PM (EDT)

At last, the spin kicks in ...

Anne Heche's handlers have remained eerily silent about her Margot Kidder-like meltdown in Fresno, Calif., last weekend. But Mark Burg, the producer of the film the actress is currently shooting in Toronto, "John Q," is rushing in to fill the void.

Drugs, Burg contends, had nothing -- nothing what-so-ever -- to do with all that babbling about being God and riding in a spaceship. Oh no. It wasn't Ecstasy that made her ramble up to a rural ranch and begin ranting. It was a simple case of too much sun.

"It was sunstroke, that makes you a little dizzy -- no drugs," Burg insists to Reuters. "She was in a convertible and ran out of gas. So she was in the sun too long."

A convertible SUV? Um. OK.

And don't go thinking that Heche's episode had anything to do with her breakup with Ellen DeGeneres, just because it happened within hours of the couple's announcement about the split. That would just be so wrong. The two incidents, Burg says, were not at all connected.

But, uh, even though his lead actress's "neck and shoulders are still badly, badly burnt" and look rather "like a tomato," Burg says she's A-OK. Ellen's ex is back to work, getting fitted for costumes and feeling "absolutely perfect."

If not downright ... ecstatic.

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One small step for Richard Hatch, one huge step backward for mankind?

"I can't think of a comparable level of cultural excitement about something since Neil Armstrong landed on the moon in the 1960s."

-- CBS publicist Gil Schwartz on the "Survivor" finale.

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The Velvet Nest

It's been more than a year since the Velvet Fog rolled into that big nightclub in the sky, but Mel Tormi's Beverly Hills estate was put on the market for $2.85 million last week.

"It was a real family home -- comfortable, unpretentious, welcoming, friendly, warm -- and one that allowed him to showcase his many collections," Van-Martin Rowe, who designed the interiors, says of the late singer's 6,000-square-foot, four-bedroom home.

Among its signature features: angled shelves for Tormi's toy, comic book and Buck Rogers memorabilia collections; velvet fabric to play on his "Velvet Fog" epithet; Buddy Rich's drums, which Rowe fitted with glass tops for use as occasional tables; and, of course, a big fireplace for roasting chestnuts ` la "The Christmas Song."

"This was definitely his Tara," Rowe tells me. "He raised his family and entertained his friends there. The interiors didn't look like some set from 'Dynasty' or 'Auntie Mame.' He didn't need fancy impersonal backgrounds to give his life style and personality."

Unlike the celebs of today, says Rowe. "I see so many of the new stars taking their first trip to Europe and coming home and getting out the Xerox Decorator to give them checkbook culture and class. My God, how many Ritz Carltons are there in the 'Hills of Beverly'?" he asks, aghast. "How do you spell Candy Spelling, with an 'i' or a 'y'?"

I believe Aaron's wife (and Tori's mom) spells her name with a 'y.'


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"I'd probably quite like to have lasting friends -- people who you could have all the time, who wouldn't go away just because you're a film star."

-- Emma Watson, who will play Hermione in the upcoming Harry Potter flick, on the magic spell she'd most like to have at her disposal.

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Juicy bits

All that speculation about Meg Ryan and Dennis Quaid getting back together? Untrue, it would seem. "Dennis and Meg are maintaining an amicable relationship for the sake of their child," a source told the New York Daily News. "But she's not coming back, and he's not asking her." Nor is Ryan giving her old gladiator pal Russell Crowe another try. "I don't think for one second she thought that [relationship] was going anywhere," says the source. Anywhere but into boldface type, that is.

What is it with Ron Silver and courts? The actor has just finished playing hotshot lawyer Robert Shapiro in the O.J. Simpson miniseries "An American Tragedy" -- and now he's headed back to the court. He's just signed on to play tennis great Bobby Riggs opposite Holly Hunter's Billie Jean King in a TV movie about their 1973 grudge match. If the tennis shoe fits ...?

Coming soon to a television near you: Jeff Goldblum, the actor with the ... strangest ... cadence in the ... business. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Goldblum has just signed a seven-figure deal with 20th Century Fox TV to develop and star in a series for the 2001-02 season. So far there's no concept for the show, but Fox's Dana Walden was moved to comment, "Jeff Goldblum is the type of performer that you just sit around and wait for them to decide to do TV." Well, maybe you do.

Amy Reiter

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