Karen Allen is Back as Marion Ravenswood: “What are the chances a director would call you to shoot a sequel 27 years after the first film? For an actress, forbidden by Hollywood law from aging on screen, I’d say about one in a trillion,” writes Clint O’Connor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “Karen Allen beat those odds last year.”

Allen, 56, returns as Marion Ravenswood in “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” a role she played 27 years ago in the original “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” The new film opens May 22.

O’Connor describes the character of Marion as “from the Katharine Hepburn-Jean Arthur-Carole Lombard smart-and-sassy school. Allen’s fresh-faced beauty and big, soulful eyes made Marion an
irresistible double-threat: heartthrob and hurricane.”

Also famous for her role in “Animal House,” Allen returned to her theater roots after the fame of “Indiana Jones.” Today she lives in western Massachusetts where she teaches acting and runs Karen Allen Fiber Arts, a knitwear design studio.

“There’s so many actresses that I never get to see on the screen,” said Allen. “There’s a few extraordinary actresses like Meryl Streep, or Frances McDormand, or Susan Sarandon, but it looks like all of those roles are being played by a very small group, which I completely understand. I just wish there were more out there. I would love to work in film some more.”

Uphill Battle for Survival Story: CBS News correspondent Kimberly Dozier, 41, had a difficult time finding a publisher for a book about her life and near-death experience in Iraq — “Gee, it’s about Iraq,” editors would tell her, disappointedly. But ultimately Meredith Books of Des Moines, Iowa, took on the book, “Breathing the Fire.” And that’s a good thing, writes David Zurawik of the Baltimore Sun.

“What readers will find is a gripping saga of Dozier’s physical devastation on a Baghdad street and her long, hard road of recovery in military and civilian hospitals and rehab centers in Germany, Washington and Baltimore, where her parents live,” writes Zurawik. “An intensely personal story, Breathing the Fire also manages as well as any book yet out on the war in Iraq to communicate universal truths about what it takes to survive and go on with life after being grievously wounded — whether journalist, civilian or soldier.”

Unions Appeal to Women Includes Caregiving Help: From Women’s eNews: Women pick up the majority of caregiving responsibilities and often lose time from work to care for the elderly. One area of relief comes from unions, which negotiate provisions for elder care services that benefit their growing female membership. Sharon Johnson writes:

Although more men are lending a hand, women still provide the majority of care — an average of 134 hours each month — according to a study published by the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C., in 2006.

The care burden can even cut careers short. Last week, former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor told Congress she retired in order to care for her husband, who has Alzheimer’s disease. Before she stepped down, she took him to work with her on days when he could not be alone.

In addition to physical and emotional stress, caregiving takes a financial toll. The Urban Institute study found that 55- to 67-year-old women who cared for elderly parents decreased their work by 367 hours in 2006, incurring an average loss of $6,300 in wages and $2,300 in benefits.

“People shouldn’t have to choose between their jobs and families, but many women do,” said Netsy Firestein, executive director of the Labor Project for Working Families in Berkeley, Calif. “Some work part time or leave the work force; others accept low-paying positions without benefits. This is sad because they are left with little savings, no pensions and reduced Social Security for their old age.”

Hot Flashes Reduced by Neck Injection: “An injection of a local anesthetic into the nerves of the neck that regulate temperature could give breast cancer patients long-term relief from hot flashes and sleep deprivation,” according to a new study reported on by HealthDay News. The report is published in the June issue of The Lancet Oncology.

“Breast cancer survivors can have very severe hot flashes, and this modality of treatment seems to resolve that without the usual problems of hormone treatments,” said lead researcher Dr. Eugene Lipov, medical director at Advanced Pain Centers in Hoffman Estates, Ill.

In the future, this could be how all hot flashes are treated, Lipov said. “Fifty million older women in
the United States have hot flashes, not just breast cancer survivors, but menopausal women,” he said.

Barbara Brenner, executive director of Breast Cancer Action, raised some concerns: “While it looks like the study produced meaningful results for many of the women in the trial, this is a tiny study, which did not go on for very long,” she said, adding that the radiation used in the injection could increase  the risk of cancer among women who have had radiation therapy for breast cancer.

“All of which is to say that, while some women will be so seriously affected by hot flashes and disruptions of sleep to want to do this, it would be good to have considerably more data both in terms of numbers studied and long-term side effects before touting it,” Brenner said.

Growing Old “Disgracefully” is In: Ian Haysom, news director of Global News in British Columbia, celebrates growing old “disgracefully,” meaning doing things once never thought appropriate (or physically possible) for your age. But still there is a gender divide.

“Growing old disgracefully is something more seniors have started embracing rather than settling for comfortable, sedentary old age,” writes Haysom. “It is, it’s true, easier for men. I can’t see a female Indiana Jones out there, leaping tall buildings with geriatric aplomb.”

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  • Brad hansen July 18, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    Speaking of Karen Allen, I wrote an unsolicited script for a Starman sequel back in 1998. It was my first script and I quit college to finish it. It’s been gathering dust ever since. I sent it to Jeff Bridges and John carpenter, although I would prefer if Carpenter didn’t direct a sequel. I wrote some good f/x sequences and some interesting characters. I’m pretty sure I’ll never be involved, but I’d to see the f/x scene from the beach being incorporated, (Jeff’s manager Neil will know the one, totally plagiarised from another movie, but it would look great on film today). If anyone has any questions, email me at [email protected] and I’ll answer them. (Although I won’t give away any plot points. And yes there is a son and indeed, I actually have the perfect casting suggestion!!