LAST CALL: Celebs bare wounds to beat hacks at their own game

The lifeblood of such journals as the National Enquirer and the Star are the long-lens shots of celebrities scurrying into hospitals and rehab. So good for Melanie Griffith and Russell Crowe, then, for saving the hacks the work.

The lifeblood of such journals as the National Enquirer and the Star are the long-lens shots of celebrities scurrying into hospitals and rehab. So good for Melanie Griffith and Russell Crowe, then, for saving the hacks the work.

The lifeblood of such journals as the National Enquirer and the Star are the long-lens shots of celebrities scurrying into hospitals and rehab. So good for Melanie Griffith and Russell Crowe, then, for saving the hacks the work.

The two celebs have delivered the goods on their health problems straight to the fans, via their official Web sites.

Russellcrowe.com, which is still under construction, features a section titled 'The Inside Story.' Fans can view pictures of the Gladiator god's recent shoulder surgery, and even send the photos as an e-card to similarly obsessed acquaintances.

Griffith is offering a diary of her journey through rehab on her sugary site, Melanieonline.com. She is in treatment to 'step down' from the painkillers she has taken for a neck injury.

The most recent entry, dated November 22, includes a bunch of medical jargon to explain the nature of addiction. Who knew Griffith was capable of throwing around such terms as: 'The molecular mechanism involves a brain hormone called corticotropin releasing factor'?

Both actors' publicist Robin Baum of Huvane Baum Halls, was not available to comment.

But Irving Rein, author of the book High Visibility, says that while medical disclosure is expected of public servants - as seen by Dick Cheney's heart attack - stars may be overestimating the significance of their health on the population.

'Celebrities putting it on the Internet implies that they are in the same league as politicians,' he says. 'That they are really important.'

Okay, Dick, we think it's time you set up dickcheney.com to check out your valves.



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