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Riding High Now, Terry Crews Learned Lessons in Harder Times

Times are great for Terry Crews, with his TBS "Are We There Yet?" getting a 90-episode renewal — yes, that's n-i-n-e-t-y, as in 10 fewer than 100 — and his latest movie, Sylvester Stallone's "The Expendables," hitting at the box office and already prompting sequel talk.

But the nice-guy NFL-pro-turned-actor says he learned some of his most important life lessons during the harder times.

"I spent a year unemployed as an actor. I know what that feels like. You have to stick with it and believe, you have to concentrate on improving. I prayed a lot," says Crews with a laugh. "I learned a lot playing in the NFL. You just keep going and you don't stop. Keep going and keep playing, and you'll keep getting new opportunities. Take the smallest little opportunity and make something of it.

"I have to tell people also, sometimes you have to redirect," he adds. "When something is not working out, sometimes you've got to get your mind off it. I decided to do other things for a while, doing anything I could think of to keep that fire alive, until things started to break for me."

That was when he found himself doing security duty for Ice Cube while the rap star made the movie "Friday After Next." After that, Crews got a supporting part in Adam Sandler's 2005 remake of "The Longest Yard" with Chris Rock. Rock remembered Crews when it came time to cast his autobiographical TV show, "Everybody Hates Chris." That's how Crews wound up playing Chris' dad on the show for five years. And now, of course, he's the TV counterpart of Ice Cube's "Are We There Yet" lovable stepdad.

"Most of my business is repeat business," notes Crews. It's not hard to see why.

DOWNSIDES TO GET-THIN-FAST SCHEMES: With the 62nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards coming up Sunday (Aug. 29), you'd better believe the dieting and working out in Tinsel Town has reached a fever pitch as stars get red-carpet ready, and everyone else strives to pass muster on one of the glamour nights of the year.

"Modern Family's" sexy Sofia Vergara admitted she's been trying to be good about what she eats so she can look her shapely best. Her approach — carrying lollipops in her handbag so "instead of a tiramisu, I can have a boring lollipop" — could launch a trend. Sadly, lollipops that can make one look like Sofia Vergara exist only in our dreams.

That's good for a smile, but other "diet like celebrities" ideas out there are taken quite seriously — sometimes for the worse. As a number of Hollywood stars can attest, rash super diets can have long-lasting negative effects on one's health

The "Master Cleanse" diet — also called the "Lemonade" or "Maple Sugar" diet — highly touted awhile back for helping Beyonce shed 20 pounds, is actually more than 60 years old. Howard Stern sidekick Robin Quivers, who went vegan a couple of years back, lost some 70 pounds on the cleanse regime, in which followers chug a concoction of fresh lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and water for a minimum of 10 days. But doctors warn of the method, noting that fasting for a few days is fine, but extended fasting can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. Electrolyte imbalance can affect the heart and other major organ functions.

The same goes for extreme low-carb/low-calorie dieting. According to the American Heart Association, such quick-fix regimes leave out vital vitamins and minerals, may be high in fat and can increase the risk of heart disease.

And they don't lead to sustained weight loss.

Tales of stars and models using laxatives for fast weight loss are also common — but medical experts say that such practices are actually ineffective and can cause abdominal pain, dangerously low potassium levels in the blood and lasting damage to the large intestine. Low potassium levels can cause cardiac arrhythmia — irregular heatbeat, which can be life-threatening.

Matt Damon famously shed 45 pounds from his 5-foot 11-inch frame to play a heroin-addicted soldier in the 1996 "Courage Under Fire" — by running 10 miles a day and adhering to a strict diet of egg whites, chicken, vegetables and dry baked potatoes. He looked perfect for the role, but, as he has admitted, the diet induced an adrenal gland disorder that made him deathly ill and affected him in following years.

Martin Lawrence was jogging in near-triple-digit temperatures in an effort to lose weight for a movie role in 1999 when he collapsed with a temperature of 107 and was in a coma for three days.

All of which adds up to a cautionary note for those who may be tempted to lose weight in unhealthy ways.

TAKING CARE: Considering the state of the economy and the fact that, internationally speaking, public attention is focused on the Middle East and Afghanistan, it would seem to be quite an uphill task to raise funds to aid disabled children in Vietnam these days. But where there's a will, and some show business pizzazz, there's apparently a way. The Mulligan Project charity (themulliganproject.org) party, held the other night at the home of TV producer Peter Brennan ("Judge Judy," "A Current Affair") and wife Lisa, featured dragon dancers, a Mongolian contortionist, cultural music, Vietnamese cuisine and Miss Asia 2010 and her royal court. Brennan happily tells us, "It was great to see how this turned out and how well it worked — it was very successful."

Betty Tisdale, known as "the Angel of Saigon" was an honored guest. "She's a remarkable lady who had 219 kids in this orphanage in Saigon and managed to get them all out, bring them to America and find homes for every one. She adopted five Vietnamese children herself. Her story is on YouTube. She's 87 years old now," he reports — and her Vietnam story could make a great movie.

To find out more about Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith and read their past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.


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