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It's Official: Ted Turner's A Star

CNN founder, yacht racer, restaurant owner and philanthropist Ted Turner now has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The cable television pioneer, who also founded a classic movies channel, was feted Wednesday mostly for his devotion to classic films by a group of veteran but still glamorous actresses who thanked Turner for keeping them in the public eye.

"I am deeply indebted to Ted Turner for making my golden years platinum," said Ann Rutherford, who appeared in more than 60 films, including "Gone With the Wind" and a series of "Hardy Boys" movies.

Turner founded his Turner Classic Movies cable network 10 years ago. The channel fed off the hundreds of movies in the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer library and other film libraries Turner bought over the years.

Rutherford praised Turner for running the classics "without breaking for commercials, without making those surgical cuts that idiots make. He has given a new life to so many, many people, who suddenly were getting fan mail."

Others who came to honor Turner included actresses Margaret O'Brien and Esther Williams, actor Jeff Daniels and Shirley Fonda, widow of Henry Fonda.

Turner was married to Fonda's daughter, Jane Fonda, for nearly a decade before the two divorced in 2001.

Turner seemed a bit taken aback by all the attention, although he did wink at the crowd a few times when applauded for his ownership of the Atlanta Braves baseball team and other accomplishments.

"I'm almost at a loss for words," the 65-year-old said. "This is a hoot for me.

"I didn't get here for my acting ability, even though I had a cameo appearance in both 'Gettysburg' and 'Gods and Generals.'"

Turner produced both films.

"I love show business," he said. "I've been kind of been squeezed out at Time Warner, out of a management role over the last few years."

Turner became vice chairman of Time Warner Inc. in 1996 after the media conglomerate bought Turner Broadcasting System. He left his post in May 2003, after Time Warner merged with America Online, although he still serves on the board of directors.

"I don't know why they did it," Turner said. "I think I was still performing pretty well. We were making our budgets and we made them billions. They threw it away with AOL, but that wasn't completely my fault. Anyway ... ."

Turner's star is in front of the historic Roosevelt Hotel, near those honoring Peter Fonda, Cybill Shepherd and Jack LaLanne.

By Gary Gentile

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