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`JOHN BOY' READY TO GET UGLY IN ROLE AS KING RICHARD III

Richard Thomas says he's been preparing since he was a youngster to take on the role of Richard III, Shakespeare's famously deformed king.

"You think I waited 30 years to play this role and I'm going to do it without a hump?" Thomas said, laughing. "Two humps! And a patch over my eye - and a hook. I've been pretty long enough."Thomas gained fame as John Boy of TV's "The Waltons." "Richard III" opens later this month in Hartford, Conn.

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Birthdays: For Wednesday, Sept. 7

Heart surgeon Dr. Michael DeBakey 86

Producer Elia Kazan 85

Actor John Philip Law 57

Actress Julie Kavner 43