Television Star Exits Scientology | De Niro, Redford Salute Streep | New Line's Goodbye; Dr. Phil's Money

Television Star Exits Scientology

Ruggedly handsome actor Jason Beghe was best man at the wedding of "X-Files" star David Duchovny (his childhood pal) and actress Tea Leoni. In 1998, he starred as Demi Moore’s love interest in "G.I. Jane." He’s been featured in numerous TV dramas such as "Criminal Minds," "Numb3rs" and "CSI."

In 2005, Beghe appeared in promotional spots for the Church of Scientology. But now, Beghe has escaped the church after taking courses since 1994. He’s made a video that’s up on Google Video.

This is what he has to say: "Scientology is destructive and a rip-off."

He also says: "It’s very, very dangerous for your spiritual, psychological, mental, emotional health and evolution. I think it stunts your evolution. If Scientology is real, then something’s f---ed up."

You can see from the video that Beghe does not mince words. But his refreshing candor about the religion he joined in 1994 should shake the Celebrity Center to its core.

"It ain’t deliverin’ what it’s promised. It sure has not."

The video is billed as a three-minute teaser to a longer interview with Beghe that’s on its way. But the short video packs a powerful punch. Beghe still uses a lot of Scientology lingo like "OT" and "clear." Still, it’s quite easy to understand the point he’s making. After 14 years and a tremendous amount of money, he’s seeing Scientology in a different light.

Beghe has completed so many courses that he’s considered a top Scientologist, or "OT 5" — similar to Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Kirstie Alley. But Beghe reveals: "The further up the bridge, the worse you get."

He adds: "I don’t have an agenda. I’m just trying to help. I have the luxury of having gotten into Scientology and after having been in it, been out. And that’s a perspective that people who are still in and not out do not have."

More to come…

De Niro, Redford Salute Streep

It was Meryl Streep’s night on Monday at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s annual honors dinner.

Two Roberts — De Niro and Redford — showed up and toasted Streep from the stage of Avery Fisher Hall, along with Amy Adams, Uma Thurman, Stanley Tucci, directors Mike Nichols and Jonathan Demme, Christopher Walken and Garrison Keillor.

In the audience and at the dinner later: actress Christine Baranski; "Guiding Light" star Maeve Kinkead, Meryl’s sister-in-law; actor John Rothman, plus two "Sophie’s Choice" widows — Rose Styron, whose husband, William, wrote the award-winning novel, and Hannah Pakula (Alan directed the Oscar-winning film). Kathryn Altman represented her late husband, Robert Altman, who directed Streep in "A Prairie Home Companion."

Robert Benton, director of "Places in the Heart" and "Kramer vs. Kramer" (Streep was in the latter), told me Meryl turned down the role that went to Sally Field — and for which Field won an Oscar.

"I think I was pregnant," Meryl told me at dinner.

(Missing, but I’m sure they had good excuses: Nora Ephron, Carrie Fisher, Jack Nicholson, Kevin Kline, Chris Cooper, Diane Keaton, Dustin Hoffman, Ed Harris.)

The two-hour program at Avery Fisher Hall featured memorable clips, in chronological order, from early films such as "Kramer" and Alan Alda’s "Seduction of Joe Tynan" through "Sophie’s Choice," the updated "Manchurian Candidate" and "The Devil Wears Prada."

We were even treated to Meryl's singing "The Winner Takes It All" from this summer’s "Mamma Mia," based on the ABBA musical. Streep belts out the song confidently to a bewildered Pierce Brosnan.

The speakers who toasted Streep got it right, although Thurman summed it up when she said: "There’s Meryl, and there’s everyone else."

There were some funny moments in the speeches, especially De Niro joking that since he left CAA (Creative Artists Agency), no one’s returning his calls.

But it was Streep who stole her own show, wearing a dress she told a friend, "I bought at the Short Hills Mall in suburban New Jersey."

When it was Meryl’s turn to speak, she was greeted by a standing ovation.

"I was really dreading this for so many reasons. The dress, the speech, seeing the relatives…" She thanked her husband of 30 years, sculptor Don Gummer, and her four daughters. "I’m trying not to be here tonight, to be Meryl Streep," she said.

She finished by telling a story of an acting class assignment she had at the end of her freshman year of college. "You had to show you’d been moved by something." Streep’s classmates all chose situations in which they killed someone close to them, or someone was killed.

"I kept thinking, 'Who can I kill?'" she said. Her answer? "I pretended I was very old — 60," said the 58-year-old ironically, "and I was the most celebrated actress in the world. And I was on stage accepting an award and announcing my retirement. The hall we did this in was even called Avery Hall, which is really something."

It was eerily similar to the night’s festivities. The only difference? Meryl pointed out: "I’m not retiring!"

New Line's Goodbye; Dr. Phil's Money

New Line Cinema gets further desiccated Tuesday when Warner Bros. guillotines the remaining loyal and talented employees and waits for the "Sex and the City" movie to come and go. When "SATC" is finished, the last of the New Line folk will be history.

Warner — which didn’t like New Line having hits such as "Lord of the Rings" or "Rush Hour," can then recount the glory days of "Assassination of Jesse James," "August Rush" and the upcoming kiddie porn, "Towelhead."…

Dr. Phil McGraw is having all kinds of problems, but his ratings are steady and good, so MSNBC’s report that his show will be canceled seems far-fetched.

On another front, did you know Dr. Phil has his own charitable foundation? In 2004 and 2005 he didn’t put much into it, but in 2006 he parked over $2.4 million tax-free in it. The money going out to needy types? Around $450,000. There were no donations made to any charities associated with Dr. Phil’s boss and sponsor, Oprah Winfrey. The board members include his wife, her sister and a brother-in-law. ...