People: No contest for 'beautiful bloke'

THE SUN-KISSED Australian lifeguard who beat eight women to become Miss Wintersun last month has had to pull out of the Miss Australia Quest. Damian Taylor, who became known as 'the beautiful bloke' and who went everywhere with his girl-friend to prevent people getting 'the wrong idea', was nominated for the Miss Australia title and seemed set for a career as a beauty queen.

But the Miss Australia organisers agreed to accept him only in a separate male category. Mr Taylor is 'disappointed' with the decision, but won't be appealing.

EXORCISM in the Vatican is discussed in a new book by a French Cardinal who described how the Pope expelled demons from a 'possessed' woman who yelled and rolled on the floor during an audience in the Vatican in 1982.

In My Six Popes, Cardinal Jacques Martin writes of the exorcism of Francesca F: 'We could hear her cries. The Pope began to pray, saying various exorcisms, but in vain. When at the end he said, 'I will say Mass for you tomorrow', suddenly Francesca F became normal and apologised to the Pope.' His Holiness said it was the first time something like that had happened to him, and that it was 'a real Biblical scene', the Cardinal wrote. He said the woman returned for an audience with the Pope a year later, 'perfectly recovered', and announced that she was soon to be a mother.

THE director Sydney Pollack says his latest film, The Firm, has been a hit because people identify with its protagonist. Mitchell McDeere, played by Tom Cruise, is a Harvard Law School graduate who finds out that his firm is a front for the mob. 'He's like an 'everyman' who's ambitious and wants to conquer the world,' Pollack said. 'He's got the American dream handed to him only to find out it's totally rotten.'

Pollack has been somewhat luckier. He left Indiana aged 17 to become an actor, but by the time he got to Hollywood he had no illusions left. 'I'd already heard all the horror stories . . . so I wasn't shocked by anything I saw.' Still, at least his American dream has come true.

BOLDLY going where he has been before, Robin Williams, who once played an alien in the sitcom Mork and Mindy, might go back into television orbit, this time as a guest on Star Trek: The Next Generation. The show's executive producer, Rick Berman said: 'We want to give him a substantial part, not a cameo.'

He said Lyle Lovett is 'also an obsessive fan' and wants to appear on the show, too. 'He would be a natural for an alien,' Mr Berman said. There may even be a part for Lovett's new bride, Julia Roberts: 'We're always open to alien- human romance.'

SUMO'S lone American grand champion, Akebono (aka Chad Rowan), has donated 1m yen (pounds 6,300) of prize money for survivors of Japan's earthquake that killed at least 180 people last week. The donation amounted to one-fifth of Akebono's winnings on Sunday in the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament.

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