No room for vanity with all that metal

Cruise defends his railroad tracks; "Survivor's" Vecepia keeps her day job; Big Pussy reveals his origins. Plus: Axis of Evel returns; and Oprah befriends ice cream industry.

By Amy Reiter
Published June 6, 2002 4:01PM (EDT)

You can call Tom Cruise "Tinselteeth" if you want to. Just don't call him vain.

Vanity, Cruise insists, had nothing to do with his decision to don braces just a few months shy of his 40th birthday.

"These braces are more about function," the actor tells TV Guide Online, "because I was having a hard time closing my mouth and biting down."

During a routine trip to the orthodontist with his kid, "the guy said I should fix it because I'm fracturing my lower teeth when I bite down."

But now that his bite's getting better, his bark may be getting worse.

"Now when it comes time for my kids to have braces, I'll know what it's like," he tells the Web site. "I'll say, 'I've been there. Don't whine about it.'"

Spoken like a truly loving pops.

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Big (yawn) bucks

"A million dollars does not go very far in this day and age and I have things that I need to do."

-- "Survivor" winner Vecepia Towery on why she went back to her job answering telephones at a California engineering firm within a week of the announcement of her victory, in the New York Post.

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Big Pussy talks

Big Pussy may be swimming with the fishies, but that doesn't mean the actor who played him, Vincent Pastore, has been forgotten by his former costars  or by the HBO show's writers.

At the premiere party for the new Chris Rock/Anthony Hopkins pic "Bad Company" the other night, Pastore told celebrity researcher Baird Jones that the show will pay special homage to him in the upcoming season.

Pastore says he was discovered by Matt and Kevin Dillon at the bar he used to own in New Rochelle, N.Y., called the Crazy Horse.

"Matt Dillon was always coming in and bugging me that I looked so much like a gangster that I just had to become an actor so that I could play all these Mafia roles," Pastore tells Jones. "He was always saying, 'Oh! You've got that terrifying stare. Listen to that voice. Are you sure you never killed anybody?'"

So when the bar went out of biz, the Dillon brothers hooked Pastore up with their agent, and the next thing you know, Pastore was a stah.

And the Crazy Horse is now getting its posthumous five minutes of fame, too.

"In a tribute to that bar I owned in New Rochelle, on "The Sopranos" next season, the bar Michael Imperioli (Christopher) and Drea De Matteo (Adriana) open is called the Crazy Horse," Pastore says. "That's our inside joke."

OK, so it's not so inside anymore ...

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Who's taking bets?

"I would readily marry again, but will never divorce again."

-- Kevin Costner on love and fidelity in the German magazine Frau im Spiegel.

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Juicy bits

Newsflash No. 1: Evel Knievel is still alive. Newsflash No. 2: He's fixing to risk death yet again. The '70s icon, famous for his daredevil motorcycle derring-do and for racking up the compound fractures, has announced that he's planning to hop back on his bike and take a flying leap over something-or-other (he hasnt decided what, yet) sometime next year. Why, after 22 years out of the spotlight, has Knievel, now 63, decided to jump again? To promote his new restaurant, the Evel Knievel Xperience Cafi, in Primm, Nev. Surely, there are easier ways to sell food.

Oprah Winfrey apparently has a way. The Associated Press reports that, after she remarked that Graeter's ice cream "is the best ice cream I've ever tasted," mail order sales of the cold stuff skyrocketed by about 1,000 percent. I scream, you scream, we all scream for the Oprah Ice Cream Club?

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Miss something? Read yesterday's Nothing Personal.

Amy Reiter

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Celebrity Oprah Winfrey Tom Cruise