NEWSMAKERS

Curb Your Disbelief

News flash: Larry David helped someone. Even more unbelievable--we're not making this up--he saved a guy from a murder rap. Juan Catalan was in jail for the murder of a 16-year-old girl in L.A. He said he was at a Dodgers game at the time, but prosecutors didn't buy his alibi. While he was awaiting trial, though, his girlfriend remembered that "Curb Your Enthusiasm" was shooting at the stadium that day--the episode where David takes a hooker to the game so he can use the carpool lane on the freeway. Lawyers viewed the outtakes, and there was a shot of Catalan in the stands. When a judge saw the tape, he set Catalan free. Even the grumpy David is impressed. "I accomplished this just by giving someone permission to look at some footage," he says. "What if I went out and actually tried to benefit mankind?"

Q&A: Julian McMahon

Don't let Julian McMahon's good looks fool you. He plays one of the ugliest guys on TV: Christian Troy, the narcissistic, sexaholic plastic surgeon on FX's hit series "Nip/Tuck." McMahon talked to NEWSWEEK's Nicki Gostin.

Has playing a plastic surgeon helped you spot people who've had work done?

Definitely. Plus, now I feel confident asking, "How much was your job?" and people kind of accept it because I play a plastic surgeon on TV. Though I've never been good at telling the breast thing.

Can't you tell by feeling them?

What are you trying to say?

Just asking. I've never felt one.

Just randomly go up and cop a feel. "Yeah, these are real over here." I think it depends on the job. Some of them are so tight and taut that you can feel that it's a little different from the norm, but some are well done.

Does it put you off having surgery yourself?

Are you saying that I've done it?

No, not at all. But have you?

Yeah, I have had a full plastic-surgery body. I'm like "The Swan" before "The Swan" ever happened. I had a full-body makeover.

What did you look like before?

I was 5 foot 2, very frumpy with large knees and a big gut, and now I look different.

I know you don't like talking about it, but I gotta ask: your dad was prime minister of Australia?

Why do you gotta bring it up?

Because it's interesting.

I never said you couldn't ask.

Your publicist said you don't like to talk about it.

You know, it's just hard to talk about.

Do you see a link between acting and politics?

Yes, very much so. The way politicians are today, they're very performance-orientated. To a certain extent, both are about ingratiating yourself to the public.

Do the Aussie actors hang out in Hollywood?

Not at all.

So you, Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts don't get together for barbies?

Get together and say, "Hey, we're Aussies. Let's go!" No.

And We're Still Smarting

Jockey Stewart Elliott didn't even know who'd beaten him. After Triple Crown hopeful Smarty Jones was caught from behind by long shot Birdstone and lost the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, a dazed Elliott told an NBC reporter, "That other horse just come and got us. That's horse racing." And that's the sad ending of the year's--heck, the decade's--great Cinderella story. The pride of Philadelphia had won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness but couldn't finish off the trifecta. The ride was thrilling while it lasted.

The Joys Of a Quiet Retirement

Last week basketball bad boy Dennis Rodman announced that he's planning an NBA comeback next season. Where will he find the time? Look what he's been up to since retiring four years ago:

MARCH 2000

Settles lawsuit with waitress who says he fondled her

MAY 2001

Lands helicopter on a beach for his birthday; riot cops respond

AUGUST 2003

Police tow his boat, Sexual Chocolate, from illegal dock

OCTOBER 2003

Crashes his motorcycle in parking lot; gets 20 stitches

FEBRUARY 2004

Appears as contestant on ABC's 'Celebrity Mole'--and wins

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