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NEWS LITE : SURGERY LEAVES STAR UNDIMMED.

Arnold Schwarzenegger's elective heart surgery shows the brawny star is vulnerable in real life but is unlikely to affect his action movie career, colleagues and fans said Thursday.

``Arnold is Arnold,'' said moviegoer David Williams of Newport Beach. ``As long as he looks the same on the outside, I don't care what's on the inside.''

Schwarzenegger, 49, was recovering Thursday after undergoing replacement of a faulty aortic valve the day before and was listed in stable condition, spokeswoman Catherine Olim said.

The bodybuilder-turned-actor was expected to return to full health without any changes in his lifestyle or need for further treatment, Olim said.

His wife, television journalist Maria Shriver, was at his bedside at a local hospital that Olim declined to identify. However, reports said he was at the USC University Hospital.

Schwarzenegger, whose films include the stunt-filled ``Terminator'' and ``True Lies,'' will remain a marketable action hero, predicted industry insiders.

He shouldn't have any problem getting insured for future films, said an executive in one studio's risk management department. Such policies are standard to protect the studio investment if filming is interrupted.

Insurers will consult with Schwarzenegger's doctors to make sure he is healthy to work, the executive said. If the insurer has any concerns, they have the option of limiting their liability or raising deductibles.

And the public is likely to continue accepting the cigar-smoking actor as a rough-and-tumble leading man - after all, movies by their nature require a suspension of disbelief, said one industry veteran.

``People are willing to put aside the fact actors aren't really married and accept a sexual fantasy,'' he said. ``They'll be able to put this (the surgery) aside too.''

A cardiologist at UCLA Medical Center, co-director of the heart failure program, said given Schwarzenegger's age, the most likely cause of his problem is a bicuspid aortic valve.

``Instead of three leaflets, it has only two, and over time, the leaflets get calcified or thickened and they're not as pliant as before'' and the valve may get narrower or leak, said Dr. Jaime Moriguchi.

A human valve was used in Schwarzenegger's surgery, Olim said Thursday.

`Batman' director to redo sci-fi flick

Offbeat director Tim Burton, whose films include ``Batman'' and ``Beetlejuice,'' will direct a remake of the 1963 cult sci-fi classic ``X - the Man With the X-Ray Eyes'' for DreamWorks SKG and Orion.

The film will be produced by Burton and Larry Franco, who was associated with the director on two of his other previous projects, ``Batman Returns'' and ``Mars Attacks

''

Bryan Goluboff, who penned ``The Basketball Diaries,'' is working on the screenplay. The casting and production start date have yet to be determined.

The original film tells the story of a scientist whose attempts to invent a serum that will dramatically improve people's eyesight go awry, with tragic consequences.

The original was produced and directed by Roger Corman and starred Ray Milland as the doomed scientist who meddles in an area man was not meant to explore.

Zahn to drop neck brace while on air

Paula Zahn, who suffered whiplash in a traffic accident Tuesday in Dallas, must wear a cervical collar 24 hours a day for the next several weeks. But you won't see it when she's on the tube.

``My doctor has given me permission to remove it for 31 minutes when I substitute for Dan Rather on `Evening News,' '' she said. Her airport van was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer going 40 mph.

Vince Gill's spouse files divorce papers

Country-music star Vince Gill and his wife are splitting up.

Janis Gill, who performs in the duo Sweethearts of the Rodeo, filed for divorce in Williamson County (Tenn.) Chancery Court, said her lawyer, Rose Palermo.

``This is a private and personal matter,'' Gill, 40, said Thursday. ``And, with all due respect, I would like to keep it that way.''

The Gills have been married for 17 years.

Gill's 1992 hit ``I Still Believe in You'' was written for his wife after an argument.

Janis Gill, 43, will seek custody of the couple's daughter, 14-year-old Jenny, Palermo said.

Biggest-ever yacht to be sultan's toy

The world's richest man has reportedly put in an order for the world's biggest yacht.

The German newspaper Dresdner Morgenpost reported Wednesday that the Sultan of Brunei is having the luxury ship built at the Luerssen shipyard in Bremen.

The contract, valued at more than $60 million, calls for a yacht bigger than the current record-holder, the 480-foot Abdullah Asis, owned by King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, the newspaper said.

Shipyard owners Friedrich and Peter Luerssen could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Sultan Sir Muda Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzadin Waddaulah, who rules his oil-rich island in Southeast Asia as an absolute monarch, has a fortune estimated at $37 billion.

CAPTION(S):

3 Photos

PHOTO (1) Lion around

Trainer Charlie Sammut plays with pal Joseph in Bend, Ore., where they are working on Kevin Costner's ``The Postman.''

(2) Burton

(3) Gill
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Apr 18, 1997
Words:822
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