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Tom Cruise Hires New Flack

Tom Cruise has replaced his sister with a Hollywood insider as chief handler of his publicity, a trade publication reported.

The 43-year-old actor hired veteran publicist Paul Bloch, who is also co-chairman of the public relations firm Rogers & Cowan, according to the Daily Variety trade paper. Bloch also will oversee publicity for the actor's production company Cruise-Wagner Productions.

Bloch replaces Cruise's sister, Lee Anne DeVette, who took over as his publicist in March 2004 after he left longtime representative Pat Kingsley.

"Lee Anne has done a wonderful job on behalf of myself and Cruise-Wagner Productions over the last few years," Cruise said in a statement. "But she has always expressed a desire to oversee and expand the day-to-day activities of my charitable endeavors. With our current plans to increase those endeavors, and Cruise-Wagner's increased production slate of film and television projects, this seemed the appropriate time to make that segue and bring Rogers and Cowan on board to handle mine and the company's entertainment-related publicity needs."

Cruise could use some public relations help.

He generated some negative publicity earlier this year for criticizing actress Brooke Shields for taking anti-depression drugs and berating "Today" TV talk show host Matt Lauer for suggesting that psychiatric treatment might help some patients.

He also created a sensation on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," when he got down on his knees and repeatedly jumped up on the talk-show host's couch, saying his love for actress Katie Holmes was "beyond cool."

Shields called Cruise's remarks "a disservice to mothers everywhere" in an op-ed piece in The New York Times.

"His whole behavior is so shocking," veteran actress Lauren Bacall told Time magazine this summer. "It's inappropriate and vulgar and absolutely unacceptable to use your private life to sell anything commercially, but I think it's kind of a sickness."

But Cruise told CBS News Early Show contributor Jess Cagle the negative comments don't matter.

"I don't waste my time worrying about it, even thinking about it. It doesn't matter," Cruise said.

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