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A PARTING LESSON

Bo Derek says if it hadn't been for the death of her husband last month, she probably wouldn't be playing a widow in a new NBC series.

Derek, who hit it big 20 years ago in Blake Edwards' comedy classic "10," makes her first foray into series television as the newly widowed matriarch in the NBC drama "Wind on Water."

The reclusive 41-year-old actress tells TV Guide in its Aug. 29 issue that if she hadn't lost her husband, the director John Derek, she likely wouldn't have returned to work.

"I was never very ambitious, which used to drive John crazy," she says. "Especially after '10' when I could have done anything. If somebody would just send money I would never work again. Now the weirdest thing is that I'm going back to work playing a widow when I had no idea I would be one."

But she says work is helping take her mind off losing her husband of nearly 24 years to a heart ailment.

"I'm not religious or even very spiritual, but I'm sure this is fate," she says.