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George Rush grew up in a small Midwestern town, and then went on to Brown University, followed by Columbia University, where he received his master's degree in journalism. He wrote articles on weighty topics for national magazines, and a book, "Confessions of a Secret Service Agent." But after meeting Joanna Molloy, a fifth-generation New Yorker, Rush soon straightened out his life and began writing a gossip column with her. The couple, who have been married since 1992, have a little Rush.


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Home movie fan Liam
keeps 'Kinsey' in city

Angelina, Leo, Ben and J.Lo should take a lesson from Liam Neeson: Use your star power to get movies made in New York.

That's what Neeson did on "Kinsey," which the hunky transplanted Irishman is shooting with Laura Linney, Lynn Redgrave, Chris O'Donnell and John Lithgow - as Jolie, DiCaprio, Affleck and Lopez suffer from boredom in Canada. "Liam Neeson insisted 'Kinsey' be made here," city Film Commissioner Katherine Oliver told us. "He recognizes the benefits of working in this town, and he didn't want to leave it. He was absolutely passionate about making this film in New York [which he now calls home]."

So was director Bill Condon, who insisted that the movie - about the social scientist who liberated America's attitudes about sex - be shot here. Condon has been filming at Columbia and Fordham, as well as the National Arts Club.

Neeson and Condon are hardly alone. New York has been steadily gaining in competition with Canada, Australia, South Africa and Eastern Europe, with 180 films shot here last year. Television and film production is a $5 billion business for the city.

"We have 40,000 locations in the five boroughs," said Oliver. "We can look like Europe, the suburbs - we even have country fields."

In fact, two movies being shot right now are set in the Midwest. "The Best Thief in the World," starring Mary Stuart Masterson, is being filmed on Staten Island locations that resemble Ohio, allowing Masterson to continue her role on Broadway in "Nine."

And Sidney Lumet is shooting HBO's "Strip Search," an Iowa-set film starring Glenn Close, Oliver Platt and Ellen Barkin.

"We've got the best crews in the world here," said the film commissioner. Why would actors want to go anywhere else?"

Jen makes Cris' heart dance

God forbid Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck don't make it to the altar. But if Affleck fails to become J.Lo's Husband No. 3, Husband No. 2 seems ready to pick up where they left off.

Cris Judd says he's still "deeply in love" with Lopez even though she departed from their marriage after just nine months.

"I don't know if Ben Affleck knows about it, but we still get along fine," says the dancer, whose divorce from Lopez was announced almost exactly a year ago.

"Every time we speak, she calls me," Judd tells In Touch magazine writer Mark Coleman.

"I still really care about her and know she does for me. She knows I miss her. I tell her if she ever needs me, I'm here for her.

"I love her for who she is, not what she is. There aren't many people around her who can say that.

"I'll never give up loving Jennifer. We're soulmates."

Surely, Ben finds that a comfort as rumors fester that he and Lopez were about to announce they were splitting, following a National Enquirer story alleging Affleck got frisky with strippers in Vancouver.

At the end of last week, reps for the couple were insisting the couple was still solid. Word is Affleck's handlers don't believe the tab's claim that there really is video evidence of carryings-on at Brandi's Exotic Nightclub.

Sources at the tab maintain the tape exists.

An affront to Jolie

Speaking of Angelina Jolie, don't touch her breasts. The actress says she's miffed at execs at Paramount Pictures for airbrushing her bosom in a poster for "Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life."

Apparently it was a cold day when the photo was taken - making it clear that Jolie wasn't wearing a bra. But Angelina believes even a fantasy character should look realistic.

"I wanted my [breasts] to be there to see," she complained in an interview the other day.

Paramount argued that anatomical correctness might over-heat her fans.

Jolie admits that Lara's bust is smaller than it was in the first "Tomb Raider" movie. "Last time, I took too much protein powder," she said. "That gave me lots of curves. This time I ate normally, so Lara is slimmer and sexier."

But no less deadly.

Vanity fair

Who's so vain?

Carly Simon has agreed to reveal the identity of the cad in her 1973 smash "You're So Vain."

While many people believe the song to be about Warren Beatty, other contenders include Mick Jagger (who sang backup on the track), James Taylor (her ex-husband and father of their children, musicians Ben Taylor and Sally Taylor), Kris Kristofferson and Cat Stevens (about whom she is also said to have written "Anticipation").

During an appearance on Phil Donahue's TV show in 1990, Simon quipped, "It's about the young Oprah Winfrey."

Simon, 58, is auctioning the the answer to her career-spanning riddle, along with a private concert at her home on Martha's Vineyard, to raise money for Martha's Vineyard Community Services. The fund-raiser is tomorrow on the island.

In smokers' camp

John Mellencamp must have forgotten he suffered a heart attack in 1994.

Ignoring the warnings of the surgeon general (and Mayor Bloomberg), the rocker was chain-smoking onstage Thursday at his Town Hall performance and at the party afterward at Lobby.

"Yes, he was smoking," said a rep for the singer. "But he's in great health."

P.S.: Mellencamp, whose album "Trouble No More" mines traditional blues and folk music, had a treat that night when he met Anna Rotante, granddaughter of one of his inspirations, Woody Guthrie.

Rosie gives 'Q' an A

Rosie O'Donnell was screaming Thursday on Broadway - with laughter.

The TV talker-turned-producer was in hysterics at the opening of "Avenue Q" at the Golden Theater, and she wasn't alone. Cynthia Nixon, Leelee Sobieski, Patti LuPone, Swoosie Kurtz and Joan Rivers guffawed as the puppet-bearing actors - "Sesame Street" veterans - sang songs like "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist" and "If You Were Gay."

The biggest reaction came when Rod the puppet, operated by talented-to-his-toes John Tartaglia, confided to a therapist (Ann Harada) that he might be gay.

"Lots of gay musicians and artists have been making great contributions for hundreds of years," said Harada.

But he's a Republican investment banker, countered Rod.

"Stay in the closet, then," the therapist said. "You're good for nothing."

By the way, Rosie is so proud of her 8-month-old, Vivienne, she showed people at intermission pictures of the infant she's rearing with her partner, Kelly Carpenter O'Donnell.

House party

Congressman Charlie Rangel told his supporters last week that "When I was growing up, my father told me to get myself a good civil-service job that has a pension."

The crowd of 850 at Tavern on the Green roared. They were there to celebrate Rangel's 73rd birthday.

Coincidentally, it was a pension-reform bill that caused Republicans to call cops last month on Rangel and other Dems who walked out of a Ways and Means Committee meeting in a dispute with the GOP leadership. Rangel is the committee's ranking Democrat. "If [House Majority Leader] Tom DeLay has you arrested," state attorney general Eliot Spitzer said at the party, "I'd love to be your lawyer."

Then Maya Angelou recited her poem "I Rise" for Rangel. Rangel, who still lives in Harlem, just three blocks from where he grew up, will become the chairman of Ways and Means should the Democrats regain the House. The party raised more than $400,000 for his National Leadership political action committee.

Family tragedy

The death of their daughter Marie on Friday was the second time tragedy has struck famed French actor Jean-Louis Trintignant and his wife, film director Nadine Trintignant.

They lost their first daughter, Delphine, to an accident when she was just 5 years old. Sources say Jean-Louis, who played the sexy racecar driver in the New Wave classic "A Man and a Woman," had difficulty working after the child's death.

Marie died from head injuries after a fight with her boyfriend, Bertrand Cantat, a French "rock star."

With Suzanne Rozdeba
and Ben Widdicombe

Originally published on August 3, 2003

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