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People in the News

May 21, 1987

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Despite news cutbacks and slipping ratings, the ″center″ of life at CBS News is still getting the story, anchor Dan Rather told representatives of the network’s affiliates.

″What happens to broadcasting, what happens to this corporation and to our division of it is important to us at CBS News,″ he said at the Wednesday evening meeting.

″But let me set you straight about something because it is important. We talk about it, even write about it, but it is not the center of our lives. It is not what we are about.″

″Every time I or anybody else at CBS News feels like wandering over to the water cooler for a chat about ‘whither CBS News,’ a wee small voice inside, the voice of a reporter, the voice of obsession, whispers, ’Forget it, there’s another important story out there.‴

CBS News President Howard Stringer urged the affiliates to back Rather and CBS News, criticizing their tendency to shift the evening broadcast’s time slot in favor of more profitable programs.

″The ‘Wheels of Fortune’ are trying to roll over all of us,″ Stringer said. ″We have to share an understanding of an early evening time period that is under severe stress.″

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LOS ANGELES (AP) - Actor John Ashton hopes the curmudgeonly Sgt. Taggart, foil of Eddie Murphy in ″Beverly Hills Cop″ I and II, can live on in a third movie.

The combination of Murphy as the streetwise cop, Ashton as Taggart, and Judge Reinhold as Taggart’s naive partner has been successful, Ashton said, and a ″Beverly Hills Cop III″ would be fine with him.

Before the first ″Beverly Hills Cop″ in 1984, the 39-year-old actor said, his career was ″dog eat dog.″

″I would get enough money to pay the rent and get some groceries, and when that ran out, I’d hope I’d get another job,″ Ashton said.

When the first ″Cop″ came out, Ashton said, he didn’t work for six months because he was being offered only Taggart-type roles.

″I turned down about 50 Taggarts,″ Ashton said. ″I wanted to do something else. I’ve been a character actor all my life and I get bored real easy - real easy.″

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LONDON (AP) - Queen Elizabeth II flies to France on Friday for a four-day private visit doing one of the things she enjoys most - examining champion racehorses.

The 61-year-old monarch will be the guest of one of the most successful of all French trainers, Alec Head, at his stables and stud farm a few miles from Deauville, Buckingham Palace said Thursday.

The queen, accompanied by her racing manager, Lord Porchester, is expected to look at stallions for her own mares.

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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) - Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Charles Gordone will join the theater faculty at Texas A&M University for the fall semester, officials said.

Gordone will teach acting, directing and playwrighting courses, said Roger Schultz, director of the Aggie Players student theater group.

He is best known for ″No Place To Be Somebody,″ a play that in 1970 won the Pulitzer Prize, the Drama Desk Award and the Los Angeles Critics Circle Award. The play has been translated into four languages and continues to be produced around the world.

The playwright also will direct the Aggie Players and will help bring guest performers to the university, Schultz said Wednesday.

University President Frank E. Vandiver said the school is ″extremely fortunate″ to have Gordone as a visiting professor ″at a time when the humanities and fine arts are coming of age at Texas A&M.″

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RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) - The three surviving Frustaci septuplets turned 2 Thursday, with their parents maintaining their silence but their grandmother describing them as ″adorable.″

Patricia Ann, the firstborn, was the first of the three to walk, said grandmother Betty Frustaci of Westchester. Richard Charles is walking somewhat, while Stephen Earl, the cautious one, walks when somebody holds his hand, she said.

Seven children were born to Samuel and Patricia Frustaci on May 21, 1985. One was stillborn and three others died within days. The couple have generally avoided publicity since then, declining requests for interviews.

One of their lawyers, Janice Corsino, said last year that the surviving three had health problems. But their grandmother said she doesn’t discuss the toddlers’ health with her son and daughter-in-law.

″I’m so busy picking up one, then picking up two, and holding two, and holding three - I don’t ask a thing,″ she said. ″They’re all adorable.″

Andrew Wallet, an attorney who represents the parents in business matters, said the experience of caring for three babies and coping with the deaths of four others has been ″a demanding situation ... they’re still struggling.″

The parents filed a $3-million lawsuit against Dr. Jaroslav Marik of Los Angeles, who prescribed the fertility drug that Mrs. Frustaci took, contending he failed to perform tests that would have predicted the multiple conception.

Marik has denied wrongdoing.

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