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Dennis Rodman’s Dad Cashes in on New-Found Fame _ in the Philippines

September 20, 1996 GMT

ANGELES CITY, Philippines (AP) _ Philander Rodman Jr. has not seen his son Dennis for 26 years. That’s not stopping the former U.S. Air Force serviceman from cashing in on his son’s fame.

Philander is asking $10,000 for interviews _ and getting it from at least one network.

``Don’t talk to me. Talk to my manager,″ he says with a firm handshake.

The fast-talking 56-year-old owns the run-down ``Full House″ bar on a street corner outside the gate of the giant former Clark Air Base.

Since the base closed in 1991, Angeles’ once-bustling hotels and bars have faded, but remain the home of former American servicemen _ many with few other options _ who opted to stay on after their discharges.

His business manager is his friend, Bruce McTavish, a New Zealander who owns the Four Seasons steak house inside the Clark Special Economic Zone, the industrial center being built on the former air base.

``He noticed that his time is being consumed giving all these interviews and then getting nothing out of it,″ says McTavish, who has been handling the new celebrity’s public appearances for about a month.

Philander’s first ``managed″ appearance was as guest at a street basketball exhibition game sponsored by Nike, for which he received gift vouchers and sneakers. Then came offers from a group in Chicago for exclusive book rights and a proposal to endorse a local cellular telephone operator, McTavish says.

On Wednesday, he signed a $10,000, one-month exclusive ``consultancy″ for Extra, a syndicated American television show that has featured his son several times.

Not bad for a man who abandoned his first wife and son more than 2 1/2 decades ago.

In an interview in June, Philander expressed his pride and support for the ``The Worm,″ his cross-dressing son known for his colorful hair and tattoos and high-energy playing style.

``To me, he is not a bad boy,″ he said. ``He is like me, the things he do ... if he wants to color his hair green, purple or whatever, I mean, I can’t see anything wrong with it. He wants to have a tattoo, that’s his own.″

Not that Philander sports any tattoos, or has hair any color other than black-turning-to-gray.

``I think a person should do what they want to as long as they do not hurt anybody else,″ he said. ``I haven’t seen him hurt anybody else by what he does, so I am all for Dennis.″

Philander has told interviewers he’s been in and out of jail and decided to leave the military after being accused of theft.

Reports say he lives by his name, with 27 children so far from two former marriages, including Dennis’ mother, two current Filipino wives, and other ``extra-curricular activities.″

One child from his second marriage plays basketball for the University of Idaho and another is seven feet tall and plays semi-pro ball in Australia.

Ivory Purnell, a retired U.S. Air Force master sergeant, says Philander, his friend of 20 years, turned into a basketball fan about 1990 when he found out his son was an NBA star.

``I don’t like to use the word `fanatic,′ but it was something like that when it came to Dennis and whatever team he was with,″ Purnell said. ``If it was possible, he would watch all the games Dennis played.″

The obsession with Dennis and basketball is apparent inside the Full House.

Philander keeps a box of newspaper and magazine articles about his son, which he has collected or been mailed by friends.

The wall behind the bar is decorated with pictures of his son. A red 91 Dennis Rodman jersey is tacked to the wall and protected by a plastic sheet, next to Michael Jordan’s 23 jersey. On top of the corner juke box is another bulletin board adorned with his son’s pictures.

He keeps a well-worn copy of his son’s best-selling book, ``Bad as I Wanna Be,″ smudged around the edges of the pages from the countless times he has shown it to friends and customers.

A page that is one of his favorites shows a picture of Dennis and his former girlfriend, Madonna. ``Hooo! Dennis is a lucky boy,″ he was once heard saying.