Jane Seymour Sizes Up "Dancing With the Stars" Competition
Sep 17, 2007
With the new season of "Dancing With the Stars" one week away, contestant Jane Seymour sizes up the competition: "I think it's a very even race, actually. "Wayne Newton is older, but he's a performer, and half the competition is skill and the other half is performance and fun. Marie Osmond has a huge fan base and is very musical.
The young girl from The Cheetah Girls has a lot of fans, and the people who actually vote are very young," she says of Sabrina Bryan. As for Dallas Mavericks' owner Mark Cuban, "Apparently he's a really great dancer."
Spice Girl Melanie Brown, boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., model Albert Reed, race car driver Helio Castroneves and actors Jennie Garth, Josie Maran and Cameron Mathison round out this season's star dancers. Having danced with the London Festival Ballet and the Kirov Ballet as a youngster, Jane would seem to have an advantage, but she says no.
"I was sort of a background snowflake, just one of the kids. When I was 16 years old, I spent more time in the hospital being treated for injuries than I did dancing, and I haven't been anywhere near a dance studio since then. But I still have the little girl inside of me saying, 'I want to dance!'"
Training for the show she adores "has been absolute joy and complete agony. My body is in better shape now than it's been in a long time. I lost about 10 pounds in training mode for the last few weeks, doing stretching, Pilates, cardio. I wanted to ease my body into this because I have a fused spine and at the bottom herniated discs. I was very concerned I'd be able to move, let alone dance. Learning the techniques really accurately and painstakingly slowly, I haven't been injured at all. In fact, I've minimized the pain I have on a daily basis. It's helping with my back."
She adds, "I was joking the other day, 'I should be the Dr. Quinn of ballroom dancing.' If you do it properly, it opens the chest, strengthens the core and uses muscles that enable you to have mobility longer."
MERVELOUS: Merv Griffin is doing just great on the other side and "absolutely was very proud of his funeral and what was going on." That's the word from "Life Among the Dead" star Lisa Williams, who was one of the late singer/host/producer/entrepreneur's protegees -- and, perhaps still is. In fact, Williams recalls, Merv once announced on TV that he would ALWAYS be the executive producer of her show.
"He was such an amazing guy. He discovered me and brought me over to the States. He's given me lots of signs that, for me, are a comfort to know he's around. He'll be in my dreams sometimes. He used to say my name in a way that was just him, and in one of my dreams I picked up the phone and it was his voice, saying LEEESA his way."
In life, Merv advised the British psychic medium on such matters as how to present herself and handle the media as she launched her Lifetime TV show. Now she has season two ready for Oct. 12 launch and says she won't be surprised if she hears from him again. She's already read for "Extra's" Dayna Devon and Shanna Moakler of "Dancing with the Stars" for this season. Willliams says she's used to being approached not only by regular mortal types, but by spirits of friends and loved ones of guests on the show who want to participate: "I'll go to bed exhausted after a long day, and there will be someone's Aunt Betty who wants to be on the show." Talk about getting it from both sides!
FROM THE INSIDE LOOKING OUT: Journalist and TV correspondent Lisa Ling tells us she believes she's been able to do some of her best work since veering away from traditional news reporting.
"I think that I do better journalism for the 'Oprah' Winfrey show, the Oxygen network and the National Geographic channel than I would for any news network. All the news networks are too busy covering Paris Hilton," opines Ling, who has spent the last several years covering stories about child slave trafficking, problems in Africa and gang rape, just to name a few.
"It's a commentary on the state of news that I'm covering these types of stories for non-news outlets," she says. Being a correspondent for "Oprah," it certainly helps that her boss shares a similar interest in humanity. "There aren't enough people who are covering stories that make you think, and that are global and important. I think Oprah has reached a point in her career and life where she intends to elevate humanity. She doesn't want to be a part of all the other stuff that's going on in TV because it's all the same." Lisa says we can next see her on the National Geographic Channel where she is working on a story about organ trading on the world market.
MARCHING TO HER OWN DRUM BEAT: You have to hand it to Elizabeth Taylor for doing things her own way. The Hollywood icon -- who converted to Judaism in 1959 while engaged to Eddie Fisher -- chose the Jewish holidays as the time to make a $25,000 donation last week to Alliance for Christian Education. The gift was directed to Santa Barbara's newly opened Christian prep school, Providence Hall.
See Photos: Dancing With The Stars
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