By Cindy Elavsky

Q: “Ugly Betty” is one of my favorite shows, and I especially love Vanessa Williams as Wilhelmina Slater. What has she been up to this summer during her break from the show? — Haley J., via e-mail
A: Vanessa has been a very busy woman. She played to sold-out audiences at the Tropicana in Atlantic City, released her eighth studio album called “The Real Thing,” just started back at work on the fourth season of “Ugly Betty” and is actively involved with the charitable education campaign called Express Success. Vanessa told me recently why she chose this particular campaign: to celebrate working women. She explains, “Dress for Success provides the opportunity for women who don’t have the means that I do to get proper training for the workforce, get some amazing clothing and be able to start on the path toward becoming successful women in business.” To find out how to donate or to see if there will be any events in your area, go to ExpressSuccessCampaign.com.
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Q: Lisa Kudrow was my favorite performer on “Friends.” I’d love to know what she has been up to lately. — Juliette F., Oriskany Falls, N.Y.
A: Lisa currently stars as Dr. Fiona Wallice on “Web Therapy,” which is broadcast on LStudio.com. The show has received with rave reviews and features lots of familiar-face guest stars, including fellow “Friend” Courtney Cox Arquette, Rashida Jones, Victor Garber, Steven Weber and Alan Cumming, among others.
An interesting side note: Prior to “Mad About You” and “Friends,” Lisa Kudrow was hired to play Frasier’s fiery radio producer, Roz, on the hit show “Frasier.” However, during rehearsals for the show, she and those involved knew that something wasn’t working in her performance, so she was let go. She was replaced by Peri Gilpin. However, one of the people working on “Frasier” also worked on “Friends” and suggested that she audition for the show.
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Q: It seems like everything old is new again. First they made a movie version of “Transformers,” then “G.I. Joe.” What’s next? — Steven W., Ashtabula, Ohio
A: Would you believe “Asteroids”? And yes, I do mean the arcade game. It seems that Universal Pictures has obtained the rights to the live-action movie of the popular Atari video game. While I’m interested to see how they will turn this into a feature film, I’ve always been partial to Ms. Pacman.
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Q: I heard that Aaron Spelling was married to actress Carolyn Jones (Morticia, “The Addams Family”). If true, when and how long were they married? — Francis W., via e-mail
A: Aaron and Carolyn were indeed man and wife from 1953-64. Prior to “The Addams Family,” Carolyn worked with Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and Anthony Quinn. After she and Aaron divorced in 1964, Carolyn, a natural blonde, donned a coal-black, long-haired wig to portray her most iconic character, Morticia Addams.
Have a question for Cindy? E-mail her at letters@cindyelavsky.com, or write to her in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475.
© 2009 King Features Synd., Inc.