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Twins separated at birth reveal their incredible reunion story

Written By kom nampuldu on Minggu, 19 Oktober 2014 | 20.49

Two years ago, on a chilly, gray, rainy Saturday afternoon in London, Anaïs Bordier received a screenshot, sent by a friend, of a young woman in America who looked exactly like her.

"I was shocked," Anaïs says today. "I didn't understand . . . who could that be?" Electrified, her next thought was to find out more about this girl. And just as quickly, she dropped the idea.

Anaïs was adopted as an infant from South Korea and raised as an only child in Paris and Brussels. She knew nothing about her biological mother — only that her adoption papers listed her as a single live birth. That's why, Anaïs says, "I didn't think she could be my twin. But the resemblance was so strong that I thought she might be related to me to a lesser degree — like my cousin or something."

What are the chances you find someone adopted from the same country, same town, who was born on the same day? - Anaïs Bordier


Meanwhile, her friends poked around the Web and found the same young woman — a 25-year-old actress named Samantha Futerman — in an online trailer for a movie called "21 & Over." This time, Anaïs investigated.

"I found her date of birth," she says. "What are the chances you find someone adopted from the same country, same town, who was born on the same day?"

She thought of "The Parent Trap," starring Lindsay Lohan as a tweenage girl who discovers her long-lost identical twin.

"So this time, I had no fear," Anaïs says. "I thought we could be twins, and twins have a very strong bond. So I made the sudden decision to message her."

It was Feb. 21, 2013. She sent Samantha a friend request on Facebook that read, in part:

"I stalked you a bit and found out you were born on the 19th of November 1987 . . . and discovered you were adopted too. So . . . I don't want to be too Lindsay Lohan, well . . . but . . . how to put it . . . I was wondering where you were born?"

And then, Anaïs waited.

Many miles between them, Sam, left, and Anais, right, even shared the same haircut.Photo: Kickstarter

In their new book, "Separated @ Birth: A True Love Story of Twin Sisters Reunited" (G.P. Putnam's Sons), Anaïs and Sam tell their stories, in alternating chapters, of life apart and, now, together. It has been only 18 months since they've been in contact, and when Sam got Anaïs' first message, she was unmoored.

"I felt shock and awe," Sam says. "When I saw where she was born and adopted out of . . . I think I was just taking it all in."

Sam couldn't bring herself to respond immediately, but in her bones, she already knew.

"That entire day, I'd just keep randomly turning to my friends, saying, 'I have a twin! I have a twin!' "

It took Sam two or three days to reply. Anaïs was going crazy.

"It was extremely stressful," she says.

Seeing Anaïs on Skype was unreal… She had my laugh, my freckles, and that profile… I stopped for a second and freaked out inside. - Sam Futerman


Sam was still absorbing the possibility that this was her twin and was so emotionally overwhelmed that she shut down. "I held off for a little bit," she says. Her parents, who raised Sam in Verona, NJ, were skeptical. Football player Manti Te'o was all over the news, caught in a scandal over whether he knew his online girlfriend had been a hoax all along. Her father worried Sam might be a similar target of so-called "catfishing."

Eventually, Sam's curiosity won out, and on Feb. 26, they had their first Skype session: Anaïs in London, where she was studying fashion design at Central St. Martins, and Sam in LA, where she was working as a waitress/actress.

"Seeing Anaïs on Skype was unreal," Sam writes. "I had never seen anyone who looked even remotely like me, let alone my exact mirror reflection. She had my laugh, my freckles, and that profile. When she turned to the side during that first Skype session, I was blown away. I stopped for a second and freaked out inside."


For Anaïs, that Skype session was all the proof she needed — especially when they compared baby pictures: They had the same expressions. They learned that throughout their girlhoods, they had had the same series of haircuts in the same order. They both hate cooked vegetables, carrots especially. They both have the same manner of speaking, trailing off mid-sentence. They both brush their teeth multiple times a day, have a fear of being grazed by a shower curtain, freely admit to Napoleon complexes, and require 10 hours of sleep a night, plus daily naps.

They were supposed to talk for 90 minutes and wound up going for three hours.

"I wanted to see her in person right away," Sam says.

"I wanted to get on a plane immediately," Anaïs says. They took a DNA test, only to prove to ­others what they already knew.

It would be two months before they were in the same room. Both sets of parents were happy for the girls, but livid that the adoption agency in Seoul had lied, had separated the girls, had robbed them of 25 years they could have had together.

"My parents were angry, for us and for themselves," Anaïs says. "They would have been so happy — both our parents — to raise twins at the same time."

The twins outside of Holt International Childrens Services.

Not much is known about adoption practices in South Korea in the '80s, but single mothers there face a stigma and will disappear for months to "birth houses," where they hide until they give up their babies for adoption.

Sam immediately got in touch with the agency in New York that brokered her adoption. While she and Anaïs waited for the results of their DNA test, she learned that the equivalent of her birth mother's Social Security number also appeared on Anaïs' papers, and that they had both been born at the same clinic in the city of Busan. The clinic had long since closed, and the doctor who delivered them had passed away.

A caseworker contacted the woman listed as the biological mother. She denied ever having given birth to them.

Anaïs doesn't think about that too much. "I put it aside," she says. "I wasn't disappointed, but I wasn't relieved, either. I have no idea who she is or what she does. I put it aside, and we'll see what happens in the future. Maybe she'll contact us. Maybe she never will."

Sam, however, thinks about her birth mother often. "It's a bit overwhelming to hear that someone you think you might love wouldn't be reciprocating," she says. "I also feel an immense sadness for her. That she would feel so much guilt or sadness or pain that she would have to deny us . . . My sister and I do love our birth mother. She gave us life."


On May 13, 2013, Sam flew to London to meet her twin sister. She had spent the last two months getting funding together for a documentary about their separation and reunion, and she had timed her visit to Anaïs' graduating fashion show. She drove to Anaïs' flat in Shoreditch, the documentary crew, family and friends all acting as buffers.

When she opened the door and entered the room, the two girls stood apart, silent, staring at each other. Someone yelled at them to hug, but neither girl could move.

"It was very strange," Anaïs says. "Physically, very strange. I would describe it as opposing magnets attracting each other. It's like seeing a mirror that doesn't react the way it should."

She crossed the room and poked Sam in the forehead. Anaïs says she felt like she was in a sci-fi movie or an alternate reality, and literally thought that if they hugged, "an explosion might happen. I felt like we were in two parallel rooms and we shouldn't be standing in the same place. I needed to make physical contact with her, to check that I wasn't dreaming. And when I poked her, I knew that she was real."

It was very strange… It's like seeing a mirror that doesn't react the way it should. - Anais


Sam burst into laughter; she wasn't that surprised. In the weeks since she and Anaïs made contact, she had been working with Dr. Nancy Segal, director of the Twin Studies Center at California State University-Fullerton. "I've seen videos of other long-lost twins reunited," she says, and poking is commonplace. "It's a safe distance to be away from someone but confirm that they're real."

After the reunion, the entire group went out to lunch, then left Anaïs and Sam alone. They went back to the Shoreditch flat to take a nap, sleeping side by side. "Maybe this was our way of resuming our story where it started — twins in the womb," Sam writes. "We were resuming our life together, waking up with no fear of ever being separated again."

That night, they got the results of their DNA test, and to no one's surprise, they were, in fact, identical twins. It was Dr. Segal who delivered the news, and she was uniquely qualified to help the girls navigate this new reality: She had been a lead researcher in a 20-year study called the "University of Minnesota Study of Twins Reared Apart." One hundred and thirty sets of such twins had participated, and one of the most groundbreaking findings was the dominance of nature over nuture when it comes to intelligence, athleticism, vices, partner preferences — even hair length.

Anaïs and Sam have each undergone testing by Segal, and even they were stunned by their similarities. "It tells you a lot about human nature," Sam says. "I thought everything is nuture, but a lot of it is nature. All of our cognitive abilities are exactly the same — when you look at the data, they are parallel."

In the months after their reunion, Sam and Anaïs have learned of two other sets of twins born in South Korea, separated at birth and reunited later in life. They also met a third pair of South Korean-born siblings who not only found each other but discovered that they are actually triplets, and that their birth parents kept their lost sibling.

And one month after Sam found Anaïs, she got an e-mail from her friend Dan, also a South Korean adoptee. He had just begun his own birth search a few weeks before. "I'm a twin, too," he wrote. "I'm not even f- -king kidding."

Anaïs and Sam both hope their story may help other long-lost siblings find each other. Along with "Glee" star Jenna Ushkowitz — herself adopted from South Korea at age 3 and raised in East Meadow, LI — Sam has co-founded Kindred, an organization that aims to give financial and emotional resources to adoptees and orphans worldwide. Their documentary will make the festival rounds in the next few months, and this week they'll see each other for just the eighth time ever, in New York.

They talk all day, every day about the important and the mundane. A typical text from Anaïs, says Sam: "I want to drink my tea, but I can't because it's too hot."

Today, Anaïs lives in Paris and Sam in LA, but they hope soon, somehow, to live in the same city.

"All I want from my sister is to spend time with her, to call her after work and say, 'Hey, want to get dinner?' and to see her weird habits," says Anaïs. "We are starting our life and going in the same direction. Ours is a love story, but it's a family love story."


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15 stylish jackets and capes to spice up your wardrobe

It's a wrap!

Pair a sleek robe coat with a floppy hat for an updated take on swingin' '70s style.

The ride stuff

Keep engines roaring with a tough but-feminine motorcycle jacket, like this burgundy suede number.

LEFT: Wool-blend moto jacket, $268 at armaniexchange.com
MIDDLE: Rebecca Minkoff jacket, $598 at bloomingdales.com; Top, $129 at samedelman.com; Skirt, $595 at Haute Hippie, 9 Prince St.; Hanes Silk Reflections tights, $13 at hanes.com; Shoes, $140 at circusbysamedelman.com; Earrings, $30 at robertachiarella.com; Cuff, $168 at the2bandits.com
RIGHT: Leather "Sheena" jacket, $660 at reiss.com

Style crusader

Fly around town in high fashion with a chic cape.

In the throw

Make a statement with a bold blanket coat.

LEFT: Étoile Isabel Marant wool blend "Gabrie" coat, $530 at net-a-porter.com
MIDDLE: Wool-blend coat, $156 at topshop.com; Haute Hippie top, $185 at Bergdorf Goodman, 754 Fifth Ave.; Pants, $150 at ayr.com; Hat, $195 at prestonandolivia.com; Necklace, $194, bracelet, $358, and ring, $116, all at workhorsejewelry.com
RIGHT:Theory wool-blend midlength coat, $795 at intermixonline.com

A total blast

Bomber jackets — in surprising patterns, colors and fabrics — are the season's good-time go-to.


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North and South Korea exchange gunfire along border

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korean and South Korean troops exchanged fire Sunday along their heavily fortified border in the second such shooting in less than 10 days, South Korean officials said.

South Korean soldiers broadcast warnings and fired warning shots at about 10 North Korean soldiers who were approaching the military demarcation line inside the Demilitarized Zone that bisects the Korean Peninsula, according to a statement from South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Two shots believed to have been fired by North Korean soldiers were found at a South Korean guard post, and South Korean soldiers fired toward the North, the statement said.

South Korean defense officials said the North Korean soldiers returned to the North after the shooting lasted for about 10 minutes. There were no reports of casualties.

On Oct. 10, the two Koreas also traded gunfire along the border after South Korean activists floated balloons carrying anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets toward the North. There were no reports of casualties from that incident either.

North Korea has repeatedly demanded South Korea ban activists from sending leaflets, which often urges North Korean citizens to rise up against leader Kim Jong Un. South Korea has refused, saying activists are exercising freedom of speech.

South Korean army soldiers stand guard at a military check point near the border with North Korea on Sept. 17.Photo: AP

North Korea has warned it would take unspecified stronger measures if leafleting continues. South Korean activists said they won't yield to the North's threats and vowed to float more leaflets across the border. One activists' group said it will send about 50,000 leaflets on Oct. 25.

The latest fire exchanges serve as a reminder of long-running tensions between the Koreas despite earlier hopes of easing animosities after a group of top North Korean officials made a rare e visit to South Korea early this month and agreed to resume senior-level talks.

Only days after the North Koreans' visit, navy ships of the two Koreas also traded gunfire near their disputed western sea border, the scene of several bloody maritime skirmishes in recent years. Military generals from the sides met at a border village last week in their first military talks in more than three years to discuss how to ease tensions, but the meeting ended with no agreement including when to meet again.

The Korean Peninsula remains in a technical state of war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. About 28,500 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea to help deter potential aggression from North Korea.


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What To Stream With Your Sisters

October 19, 2014 // 9:00am

Sister: it's a word that evokes siblings, best friends, and the women (and men) who will be with you through thick and thin. You can not only rely on your sisters, but you can depend on them to right you when you're wrong, comfort you when you're down, and kick anyone's butt who messes with you.

We all need a heaping dose of sisterhood in our life. You could be reuniting with your family, hanging out with your best buds, or feeling nostalgic for a time when you were home, feeling safe and warm. Either way, the ten titles on this list celebrate life, fun, and the power of having family always by your side.

1

'Sense and Sensibility' (1995)

Elinor (Emma Thompson) and Marianne Dashwood (Kate Winslet) are two Regency-era beauties whose lives are turned upside down when their kind father dies and they are slighted out of his estate by their older half brother. However, things go from bad to interesting when fate flings them in the path of three different bachelors — who are each hiding secrets. Thompson won the Academy Award for the screenplay and it's the film that introduced Ang Lee to American audiences. 

Where To Stream Sense and Sensibility.   

2

'The Hunger Games'

Never forget that Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) didn't become a child-killing superhero hell bent on taking down a totalitarian regime because she was bored one day. She only ever became YA's most conflicted heroine because she was trying to protect her little sister. For Katniss, it was never about being Team Gale or Team Peeta. It was Team Prim all the way. 

Where To Stream The Hunger Games

3

'The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants'

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants has become a modern classic about the power of female friendship to form extraordinary and almost magical bonds. Fun fact: the film's four leads (Alexis Bledel, America Ferrera, Blake Lively, and Amber Tamblyn) are all still besties in real life. 

Where To Stream The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

4

'Buffy The Vampire Slayer'

Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) was a heroine ahead of her time. She faced down vampires, demons, and the turmoil of being too rad. She also had to cope with all the drama of being a teen girl: boy drama, high school drama, and really weird drama with her little sister. 

Where To Stream Buffy The Vampire Slayer

5

'Gilmore Girls'

Gilmore Girls is the witty and winsome story of a mother and daughter growing up together in a perfectly quirky New England town. Sure, they aren't sisters, but Lorelai and Rory Gilmore are closer than most siblings are. 

Where To Stream Gilmore Girls.  

6

'Transparent'

If you and your siblings have already watched everything under the sun together, you really ought to get into Amazon's breathtaking new series, Transparent. It's not only one of the best new shows of 2014, but you'll have your heart broken and then put back together again by the beautiful trials and tribulations of the Pfefferman clan.

Where To Stream Transparent. 

7

'Grease'

This classic movie musical shouldn't just send you back in time to the 1950s, it should also remind you what it was like having sing-along sleepovers with your sisters as a tween. 

Where To Stream Grease.  

8

'Wives And Daughters'

Don't let the title to this highly-addictive BBC miniseries fool you. This glorious Elizabeth Gaskell adaptation is about wives and daughters, but it's mainly about the bond forged between two unlikely stepsisters. This miniseries also features a very young Rosamund Pike. Let's just say the Gone Girl star comes across very differently here. 

Where To Stream Wives and Daughters.  

9

'Keeping Up With The Kardashians'

Over the years, we've watched the Kardashians cope with scandals, sex tapes, and terrible divorces. Through it all there have been two constants. One is Kris' undying ambition and the other is how much those kids love each other. It's kind of sweet, actually.

Where To Stream Keeping Up With The Kardashians.

10

'Little Women' (1994)

Little Women is hand's down the best movie about sisters ever made. Of course, I say that as a woman who has three much older sisters, who was raised by an eccentric and independent mother, and who moved to New York City to become a writer. So, I'm biased. But it is! It's got exquisite performances from Susan Sarandon, Winona Ryder, Claire Danes, and Christian Bale, a gorgeous score, and the most sumptuous New England scenery ever caught on film. IT'S PERFECT.

Where To Stream Little Women

Like what you see? Follow Decider on Facebook and Twitter to join the conversation, and sign up for our email newsletters to be the first to know about streaming movies and TV news!


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Chaos as riot cops use tear gas to break up pumpkin festival

New Hampshire cops in riot gear fired tear gas into crowds of bottle-throwing revelers Saturday at an annual pumpkin festival that degenerated into chaos.

At least 30 people were injured in the mayhem that unfolded Saturday afternoon and continued into early Sunday morning, in southern New Hampshire city of Keene, about 100 miles east of Albany.

The Keene Pumpkin Festival is an annual event, celebrating the seasonal gourd. Last year's event set a world record with 30,581 carved and lighted jack-o-lanterns in one place, according to the Boston Globe.

Most of the injuries came from flying bottles and cans and cuts from broken glass

"Basically, we had an out-of-control event," Keene fire chief Mark Howard told the Manchester Union-Leader.

Students and Keene State College and out-of-town visitors were involved in rioting, prompting school president Anne Huot to promise swift punishment against any hooligans from her campus.

"We are mindful that Keene State students played a part in this behavior and we intend to hold those individuals accountable for their actions," she said.

"We deplore the actions of those whose only purpose was to cause mayhem. And we are grateful for the swift response of law enforcement and first responders who worked to minimize injuries and damage.

Julie Conlon, a 23-year-old Keene State alum, said she's never seen the pumpkin festival break into violence.

"Pumpkinfest has always been fun," said Conlon told the Globe. "Yeah, kids drink excessively, but it's never been out of control. This year I watched thousands of kids pile into a backyard and kind of go crazy."

Revelers tore out street signs and set things on fire and even overturned a car before SWAT and canine units were forced to respond.

"I watched cops roll in, I watched the fire department roll in, I watched state troopers roll in with their batons out, ready to take on the crowd," said Conlon. "It was crazy."


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Stepping on the gas stimulus

Put this in the category of "be careful what you wish for" — certainly on this, the 27th anniversary of the 1987 stock market crash.

Oil, and with it, the price of gasoline, has plummeted about 10 percent over the past 10 days. According to AAA, the average price of a gallon of gas is hovering just above $3.15 a gallon, with prices below $3 in many parts of the nation.

Here in New York City, prices are at levels not seen since 2011.

All this, as much of the Middle East is literally in flames.

Citigroup put out a report on Friday that estimates the drop in gas prices to multiyear lows will add $1.1 trillion to the US economy — a "stimulus package" on steroids that would best the TARP bailout of October 2008.

Obviously, the drop in gas prices is great for drivers and typically a boon for the US retail economy. The less money you spend on gas, the more you can spend on other items.

But not so fast.

It's important to remember that oil prices reached their peak on July 11, 2008, when they topped $147 dollars a barrel. In many parts of the country back then, gasoline prices were verging on $5 a gallon. Unfortunately, when they crashed, so did the rest of the economy.

Don't just take my word for it. Take Walmart's announcement on Friday. While the brainiacs at Citigroup say the huge drop in oil prices is a good omen, the folks in Arkansas who run the world's biggest retailer say things are not looking so hunky-dory.

Indeed, the huge global seller cut its sales range for next year to 2 percent to 3 percent, way down from the 3 percent to 5 percent rate originally forecast. Ten years ago, Walmart would tell you that every small decline in gas prices juiced its sales. Not today.

Yes, Americans are happy gas prices are down, but that's not enough to counter the malaise they are feeling in other parts of their wallets. It is also a bad forward indicator of economic strength in 2015.


18.18 | 0 komentar | Read More

Netflix stock goes on wild ride with buyout rumors

Red is the new black at Netflix, which went on a wild ride this week, losing around a quarter of its market cap and all of its 2014 gains on Thursday.

The stock closed down again on Friday, falling 1.3 percent, to $357.09, giving it a market cap of $21.6 billion.

As entertainment analysts wince at the sharp tumble, there are two schools of thought on this Wall Street darling of stocks.

The bear case: Netflix falls lower as an increasing number of TV programmers roll out their own à la carte streaming services.

The bull case: Netflix owns the Internet-on-TV space. It will retain its sizable lead and can flip any number of switches (including advertiser-funded originals, if it wants to). Netflix is in 37 million US homes and 26 million homes outside the US.

Dallas Mavericks' owner, billionaire Mark Cuban, is in the bull camp, and tweeted Friday, "I'm buying NFLX stock. At half of YHOO, 10B < Twitter and small pct of major media companies, someone will try to buy them."

Perhaps Cuban is trying to pump up the stock, but the tweet got Netflix watchers spinning about who might step in.

Richard Tullo, an Albert Fried & Co. analyst, no longer covers the stock, but quipped to us, "The price needs to go lower. Who would be stupid enough to buy it? Maybe Yahoo!? Maybe John Malone buys it at $180." He points out that any buyer would have to take on Netflix's $8.9 billion in content costs.


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Late Show cue-card man fired after argument, assault on writer

Now this was a stupid ­human trick!

Tony Mendez had one of the best jobs in all of show business — cue-card guy for the "Late Show with ­David Letterman" — but he saw his plum gig vanish last week after losing his cool and assaulting Bill Scheft, a staff writer for the gap-toothed funnyman.

"I know I shouldn't have put my hands on him," Mendez, 69, confessed to The Post. "But this has been coming for a long time."

The altercation between on-air favorite Mendez and 15-time Emmy nominee Scheft erupted on Oct. 9 before the show's Thursday taping, but it was triggered by a verbal dustup the day before in Letterman's dressing room, Mendez said.

"[Scheft] encroaches on my work. He tells me what to do, and I have to say, 'I know what I'm doing.' And a lot of time when I am making changes [to the cards], he'll stand there looking over my shoulder, and he'll say something like, 'Put that on top,' because he got an idea.

"Bill was always undermining me — making himself out as Dave's No. 1," Mendez said. "Trying to pretend that I wasn't even in the room . . . little passive-aggressive things.

"As Dave is giving me a change, Bill will start yelling the same change — but his own version — because he'll think it's funnier. And I have to say, 'One at a time, I can't hear anybody!' "

Tony Mendez was often seen on the Late Show holding his cue cards for Letterman.

On Wednesday, Oct. 8, the three were rehearsing in Letterman's backstage digs at the Ed Sullivan Theater when Mendez said he reacted to one of Scheft's interruptions, telling him, "I know what I'm doing. Get off my back."

But suddenly Letterman growled, "Tony, your sour disposition isn't helping," Mendez ­recalled.

" 'You're the one who has the sour disposition, mothf–ker,' '' Mendez snapped back.

Mendez admitted he was "pissed off," but said he and Letterman often traded off-color barbs. "That's how we talk," Mendez said. "We tell each other 'F–k you' and 'Hey a–hole.'

"He doesn't do that with anybody — but he feels comfortable with me. That brings a bit of normalcy — because everyone else is like, 'Yes, yes, Mr. Letterman. If you want something impossible, yes, we'll do it, Mr. Letterman.' "

Still, Mendez said he was hurt by the exchange with his idol and boss of 21 years.

"That night I wanted to tell Dave how much that hurt my feelings," Mendez said. "And then I realized that this is what Bill was doing. He was trying to create a wedge between us so Dave would think I was an a–hole."

Mendez said he stewed all night and the next morning, when he got to work, he was literally at Scheft's throat.

"I just grabbed him by the shirt," Mendez said. "He was very surprised. He didn't say a word. He was cowering, his eyes were real big, he probably peed a little bit on his pants."

I just grabbed him by the shirt… He was cowering, his eyes were real big, he probably peed a little bit on his pants. - Tony Mendez


Mendez, 5-foot-7 but with a scrappy build, threw the taller, bespectacled, 57-year-old Scheft against a wall, two CBS sources said. "I'm the first one to say I should have never put my hands on him, but I never hit him. I just grabbed him and got my face in his face," Mendez said.

Mendez was immediately booted from the theater.

On Monday, he was told by "Late Show" executive producer Rob Burnett that he was "officially terminated."

Sources said the show generously offered to pay Mendez's salary and health insurance until Letterman's run on the show ends, which could come in May.

"Dave had nothing to do with this at all," Mendez said Friday. "He was oblivious to my problem with Bill Scheft. Even Bill was probably oblivious — he does things that he really doesn't know he's doing because he's probably too wrapped up in himself, I guess.

"But now that CBS is involved, they probably said to Dave and other people, 'Because of what he did, he can't be there. Because we're CBS and have zero tolerance for that kind of stuff.' "

Mendez added that Letterman is often kept in the dark, or content to be there.

"They have [Dave] a little isolated from everything. And he sometimes doesn't want to hear it," Mendez said. "The people who look down on us are the producers — people who are getting the big bucks and are in positions of power."

Letterman was not involved in the fight with Mendez. The comedian is set to retire next year.Photo: Jeffrey R. Staab/CBS

Scheft, a Harvard graduate originally from Boston, did not respond to a request for comment.

Sources said the writer, who didn't show up to work until Friday, has been telling colleagues he now has post traumatic stress disorder.

Mendez is a celebrity in his own right, routinely featured on the "Late Show" and is host of his own YouTube comedy show.

He joined the legendary TV host in 1993, when Letterman was at NBC, after cue-card gigs at "Saturday Night Live" and "The Hollywood Palace."

The Cuban-born Mendez arrived in Los Angeles in 1961. He became a classically trained ballet dancer and eventually performed in Broadway shows such as "Irene" and "Pippin."

Mendez had only praise for Letterman.

"Dave has never let me down," he said. "He is the best, the most generous boss I have ever had. Dave would never do anything to harm me."

Dave has never let me down… He is the best, the most generous boss I have ever had. - Tony Mendez


And his job is not just about holding cards— it's about making sure the most important part of the show runs without a hitch, he said. "When he goes on stage, sometimes he'll forget what order they were in, sometimes he doesn't know that there's a new joke in there," Mendez said.

"I'm on the set of the stage, checking the cards to make sure they are not out of order . . . because things can get crazy.

"If I realize one of the jokes needs the setup for the punch line because one of the jokes before it got cut, I have to write something really fast there. Dave doesn't like to repeat the setup."

And Mendez would often be in on the jokes, a recurring character — playing himself — in comedy skits, or bantering with Letterman during the monologue.

Now that CBS has cued the fat lady on his "Late Show" career, Mendez said, "I don't regret things in life. You do some things, and then you learn from them."


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Sayreville School District suspends football coaches: report

In the latest twist in the Sayreville High School football case, the football coaches who teach in the district have been suspended, according to NJ Advance Media.

A source told the outlet the coaches were not present in school Friday, but that it was not clear when the suspensions began. Five tenured teachers are suspended with pay, including Sayreville head coach George Najjar.

The suspensions are paid because New Jersey state law prohibits school districts employees from being suspended without pay unless they have been indicted on criminal charges.

The decision to suspend the coaches is the latest development in the alleged hazing scandal, which resulted in charges being filed against seven Sayreville football players last weekend. All seven players have been suspended from school.

The charges — which stem from a string of sexual hazing incidents between Sept. 19-29 — include aggravated sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual contact, conspiracy to commit aggravated criminal sexual conduct, criminal restraint, and hazing for engaging in an act of sexual penetration upon one of the juvenile victims.

The arrests came four days after Sayreville superintendent Richard Labbe cancelled the school's season.

Najjar did not return a call from NJ Advance Media seeking comment, while Labbe and school board president Kevin Ciak did not return messages that sought to confirm the suspension.

Last Sunday, Labbe said he has been instructed not to talk to Najjar or his coaching staff by the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office.

However, he said Saturday he did not believe the coaching staff had any knowledge of the alleged hazing.

"I think that if the coaches would have known what was going on or even participated, they would have been criminally suspended," he told NJ Advance Media.


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Sharpton calls on feds to indict Ferguson cop for shooting death

A decision on whether a Missouri grand jury will criminally charge the police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teen in Ferguson is a month away — but the Rev. Al Sharpton is already planning to protest.

"If that grand jury comes back with no indictment, then we are headed to Washington, and we are going to have a national 'hands up' rally around the Justice Department like you have never seen before," he said at his weekly National Action Network meeting in Harlem.

The county prosecutor is weighing criminal charges for cop Darren Wilson, who told feds that he feared for his life when he shot Michael Brown, 18, and that the teen had punched him, according a report, which also said federal civil-rights charges against the cop were unlikely due to lack of evidence.

Sharpton plans to return to Ferguson for four days at the end of the month.


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