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Section: Maxine Mesinger: Big City Beat

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Oct. 5, 2000, 6:53PM

Houstonian wins in Star Search

Big City Beat

Have tongue, will tattle: Ed McMahon's next big star is Houstonian Saidas Ranade. Ranade won Star Search in the Stand-Up Comedian category last month at Universal Studios, picking up $10,000 in cash and prizes. McMahon flew Ranade to Los Angeles for an interview live on KTLA's morning program last month and got him booked in L.A.'s hot comedy club, The Improv, where he got raves. McMahon is busy at the moment selling his Star Search television show to stations around the country. If you remember, he and Dick Clark had the Star Search show some years ago, and one of the big winners back then was songbird Linda Eder. She went on to become a Broadway star in Jekyll & Hyde, in which she premiered here at the Alley Theatre. Later, Eder married composer Frank Wildhorn, who wrote the music for J&H, Civil War and other shows. Back to McMahon for a minute -- he will revive Star Search in the form of four specials a year. I'll have the full info on that in a few days, and I'll pass it right along to you. ...

As I reported earlier, former TV news anchor David Brinkley and wife Susan are making a permanent move to Houston. They bought a home here several months ago; however, they spent the summer at their cool hacienda in Jackson Hole, Wyo. They aren't used to our heat yet. They'll arrive in Houston next week and will bunk with close friends Sallie Ann and Bob Hart until the finishing touches are done on their home here and the moving vans are unloaded. The couple had homes in Washington and Florida, as well as the one in Jackson Hole. The latter is the only one they've kept; they sold the other two. The couple have a daughter and son-in-law, Alexis and Jeremiah Collins, living in Houston, no doubt one of the reasons they chose to move here. Brinkley retired from the rigors of daily television about a year ago, but it turns out he's not too happy about it. One of the things he's considering is writing another book, and I think he's already giving it heavy thought. ...

Romance department: Susan Ward, St. Regis Hotel's director of sales and marketing, is telling pals she'll tie the knot Dec. 23 at the St. Regis. The groom-to-be is Michael Freeman, who is based in London and is a staffer for the royal family of Dubai. Incidentally, the St. Regis staff is all smiles because Travel and Leisure magazine has named the St. Regis one of the top 100 hotels in the continental United States and Canada. ... Another romance: Sheryl Mann and Winston Crump will blend Oct. 21 in Austin. Crump is the son of prominent Houston architect M.T. and Jane Crump. Mann's parents are the Gary Manns of Austin. Lamar High School teacher Kay Haymond hosted a bridal shower for Mann last month at the Junior League. GLITZ owner Camille Jesse gave Haymond a hand with the celebration by doing the decorations for the shower-brunch. ...

Katherine Rauch is into a new field. She's designing cigar-box purses. That's what I said -- she's making good-looking purses out of cigar boxes. It's been a trend among retail store designers for a while now, and the purses have caught on like crazy. Saks Fifth Ave. recently added Rauch's purses to their stock. She's tagged them "Rauches Pouches." She showed them off for the first time at the recent party Saks hosted honoring Nellie Connally and her fight against breast cancer. ... Former model and songbird Kay Emberg has joined the entertainment staff of Hessni's Restaurant & Piano Bar. That's the old Renata's on Lexington at South Shepherd. Les Lobo is accompanying her on the piano, and they perform Friday and Saturday nights, 7:30 to 10:30. For reservations, call 713-523-2428. FYI: Hessni Malla, owner and executive chef, was the exec chef at La Tour D'Argent for the past 14 years. ... The stork market: It's a boy for Karen and Greg Barfield, board chairman and CEO of MedBusiness.net. They named him Trey Harper, and he makes Mrs. Harper Smith and the Jack Barfields grandparents. ...

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