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"I want to take you and your mom together!" said the late photographer Richard Avedon to specialist Gabriel Garriga at the Brooke Army Medical Center's famed Army Burn Center in San Antonio. This was after Avedon had been told that the badly burned Garriga, age 20, had been lovingly nursed by his mother, Gisele, during the whole time he had undergone 28 grueling skin grafts.

Avedon died Oct. 1, at age 81, of a cerebral hemorrhage in that Texas city before he could finish his photo portfolio. He was still to take pictures of Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for this sprawling work. But some of his "Democracy" photos run the gamut this week in the New Yorker. He shows us Michael Moore and Karl Rove, Democrats and Republicans, Bill O'Reilly and James Carville, nude AIDS activists at the GOP convention, Jimmy Carter and Sean Penn with "THINK" inked on his knuckles. Sgt. Joe Washam, another badly burned soldier, is also in this group of realistic portraits.

Avedon, known for his high fashion beauties as well as grittier, more realistic coverage, was in Texas seeking out the disfigured and the wounded. Some of the soldiers felt he was "shocked" by the extent of their wounds. But Avedon kept saying, "I want to honor their contributions and sacrifices on behalf of our country." During the Vietnam War, Avedon had gone to that country filming soldiers, but, at the time, he was working for himself. No magazine wanted such pictures.

Meanwhile, the New Yorker is backing John Kerry for president in the new issue, the first endorsement in its 80-year history.

We had a story here recently that the gifted Richard Harling is writing an original screenplay to be based on the "Dallas" TV characters. 20th Century Fox will produce. Now, Larry Hagman, who was the villainous J.R. Ewing in the series, chimes in, saying "I've heard they cast Brad Pitt to play my part. I was kind of hoping it would be Bruce Willis. Bruce is funny, he's my friend and, most important, he has big muscles." (I guess Larry missed Brad's bulging physique in "Troy.")

Hagman told the London Telegraph's "Spy" Charlie Methven that he hadn't been contacted or asked for his opinion by the Fox producers. The son of the late, great Mary Martin added he was going to Frankfurt, Germany, to promote a "Dallas" DVD and said, "There's no escaping the ghost of J.R."

As you probably know, the "Dallas" cast will reunite from the Southfork Ranch and show outtakes from and reminisce about the prime-time '80s hit on a CBS special Nov. 7.

Speaking of Larry and his musical mom, I recently caught a bit of a TV "Biography" on Mary, and Larry had this story: "At about the time I was at my height as J.R., I was at a party with my mother, and a reporter approached her and said, 'How does it feel to have an icon as a son?' Mom replied, 'My dear, Larry is a star. I am an icon.' "

Does a man spend hundreds and hundreds of bucks on sexy lingerie for a woman from whom he has split? I think not. So, there was Justin Timberlake, snapping up garters, bras and scanties of all sorts at L.A.'s Agent Provocateur. When an inquiring salesgirl boldly asked if the items were for Cameron Diaz, Justin said, "You bet!"

More love -- or something. Hugh Grant and his friend Jemima Khan were recently so cozy at the crowded bar of Hollywood's Four Seasons Hotel that one prudish patron suggested, "Why don't you two get a room?" Hugh replied, "A room? Actually, we have a beautiful suite." Then, they went back to their breathless osculation.

And here's real love -- Danny Moder has been wearing an "empathy belly" around the house, so that his pregnant wife, Julia Roberts, doesn't feel all alone in her unwieldy condition. At a recent dinner for friends, Danny wore the belt under his shirt, and everybody commented on how married life has "changed" him.

Tribune Media Services

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