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NEWS LITE : SCREEN `SELENA' DOESN'T PRETEND TO THE THRONE.

Becky Lee Meza is proud she's the girl chosen to play Selena in a movie about the Tejano singer's life and tragic death. She just doesn't want adoring Selena fans to confuse her with the original.

``I want to be looked at as myself,'' Becky said during a break from singing Selena songs at a homey Mexican food restaurant, calling herself ``ordinary.''

But from the throaty voice to the flip of her long, dark hair and dynamic stage presence, it's easy to see how and why the 10-year-old performer was chosen to portray Selena as a child in the coming Hollywood movie.

``She was more a role model than an idol,'' Becky said. ``A lot of little girls wanted to be like her.''

Becky's first public performance, at a cousin's wedding, came just last year on the evening of March 31 - the day Selena was murdered.

``I didn't want to go to the wedding,'' Becky recalled. ``I was mad and upset, but I went and I performed. I did my best for Selena. Selena inspired me to open up to the crowd.''

Becky won the part after a talent search evaluated more than 20,000 other girls.

Leno adds 2 sets of wheels on car centennial

Classic car buff Jay Leno celebrated the 100th anniversary of the American automobile with a visit to the Motor City, where he bought two sports cars to add to his collection.

The host of ``The Tonight Show with Jay Leno'' picked up a Dodge Viper - his second - and a Ford Indigo, a so-called ``concept car'' with a V-12 engine that can reach 60 mph in 3.9 seconds.

``It's not a matter of price,'' Leno said Saturday night at a gala centennial dinner. ``For my money, the best stuff is in Detroit.''

Leno proudly said he drives a ``100 percent American-made car,'' a 1955 Buick Roadmaster.

Weekend celebrations wound up Sunday with the National Auto 100 Parade, in which Leno served as grand marshal.

His love of classic cars and motorcycles is well-known. How much he spent on his latest purchases wasn't disclosed, but last year he paid $450,000 for a 1934 black Murphy Duesenberg speedster.

Sting plays first U.S. concert on

his summer tour

Sting faithful flocked to catch the pop star's first American stop in West Palm Beach, Fla., on his summer concert tour.

Playing to a gathering of 20,000 Friday night at the Coral Sky Amphitheater, Sting had something for everybody: a mix of new music and older songs, including selections from his days with The Police.

``Environment. Family. The Earth,'' said fan Kirk Wagner, 34. ``Where we live, what we're doing, and why we're doing it. Pay attention, we won't be around long. He tells a story that he's lived.''

Sting, 44, said very little, although he did tell those sitting on the soggy lawn he really appreciated the turnout at the outdoor venue, despite recent downpours.

Some wouldn't have dreamed of missing it, regardless of the weather.

``He's still gorgeous,'' said Janine Liever, 37. ``He's a very sexy, romantic man. That's part of his attraction.''

Football great to run sausage business

Former football star Franco Harris is buying Parks Sausage Co., a pioneering black-owned business in Baltimore on the verge of financial collapse.

Harris, the former Pittsburgh Steelers running back, signed the deal to save Parks Sausage on Friday. The meat company opened in 1951 and became the first black-owned business to offer public stock.

``It feels fantastic, but I know there's a lot of hard work ahead of us,'' Harris said. ``It's kind of hard to describe, but I'm both very excited and very scared.''

Moon walk a giant step

for TV, too

No. 1 on TV Guide's list of the 100 Most Memorable Moments in TV History is July 20, 1969, ``Neil Armstrong Walks on the Moon.''

Among the other nonentertainment events in the top 25:

No. 3, Nov. 25, 1963, ``John-John's Salute''; No. 7, Oct. 3, 1995, ``The O.J. Simpson Verdict''; No. 8, July 29, 1981, ``The Wedding of Charles and Diana'' (see left); No. 11, April 29, 1992, ``Reginald Denny Beating''; No. 15, March 31, 1968, ``LBJ Announces He Will Not Seek Re-Election''; No. 17, Jan. 28, 1986, ``The Challenger Explodes''; No. 18, April 8, 1974, ``Hank Aaron Hits No. 715''; No. 20, June 17, 1994 ``The White Bronco Chase''.

Reagan image maker giving Dole pointers

Michael Deaver, who was so successful at setting the stage for Ronald Reagan's political performances, is giving some informal advice to the Bob Dole campaign, writes Ruth Shalit in GQ.

``I've been helping,'' he told Shalit. ``Helping design the visuals. . . . I've told (the campaign) that people take in more through the eye than they do through the ear. If that's how people get their information, why not play the game right?''

The main problem with the Dole campaign, he said, is that it is ``choppy.'' The candidate ``can't talk about Clinton judges one day and the Internet the next. People's heads reel. . . . When Ronald Reagan got off the plane in 1980, I used to stop him. I'd say, `Remember Governor: family, neighborhood, peace.' That was his mantra.''

CAPTION(S):

3 Photos

PHOTO (1) Becky Lee Meza: Ordinary girl

(2) Premiere peo ple

Actress Demi Moore is accompanied by her husband, actor Bruce Willis, and their kids Scout, left, and Rummer at Sunday's premiere of Moore's latest film, ``Striptease,'' in New York City.

Associated Press

(3) HARRIS
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jun 24, 1996
Words:911
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