Jewish World Review June 16, 2003 / 16 Sivan, 5763
Missing dog, ransom demand, Hollywood ending
http://www.jewishworldreview.com | WASHINGTON It has been 3 and a half years since Jackson -- a 3-year-old Australian shepherd co-owned by hit film director Doug Liman and his longtime girlfriend, D.C. public school teacher Kathryn Marsh -- disappeared from a back yard in Washington.
This week Liman told us that Jackson was recovered the night of June 5 -- after a series of plot twists worthy of a three-hankie tear-jerker. The saga involved an $8,000 ransom demand from an alleged dognapper and a stakeout in a Safeway parking lot by members of the D.C. Police Special Investigations Unit. It ended in a dog park where Marsh had an emotional reunion with the now 7-year-old Jackson.
When Jackson vanished in February 2000, Liman was preparing to direct "The Bourne Identity." He offered a $10,000 reward -- plus a part in one of his films -- for Jackson's safe return. But Jackson didn't turn up, and Liman and Marsh's periodic inspections of animal shelters and body bags containing roadkill were emotionally devastating.
"But I never gave up hope," Liman told us from the set of "The O.C.," a Fox Television series he's directing in Los Angeles while prepping his next project, "Mr. and Mrs. Smith," a screwball comedy starring Brad Pitt and Nicole Kidman. "And I never replaced Jackson with another dog."
On June 3, Marsh received a call from a man claiming to represent the people who had stolen Jackson. The dog would be returned, the caller said, for $10,000. In a subsequent call, the ransom demand was lowered to $8,000.
Liman got in touch with Washington law enforcement authorities and wired the money for the "drop." He recruited his friend Peter Donen, the special effects supervisor of a movie being filmed in Baltimore, to accompany Marsh to the Safeway. Four plainclothes cops were waiting.
As instructed, Marsh called the cell phone of the alleged dognapper. "Your goons are all over the parking lot!" he shouted at her, refusing to show himself. "Do you want the money or not?" she replied.
Greed got the better of him and he stepped into view. Marsh, carrying a stack of $20 bills, got out of her Volkswagen Jetta and approached. But the man didn't have Jackson and, suspecting the presence of the police, he refused to take the cash. The cops moved in, and under questioning the man revealed Jackson's location. The group sped to the dog park. At the approach of Marsh's familiar Jetta, the dog jumped up and down excitedly. "Jackson seems fine physically, but scarred emotionally," Liman said.
The director planned his own reunion this weekend in New York. As for his future with Marsh, he agreed that there is an obvious Hollywood ending. "Kathryn and I have been through a lot together, and there's no question that this has been a positive development in our relationship."
ROGAN'S TRADEMARK HUMOR
Undersecretary of Commerce James Rogan, head of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, is giving bureaucrats fits with his antic sense of humor.
"Many of us are concerned about him making jokes about everything," an aggrieved trademark employee e-mailed us about Rogan's regular Director's Online Chat.
The former bartender and House Republican impeachment manager -- who in April went to lunch with a patent examiner wearing a pig suit -- began his June 5 chat: "Be forewarned, all ye who are faint of heart, overly sensitive or politically hyper-correct: you are entering The Rogan Zone."
Among the exchanges:
Question: "How do you handle the stress of being in the public eye and leader of such a highly visible organization?"
Rogan: "It's easy. I'm a raving alcoholic." He added: "I didn't write that last answer. It's this damned software."
Rogan told us: "My staff wants me to discontinue these chats, but I won't because they have a cult following."
THIS JUST IN . . .
How about putting them in a tourism commercial? President Bush's 21-year-old daughters, Jenna and Barbara, didn't used to like spending time in Washington. But now they're feeling very much at home. The twins, along with an unnamed young man who seems to be Jenna's boyfriend, were spotted having dinner Wednesday night at Perry's, a funky restaurant near downtown. We hear that the threesome took barely an hour to power down seared scallops, black bass, cured beef salad, sushi and desserts of cherry crisp and chocolate cake -- plus two bottles of Sauvignon Blanc. Celebrity Tip Challenge-wise, they left a respectable $30 extra on a $154 tab.
06/12/03: Giving both parties the needle