Tue 12-16-97 09:50 am

Wireless Flash Datebook For Thursday, Dec. 18, 1997


TRACY BYRD 31 (Country musician. Tracy used to be too shy to sing in front of anyone. But after he made his first recording in a shopping mall recording studio, the operator was so impressed by the way he belted out “Your Cheatin’ Heart” that she talked him into appearing in an amateur show. “After I started performing,” says Tracy, “I never thought about being shy again, because I loved singing so much.” Tracy has no desire to appear in movies but he says he might enjoy doing a TV fishing show one day. He also has thought about school teaching. “I think I would like to teach history – but I’d rather go fishing every morning,” says Tracy.)

BRAD PITT 34 (The hunky actor started to take his privacy seriously ever since nude photos of him and former girlfriend Gwynneth Paltrow made their way into magazines and onto the internet. Brad has planted tall trees in front of his house to serve as a screen to block out prying eyes. “I had a tour bus coming by every Sunday,” Brad says. “I started lofting eggs at it. I thought that was fair. I’ve always taken things pretty lightly until those nude photos came out.” The love ’em and leave ’em heartthrob has to beat the girls off with a stick, but a former roommate reveals that Brad once had his heart broken by a beauty who cheated on him. “Brad walked in the door, tears streaming down his face,” says former roommate Thom Racina. “He was in agony. Finally, he said, ’Lorrie just told me she slept with somebody else. He collapsed in my arms. He was so hurt she had cheated on him.” Brad bought the Hollywood Hills mansion once owned by Cassandra Peterson who plays Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. He has since installed a weird menagerie which includes snakes and a pig. Brad’s first paying acting job was to dress up as a giant chicken and lure customers into a Hollywood fast food restaurant called El Pollo Loco. Pitt flicks: Seven (1995), Interview with The Vampire (1994))

RAY LIOTTA 43 (Actor)

JANIE FRICKIE 47 (Singer. “Always Have, Always Will” (1986), “Tell Me A Lie” (1983))

LEONARD MALTIN 47 (Movie critic)

STEVEN SPIELBERG 50 (His first film was a 3 1/2 minute Western he made in elementary school. You probably know that the famous director likes to shoot movies, but did you know he also likes to shoot guns? Spielberg has one of the finest gun collections in California, but he never mentions it and never shoots publicly. When he was a boy he learned how to shoot from his father and he still pumps off a few rounds every once and awhile at a private Arizona gun club. Spielberg loved to pull pranks when he was a kid. He once pelted younger neighbors with oranges as they walked by his house; he locked his sisters in a closet with a glow-in-the-dark skull; he threw rocks at store windows in a brand-new shopping center which resulted in $30,000 worth of broken glass; and he once cut the head off of his sister’s doll and served it to her on a platter garnished with lettuce and parsley. Spielberg says he was born in 1947 not 1946 as incorrectly reported by some sources. Spielberg flicks: Schindler’s List (1994), Jurassic Park (1993), E.T. (1982))

KEITH RICHARDS 54 (Earlier this year Richards posed naked in Playgirl magazine. The Rolling Stones lead guitarist is a history buff who’s an avid reader. When a journalist once spotted a copy of Robert Massie’s “Dreadnought” on Richards’ desk during an interview at his Connecticut home, Richards said: “Well, man, history, you’re doomed to repeat it otherwise. There’s continuity and there’s foolishness.” Rumor has it Richards often tracks down out-of-print historical biographies to satisfy his hunger for a good read.)

World War II pinup queen BETTY GRABLE was born in 1916.

Baseball great TY COBB was born in 1886. The Detroit Tigers outfielder was known as the Georgia Peach. He played in more than 3,000 games during his 24-year-long career with a lifetime batting average of .367. The first baseball game with walk-ons took place in 1912 when Cobb was suspended and the rest of the Detroit Tigers refused to play in his support. The Tigers owners either had to pay a crushing $5,000 fine or field a team, so they paid a boxer and some college kids 25 bucks apiece to play the world champion Philadelphia Athletics. The replacement team was dumped 24-2. In 1939, Ty Cobb became one of the first players to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.


• 40 Years Ago Today: The nation’s first large-scale nuclear power plant went on line in Shippensport, Pennsylvania. The juice produced by the plant was funneled to Pittsburgh. (1957)

• 132 Years Ago Today: Slavery was abolished in the United States with the passage of the 13th Amendment. (1865)

• 210 Years Ago Today: New Jersey became the 3rd state. State Nickname: Garden State. State Animal: Horse. Born or lived in New Jersey: Bud Abbott and Lou Costello (comedians); Charles Addams (creator of Addams Family); Count Basie (musician); Bon Jovi (musician); Allen Ginsberg (poet); Jerry Lewis (comedian); Joe Piscopo (comedian); Norman Schwarzkopf (retired general); Frank Sinatra (singer); Bruce Springsteen (musician). (1787)

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