Oct. 8, 2000
to help students shine
Celebrities raise money for scholarship fund
AMORY -- Biting winds and temperatures in the upper 30s forced Stars
Over Mississippi headliner Dolly Parton from an Amory High football
field stage during the fifth Stars Over Mississippi scholarship
"I'm about to die," Parton said three hours into the show. "I'm sorry.
My throat is closing up. I just can't sing."
Headliner Parton called the show early, after a diminished crowd
of several thousand shivered through the rest of the Hollywood
heavies, TV talkers and other assorted star-caliber performers.
They had stopped in to raise some funds for Mississippi students
through the biennial extravaganza.
Culminating in the chilly concert on the football field of Amory
High, country legend Parton, talk show personality Kathie Lee
Gifford and actress Brooke Shields topped a list of stars who
volunteered their time to benefit the Mary Kirkpatrick Haskell
The foundation is directed by Haskell's son, Sam Haskell, who
played football at Amory High 26 years ago and is now executive vice
president at William Morris Talent Agency in Beverly Hills
Tickets to the 7:30 p.m. event were $15. The foundation, which
raises scholarship money for deserving students in Mississippi
public schools, has amassed more than $1 million.
"Who says there isn't life after Regis?" asked Gifford, who in July
quit her job as co-host of Live with Regis and Kathie Lee.
The rest of the entertainers huddled in a trailer green room
behind the visitors bleachers, watching Gifford joke and sing
through the cold.
"I'm so very proud of my hometown," said Amory native John Dye, a
perennial performer at the event who stars on the TV show Touched by
an Angel. "In the beginning, there was a lot of apprehension. Were the
stars going to come out for this? Now, its just what you do every
The stars are all friends of Haskells, including former Miss
America Mary Ann Mobley and her husband, Emmy winner Gary Collins.
Following an invitation-only gala Friday, the star-studded
weekend awoke to a sunny Saturday with temperatures in the 40s.
It only got colder.
"Were here not only to see Dolly, but to support the cause. This
educates kids and we support that," said John Creekmore of Amory, who
came with wife Sheila.
"I'll come back sometime and finish the show, I promise," Parton
assured the crowd. "Or, I'll give you your money back myself. Well
figure something out, y'all."
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