Linda Stirling Unmasked: The Black Whip

: Dragged from her chariot by a mob of fanatical vigilante Christian monks, the revered astronomer was stripped naked, skinned to her bones with sharp oyster shells, stoned and burned alive as possibly the first executed witch in history. A kind of purge that was apparently big business back then.



Making 'House' Calls With Olivia Wilde

By Winnie Bonelli

Olivia Wilde parlayed “the kiss” into a high profile career. What made this simple gesture so memorable was its recipient – Mischa Barton on Fox’s hit series “The O.C.”

“It was certainly a learning experience,” the actress confessed. “Before I played the bisexual Alex Kelly, I was unaware of what a phenomenon the series was. It pushed me into the next realm. Afterward, I was done with the character and ready to grow up.”

Indeed, the 25-year-old, teal-green eyed actress did exactly that, costarring as Jenny Reilly in “The Black Donnellys.” Earning accolades for its exceptional acting, the character-driven television drama, about a splintered Irish-American family, failed to build a fan base fast enough to satisfy impatient television executives and was cancelled.

Quickly rebounding, Wilde took up residence on Fox’s medical drama “House,” as Dr. Ramy Hadley, aka Thirteen. “For a female to have such intelligent material is rare. Especially joining a cast that is already established is such a huge honor. It’s like being adopted by Angelina (Jolie) and Brad (Pitt). It just gets better every single day,” said Wilde, who is married to documentary filmmaker/flamenco guitar player Tao Ruspoli.

“Hugh Laurie is a perfectionist, but he’s also so diplomatic. Instead of giving the cast notes, he might suggest something like, ‘I wonder what would happen if…’ His instincts are so right that I keep hoping Hugh will direct an episode soon.”

Aside from making the weekly “House” call, Wilde has been moonlighting non-stop. Last year, she ventured back to Biblical times in director Harold Ramis’ “Year One.” Getting the heave-ho from fellow villagers, slackers Jack Black and Michael Cera embarked on a journey that found them in Sodom, ruled over by Wilde as the clueless Princess Inanna.

Around the same time, Wilde trumped the competition on Maxim magazine’s “Hot 100 List.” It was an honor that Wilde found flattering, but also a bit surprising. “That’s now how I think of myself. Sure, I was honored to be picked, but fortunately I was holed up in Vancouver Island at the time filming ‘Tron-2’ so it didn’t interfere with my daily life,” she commented.

A reworking of the 1982 original “Tron,” Jeff Bridges is reprising his role as programmer Kevin Flynn. Back then, Disney was the first major studio to use computer graphics. Rumors are already swirling on the Internet, even thought the highly anticipated film isn’t slated for release until 2011.

Closed-mouthed, Wilde apologetically begged off, “I really can’t talk about the production; it’s shrouded in silence. I will say that Jeff Bridges has become a close confidant and proved once again what a brilliant actor he truly is. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if he won that Oscar Award for best actor.”

The daughter of Irish journalist Andrew Cockburn and Leslie Cockburn, a “60 Minutes” producer/journalist, Olivia prides herself on being “really critical and analytical.”

Nevertheless, Olivia has a secret passion – cooking. “I’ve got this great blackboard-like paint in my kitchen which I write recipes on. This year, I made myself a promise to master one new recipe a week.”

*Winnie Bonelli writes for the North Jersey Media Group, New Jersey Monthly Magazine, Coleman-Rayner LLC Celebrity Syndicate, (201) Magazine, Irish Connections, The Independent on Long Island, and Life & Style Magazine. She is a member of The Women Film Critics Circle.

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