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Ming-Na, geeky and proud of it
Ming-Na, geeky and proud of it / MING-NA: JASON LAVERIS, FILMMAGIC
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Matthew Settle is starring on Broadway / SETTLE: DIMITRIOS, KAMBOURIS, WIREIMAGE

Birthday buzz

May 30: Manny Ramirez, 38; Wynonna Judd, 46
May 31: Brooke Shields, 45; Clint Eastwood, 80
June 1: Morgan Freeman, 73
June 2: Wayne Brady, 38
June 3: Anderson Cooper, 43; Tony Curtis, 85
June 4: Evan Lysacek, 25; Angelina Jolie, 35
June 5: Pete Wentz, 31

Liam Neeson may play Abraham Lincoln / NEESON: TONI PASSIG, WIREIMAGE
Papa Roach's Jacoby Shaddix / CHRISTOPHER STEWART, REDFERNS
The Other side of the Mountain is based on Jill Kinmont Boothe's experiences. / GEORGE SILK, TIME & LIFE PICTURES/GETTY IMAGES
Laurie Dhue said that she "decided to branch out." / DUFFY-MARIE ARNOULT, WIREIMAGE

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If you ask Stargate Universe star — and self-proclaimed geek — Ming-Na, nerdiness is hereditary. “I passed on my geek gene, because my daughter named her hamster ‘Star Wars,' ” she reveals. And what did the family do when 9-year-old Michaela's pet died? “We had a lovely burial and we played the Stars Wars theme song. How pathetic is that?” Ming-Na, 46, calls her Stargate role as lost-in-space lesbian Camile Wray “a little geek girl's dream come true.”

Matthew Settle is spending his hiatus from Gossip Girl starring on Broadway as attorney Billy Flynn in Chicago. While treading the boards through June 13, 40-year-old Settle will spend downtime with his 15-month-old daughter, Aven Angelica, and his pet pooches, a Chihuahua named Zoe and a Pomeranian named Jackie O. “They're best friends, and they fit in the same bag, so you can take them anywhere.” And, Settle says, Aven is “learning to be gentle with them as she gets older.”

Q: I read that Liam Neeson was to portray Abraham Lincoln in a movie. Any news?

Affee Einbinder, Rochester, N.Y.

Well, Affee, there's good news and bad news. Liam was approached to play Lincoln in Steven Spielberg's biopic, based on Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals. The bad news is a rep for Spielberg tells us the film is stuck in development because of script delays, and it will not be shooting this year. “We really hope to do this at some point,” DreamWorks' Marvin Levy says. Lincoln “is still the most admired president of the United States.” The good news is you can catch Neeson, 57, next in The A Team this June with Bradley Cooper and Jessica Biel.

Q: What is Papa Roach up to these days? Will we be seeing a new album from them soon?

April Sapp, Ramseur, N.C

Since a breakout hard-rock album titled Infest in 2000, Papa Roach members Jacoby Shaddix (vocals), Tobin Esperance (bass guitar), Jerry Horton (lead guitar) and Tony Palermo (drums) have sold more than 8 million albums. Their latest is a live recording due in August. The Northern California band, known for its exciting live performances, began a U.S. concert tour this spring. In the summer, the group heads to Canada and Europe.

Q: Is Jill Kinmont, the Olympic-hopeful skier in 1955, still living? Her life was such an inspiration to so many people.

Chuck Hackman, Great Falls, Mont.

Jill Kinmont Boothe, 74, who broke her back skiing before she could compete in the 1956 Olympics, lives in Bishop, Calif. She appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated in January 1955, the same month she was injured during a competition. Her experience was the subject of the 1975 book A Long Way Up and its movie adaptation, The Other Side of the Mountain, and 1978's The Other Side of the Mountain Part 2. Kinmont Boothe is an accomplished painter.

Q: What happened to Laurie Dhue, formerly of Fox News?

Kathy Sutton, Enid, Okla.

Dhue left the anchor desk behind in 2008 to work as a media consultant in New York. “I decided to branch out on my own and work with high-level executives on media strategy and media training,” Dhue, 41, tells us. She recently made a guest appearance on Fox News' Geraldo at Large. “It felt terrific to be back on TV and working with one of my favorite people,” she says.

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