Vince Papale, theformer walk-on NFL wideout whose story is told in the Disney movie Invincible,wasn't always thrilled about being portrayed by the Man Formerly Known as MarkyMark. Before Mark Wahlberg signed on, Papale says he didn't know much about theBoogie Nights star. And when Wahlberg finally agreed to meet and discuss theproject, the actor was an hour late. But once the meeting started, the twoclicked. Says Papale, "My palms were so sweaty--but I noticed his weresweaty too. He was genuinely nervous about meeting me." Papale pulled out ascrapbook and showed off some photos, after which Wahlberg promised, "I'mgoing to make you proud." The two spent the night drinking past 4 a.m., andnow, says Papale, they're inseparable. "If we don't see each other three,four times a week, we get worked up. He's my little brother."
David Beckham wasasked to join one of the planet's most elite sets last week when he was invitedto lay eyes on Suri, the reclusive four-month-old daughter of Tom Cruise andKatie Holmes. The invitation was extended to Becks and his wife, Victoria, whenBeckham's team, Real Madrid, was touring the States. It was accompanied by alist of Scientology rules to follow, such as "No making noises at thebaby." (Beckham hasn't said if the meeting took place.) Cruise took hiswife and his 11-year-old son, Connor, to see Beckham play an exhibition game inSalt Lake City.
To the ranks ofcelebrities who have sported the red-and-black hot pants of the Miami Heatdancers you can now add Layla El (left). The twentysomething (she won't giveher age) danced for the Heat through the 2006 playoffs, and she recently wonthe $250,000 top prize in the WWE Diva Search contest. (Other noted Heat danceteam alums are Bachelorette Trista Rehn and Pussycat Dolls member JessicaSutta.) To nab the title, which comes with a one-year WWE contract, El had tooutfox eight finalists in competitions such as a lingerie contest, a dance-offand a water fight. Afterward, El addressed the fans who voted her to victory:"You guys have booed me, loved me, made me puke in the toilets, but youhave helped me grow."
So you wanna be acoxswain? This fall, CCTV, China's state-run television network, will air areality program on which 350 contestants will compete for a spot skippering theChinese Olympic rowing team at the 2008 Games in Beijing. (The winner will bechosen by viewers.) According to a rep for the show, potential skippers must beless than 100 pounds and between the ages of 16 and 50, but, he says,"everyone from the lowest peasant to old grannies can apply ... and be inthe running for a gold medal." ... Former Celtics and Lakers forward RickFox will be lacing up his sneakers again. The part-time thespian (Oz), whoretired after the 2003--04 season, will play a basketball star with ladytroubles on the upcoming FX drama series Dirt.
They Said It
JOHNNY BENCH, Hall of Fame catcher, when asked whatwere his most memorable career statistics:
"Eighteen broken bones and seven brokencups."
SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE
A Missouri man says he saw an image of the Virgin Maryin the grease drippings from his George Foreman Grill.
Has G.M. Theo Epstein gone round the bend in hissearch for pitching help for the injury-ravaged Red Sox? Maybe, but that'sanother story. This is about Ayla, a capuchin monkey who works withquadriplegics, helping them do things such as picking up objects or turning thepages of a book, and who was at Fenway last Wednesday for Disability AwarenessNight. Ayla's ceremonial first pitch was more of a drop--but it wasn't muchworse than the junk Boston pitchers have been serving up of late.
¬© 2006 WORLD WRESTLING ENTERTAINMENT INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED