Merv Griffin gives puppy to Nancy Reagan

Longtime pal Merv Griffin gave Nancy Reagan a Shar-Pei puppy she named Dutchess in honor of her late husband, former President Reagan, whose nickname was Dutch.


"It's keeping her busy," Reagan chief-of-staff Joanne Drake said yesterday.

Griffin gave the 4-month-old puppy to Mrs. Reagan for her 83rd birthday on July 6. The former talk show host shares a birthday with the former first lady - Griffin turned 79.


Marcos loses suit

A Manila court rejected a lawsuit by former first lady Imelda Marcos to keep a documentary about her flamboyant life off the country's movie screens.

Marcos, 75, claimed she approved Imelda as a school project and not as a commercial movie. She also said it was full of "malice, inaccuracies and innuendoes."

Judge Maria Cristina Cornejo denied Marcos' petition yesterday, saying that contrary to her claims, she had signed a permission document to release the film.

Sandra Coronel, a lawyer for producer Ramona Diaz and distributor Unitel Pictures Inc., said the court order means the film can be shown in the Philippines.

Brown out on bail

R&B; singer Bobby Brown turned himself in to jail officials Sunday night - a few hours before a court-imposed deadline - and was released after posting a $2,000 bond on charges he hit his wife, singer Whitney Houston.

"He arrived at the jail, was photographed and fingerprinted and posted his bond," said Lt. Clarence Huber of the Fulton County (Ga.) Sheriff's Department.


The judge had given Brown until midnight Sunday to turn himself in, and the singer showed up with less than four hours to spare.

Simple battery is punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Normally on a first offense in domestic-violence cases, the charge is dismissed if the defendant undergoes counseling.

New slave for 'Frogs'

Roger Bart replaces comedian Chris Kattan in the role of the slave Xanthias in the Lincoln Center Theater production of The Frogs, which is still scheduled to open July 22, Philip Rinaldi, a spokesman for the show which stars Nathan Lane, said yesterday.

Bart will join the musical, now in preview performances, by midweek, according to Rinaldi. Until then, understudy Timothy Gulan will play Xanthias. Kattan, a star of NBC's Saturday Night Live, withdrew from the show over the weekend.

The Frogs has a score by Stephen Sondheim and is directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman, who did the same for The Producers which also starred Lane.


Franklin's words

A huge and delicate effort is under way to restore Benjamin Franklin's books and artifacts for an exhibit marking the 300th anniversary of his birth.

The exhibit, with stops in Boston, Denver, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Paris, is scheduled to open in October next year.

The deadline keeps Shelly Smith, a paper conservator, awake at night wondering how to approach the tricky task of restoring the lone surviving copy of the 1733 first printing of Poor Richard's Almanack.

More than 200 of Franklin's books, papers, paintings and inventions will be included in the show, B. Franklin 300, which commemorates his birth on Jan. 17, 1706.

Franklin was 27 when he wrote the first almanac, and continued the annual exercise for a quarter century, adopting the pseudonym Poor Richard Saunders. The 1753 edition carried a full report on his kite-and-key experiments with electricity.


Today's birthdays

Actor Patrick Stewart is 64.

Actor Robert Forster is 63.

Actor Harrison Ford is 62.

Singer Roger McGuinn (The Byrds) is 62.

Actor Cheech Marin is 58.


Actress Didi Conn is 53.

Singer Louise Mandrell is 50.

Director Cameron Crowe is 47.

Tennis player Anders Jarryd is 43.

Rock musician Gonzalo Martinez De La Cotera (Marcy Playground) is 42.

Country singer Victoria Shaw is 42.


Bluegrass singer Rhonda Vincent is 42.

Actor Michael Jace is 39.

Country singer Neil Thrasher is 39.

Singer Gerald Levert is 38.

Singer Deborah Cox is 31.

Rock musician Will Champion (Coldplay) is 26.