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Downey files Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Former talk show host Morton Downey Jr. has only $100 in his pocket and is seeking protection from creditors under federal bankruptcy laws, court papers indicate. Downey listed liabilities of nearly $2.4-million, including a mortgage of $628,000 and federal taxes of $500,000, in a petition filed Friday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Newark, N.J. He is seeking protection under Chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy law.

Downey listed assets that include commissions and syndication rights worth $6.3-million and $500,000 in real property, according to financial statements. The papers also say he has only $320 in the bank and $100 cash on hand.

The Morton Downey Jr. Show, a nationally syndicated talk program that featured the host ranting about issues and taunting guests, was recently canceled.

Maples to fight

media barrage

Model Marla Maples, fighting back after a week of portrayals as the Trump Tower homewrecker, hired a lawyer Tuesday to stop the media from splashing her face and figure across the front page and the TV screen.

"We're retaining counsel," said her publicist, Chuck Jones. "We plan an active pursuit of litigation against people wrongfully selling photos and videotape or making libelous statements against Marla."

Jones did not say specifically who might be targeted.

Donald and Ivana Trump announced last week they were separating after nearly 13 years of marriage. Despite repeated denials, Maples has been prominently mentioned as "the other woman" who lured Trump from his wife.

Trump defended Maples in an interview with the New York Post. "Marla is an unfortunate victim of all this. She is really a very nice person who is really a friend," he said.

Morning show

makes it official

CBS News made it official Tuesday, announcing that former ABC anchorwoman Paula Zahn will succeed Kathleen Sullivan as co-anchor of CBS This Morning starting Monday.

CBS' formal announcement came after two weeks of news reports that the move was pending. Sullivan indirectly confirmed the shift during her farewell to viewers Friday. Her CBS contract expires in November.

Lauren Bacall

goes shopping

Upon the closing of Fiorucci, a trendier-than-thou Manhattan boutique run by a retailer from Milan, former salesman Joey Arias told the magazine Paper about some of his favorite customers.

Lauren Bacall, for instance. "She wanted something casual, so I brought a pale coffee jogging suit with a huge leopard sarong. She went crazy.

"She knew there was no smoking allowed, but she fired up anyway, and asked me to hold my hand out to catch the ashes so that she wouldn't be busted. (What set did she think she was on?)

"She wound up spending a few grand and sending her driver to pick up the merch."

Et cetera .

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Barbara Bush had 12 stitches removed from above her lip Tuesday in a procedure performed at the White House, her spokeswoman said. Mrs. Bush received the stitches last week to close an incision where a small skin cancer was removed.

Panamanian President Guillermo Endara and his 22-year-old girlfriend are engaged, a presidential spokeswoman said Monday. Endara, 52, and Ana Mae Diaz became engaged in "a simple ceremony in the presidential palace on Feb. 14," Raquel Gomez said. Endara's wife, Marcela Cambra, died last June.

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