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CELEBRITY Q&A - THE ORIGINAL TARZAN

Q. A friend and I were watching Johnny Weissmuller as Tarzan the other night. I bet him the first Tarzan was Buster Crabbe, but he thinks I'm wrong. - R.B., Midvale, Utah.

A. You are. Elmo Lincoln was the first movie Tarzan in 1918, not long after Edgar Rice Burroughs published his tale of the Englishman raised by apes. Weissmuller was the sixth, Crabbe the eighth Tarzan in a line that includes 18 actors up to the most recent TV Tarzan, Wolf Larson.Q. Give me some information on Cloris Leachman, whom we saw play Grandma Moses so brilliantly on stage last year. - C.M., Eagle Bridge, N.Y.

A. Leachman (who was urged to change her name but decided not to) is 61, a native of Des Moines, Iowa, who attended Northwestern University. She studied at New York's Actors Studio, worked on Broadway and in live TV drama shows. She has six Emmys and one Oscar (for "The Last Picture Show"). Her TV series include "Lassie," "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "Phyllis" and "Facts of Life." She was married to director George England, 1953-79, and two of her five children, Adam and Morgan England, are actors.

Q. Is Janet Leigh related to Vivien Leigh of "Gone With the Wind" fame? Exactly what did Vivien Leigh die of and how old was she? - D.T., Jasper, Ga.

A. Neither Leigh used her real name. Janet was Jeanette Morrison; Vivien was Vivien Hartley. Vivien Leigh was 54 when she died in 1967 of tuberculosis. Her last years were marred by episodes of mental illness.

Q. Tell me about Darla Hood, the little girl from "The Little Rascals." Where can I write to her? - M.B., Southgate, Mich.

A. Hood was one of the youngsters of the later years of "Our Gang" comedies, which were produced from 1922 to 1944. When the series ended, she dropped from show business for some years. Later, as an adult, she sang as the opening act for Edgar Bergen's night club show. She was 48 when she died in 1979.

Q. Why doesn't Emilio Estevez use his father's name? - J.L., Oxnard, Calif.

A. He does. Actor Martin Sheen's real name, which he uses on occasion in private life, is Ramon Estevez. Emilio opted for that; brother Charlie picked Sheen.

Q. Is Tristan Rogers, Robert Scorpio on "General Hospital," married? How old is he? Does he live in the U.S. or Australia? - M.D., Denver.

A. Rogers is 46, divorced and lives primarily in the United States, although he spends much time in his native Australia. Rogers left "GH" in February but will probably come back for an occasional appearance.

Q. May I have some stats on Susan Flannery, of "The Bold and the Beautiful"? Where may I write her? - Mrs. D.A.H., Fairborn, Ohio.

A. Flannery, 49, was born in New York City, studied theater at Stephens College and made her TV debut in an episode of "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea." She played Dr. Laura Horton on "Days of Our Lives," 1966-75, and won a 1975 Daytime Emmy; Leslie Stewart in "Dallas" in 1981; and is an original cast member of "B&B." She won a Golden Globe for the movie "The Towering Inferno."

Q. Does director Steven Soderbergh prefer the "art film" image he carries?

A. Hardly. "Being considered an artsy filmmaker is every bit as riveting as being considered a hack," sniffs Soderbergh, 28, who became famous for "sex, lies, and videotape," which won the Cannes Palme d'Or in 1990. "They are both labels." With his latest movie, "Kafka," he intended "to make something completely different," and his next two films will be "very different from each other." Maybe then, the director says, "nobody will be able to predict what I'll do next, which is exactly what I want."

Q. What's the latest on the woman who accused Kennedy cousin Willie Smith of rape in Palm Beach a year ago?

A. Patricia Bowman lives with her 21/2-year-old daughter, Caroline, in Jupiter, Fla., and is trying to resume a normal life after Smith's acquittal. She calls the verdict "the acquittal that money can buy." After spending some time with her parents, "I came home, and Caroline's toys were all over the floor. So I had to pick up the toys so I didn't step on them, and the laundry needed to be done, and so after a couple of hours, I found myself doing normal things, and I felt kind of relieved. Hey, this is over." Still, she says, "I will stand beside, behind, and with any victim who needs me."

Q. After the success of last summer's Lollapalooza tour for "alternative" rock music, why did Perry Farrell break up his band, Jane's Addiction?

A. "You know what happens when people mate with their own bloodline," he explains. "I think that's what radio's got a habit of doing to itself. And that's what I didn't like about continuing with Jane's. . . . I don't like dealing with a safety net." Farrell plans, though, to organize another Lollapalooza tour for this summer. And he's completing a film, "Gift," and contemplating another musical project that's something like his old band.

Q. How does actress Bridget Fonda cope with the heavy family name?

A. Better than other Fondas. As the granddaughter of Henry (married five times), the daughter of Peter (married twice) and the niece of Jane (married three times), Bridget, 28, grew up with her mother far from the Fonda influence. "My greatest fear," says Bridget, "is that what I want for my life is not possible for me to have . . . a solid family. . . . It's really hard because it's not something I ever saw a good example of. It's fictional to me." Her live-in love is Eric Stoltz ("Mask"), and her newest film is "Singles."

Q. How old is Brian Austin Green, who plays David on "Beverly Hills 90210?" What other movies or shows has he done? - J.K., Roseville, Ga.

A. Green is 18 and a veteran of TV commercials, where he started at 11. He's been seen as Brian Cunningham, Abby's son in "Knots Landing," and done roles in "Baywatch," "Highway to Heaven," "Small Wonder," "The New Leave It To Beaver" and the miniseries "Baby M." His features are "An American Summer" and "Kickboxer II."

Q. Where we have seen Kathryn Harrold, of "I'll Fly Away," before? - M.J.S., Joliet, Ill.

A. Harrold's first TV job was as a nightclub singer in the old NBC soap "The Doctors." Her prime-time series are "Magruder and Loud" and "The Bronx Zoo." She's also done TV movies "The Women's Room," "Bogie" (as Lauren Bacall), "Son Rise: A Miracle of Love," "Dead Solid Perfect" and the miniseries "Women in White."

Q. I was thrilled to see Dick Van Dyke in the movie "Diagnosis of Murder" and would like to send my compliments to the producers and urge them to do more. Give me an address. - D.G., Detroit, Mich.

A. The movie was a potential pilot for a series starring Van Dyke as the sleuthing doctor, but it didn't cause much excitement and hasn't been mentioned among series possibilities. The man to write to urge a series is Jeff Sagansky, president, CBS Entertainment, 7800 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036.

Q. I saw and enjoyed the BBC series "Sleepers" and would like to know something about Nigel Havers. What else has he done in TV and movies? - I.G., Philadelphia.

A. Havers is 41, divorced and has a daughter. He's the son of a prominent English family (his father was Britain's Lord Chancellor in 1987). He's been seen on U.S. TV in "The Charmer," "A Little Princess," "Nancy Astor" and "Upstairs, Downstairs." He made his movie bow in "Chariots of Fire" and has been seen since in "Empire of the Sun" and "Farewell to the King."

Q. I think Frazier on "Cheers" is great. Tell me about him. - L.M.B., Glen Falls, N.Y.

A. He's Kelsey Grammer, 36. Born in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, he grew up in New York and Florida. He studied at Julliard, started on stage in San Diego. He made his TV debut as Dr. Canard in the soap "Another World" while he was working in New York theater. He's single. In 1990, he ran afoul of the law when a judge slapped him with a 30-day jail sentence after he had missed several court dates for several driving offenses.

Q. Where may I write to Jay Leno to tell him how much this family admires his brand of humor? - M.C., Sierra Vista, Ariz.

A. NBC-TV, 3000 W. Alameda Ave., Burbank, CA 91523.

Q. What happened to Vincent Edwards and Sam Jaffe, Ben Casey and Dr. Zorba in "Ben Casey?" When did the series run? - B.W., Detroit.

A. "Casey" was seen 1961-66. After that Edwards did another series, "Matt Lincoln," and since then in an occasional TV movie. Jaffe was 93 when he died in 1984.

Q. I heard Robert Conrad say he has nine children. Have any of them joined him in show business? - N.R., Miami.

A. Conrad jokes that he's a great believer in nepotism. His family works with him frequently. Daughter Joan as producer and sons Christian and Shane, as actors, were all with him in the CBS series 1987 series "High Mountian Rangers" and the 1989 series "Jesse Hawkes." In fact, one of his grandchildren appeared in "Hawkes."

Q. It's driving us crazy. Who was the voice of KITT in the "Knight Rider" series? - M.M., Portland, Ore.

A. That's the distinctive voice of William Daniels, who was seen in "St. Elsewhere" as Dr. Mark Craig and, more recently, in margarine commercials.

- Send your questions to Celebrity Questions, Detroit Free Press, 321 W. Lafayette Blvd, Detroit, MI 48231.