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All that red makes former ‘Blue’ star turn white

Rick Schroder
 (The Spokesman-Review)
Rick Schroder (The Spokesman-Review)
The Spokesman-Review

Rick Schroder, who plays a surgeon on Lifetime’s “Strong Medicine,” still gets squeamish around blood. “I can’t stand it,” the 35-year-old actor tells People magazine. “My hands will be inside a bloody, prosthetic stomach, and it all looks so real that I’m staring like I’m in shock,” he says.

“Then I remember, ‘The camera’s rolling – I’ve got to do something.”’

Schroder joined the Sunday night medical drama, co-starring Rosa Blasi-Finn, for its sixth season.

He previously co-starred on television’s “NYPD Blue.” His screen credits include “The Champ,” and he made his directorial debut in the 2004 independent feature, “Black Cloud,” a story about a young American Indian boxer.

Blasi-Finn’s previous partners on “Strong Medicine” were played by Janine Turner, who left during season three, and Patricia Richardson, whose character co-ran the Philadelphia-based clinic until the end of last season.

Gee, ya think?

Oscar-winning actor Sean Penn is playing journalist again, on special assignment in Iran for the San Francisco Chronicle to cover Friday’s presidential elections.

Penn previously visited neighboring Iraq on the Chronicle’s behalf in November 2003, shortly before Saddam Hussein was captured

Last week, he attended Friday prayers at Tehran University where worshippers gave the well-known chant of “Death to America.”

On Monday, he told an audience at Tehran’s Film Museum that such cries hurt prospects for starting a dialogue between Iran and the United States.

Better sing on key, donkey

In the past, Eddie Murphy has been an actor and a singer. In a new musical, he’ll get a chance to do both.

The “Shrek” star will join Jamie Foxx and Beyonce Knowles in the cast of “Dreamgirls,” a film adaptation of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical.

The story follows the rise of a female vocal trio in the 1960s. Murphy, who has released several items of soul and pop music, will play a singer whom they back up before taking over the spotlight themselves.

Hello, greenback road

Elton John will extend his Las Vegas show, “The Red Piano,” at Caesars Palace through 2008.

John had originally committed to do 75 shows over a three-year period beginning February 2004. But the hotel-casino accelerated the performance schedule due to demand, completing it in less than 18 months.

The agreement calls for another 150 shows through 2008 at the 4,100-seat Colosseum theater built for Celine Dion, who also continues to perform there.

Sorry, Russell – wrong number

Russell Crowe, who faces assault charges for throwing a telephone at a New York hotel concierge, not only has been publicly tongue-lashed by his wife, he’s apparently been dissed by President Bush.

The Australian press says Bush showed his displeasure by canceling a scheduled White House soiree Tuesday with Crowe as guest of honor, complete with a “Cinderella Man” screening, dinner and a sleepover.

The official White House story is that it’s Crowe who canceled because of “scheduling problems.”

The birthday bunch

R&B singer Eddie Levert is 63. Actress Joan Van Ark is 62. Singer James Smith (The Stylistics) is 55. Actress Laurie Metcalf is 50. Actor Eddie Cibrian (“Third Watch”) is 32. Actress China Shavers (“Boston Public”) is 28. “American Idol” runner-up Diana DeGarmo is 18.

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