ASK KEN BECK --
Dear Ken: What is comedic actor Eddie Murphy up to these days?
Murphy, 49, recently signed to star opposite Ben Stiller in the movie “Tower Heist.” According to “Entertainment Weekly,” the plot has Stiller as the overworked manager of a Manhattan luxury high-rise partnering with his operation and maintenance workers to stage a heist of its penthouse tenant, a Wall Street capitalist, played by Alan Alda, who defrauded the staff of their pensions. Murphy was most recently the voice of the donkey in “Shrek Forever After,” and has completed filming “A Thousand Words,” about a man who discovers he only has 1,000 words left to speak before he dies. It’s set for release in early 2011.
Dear Ken: What has happened to actor Alan Autry, who played Bubba on the TV series “In the Heat of the Night”? Was he the son of cowboy star Gene Autry?
Autry, 58, is no relation to the late Gene Autry. A former NFL quarterback, Alan played Capt. Bubba Skinner on “Heat of the Night” from 1988 to 1995. From 2001 through 2008 he served two four-year terms as mayor of Fresno, Calif. For the past two years he has been the host of a radio news talk show in Fresno.
Dear Ken: How old is Donna Douglas, who was Elly May Clampett on “The Beverly Hillbillies”? Did she make any movies?
Born Dorothy Smith, Douglas, 77, grew up in Baton Rouge, La. She starred opposite Elvis Presley in the 1966 movie “Frankie and Johnny.” Among her other films have been “Lover Come Back,” “Career” and an uncredited dancing role in “Li’l Abner.” She continues to make public appearances and is excited that in December the Elly May Clampett Barbie doll will hit store shelves. Check out her web site at www.donnadouglas.tv.
Dear Ken: Was the Hershey Milk Chocolate Bar named after the town in Pennsylvania or was the town named after the chocolate bar?
The Hershey Chocolate Company was started by candy businessman Milton S. Hershey, and he concocted the Hershey Almond Bar and the Hershey Milk Chocolate Bar in 1894 in Lancaster, Pa. In 1900, he bought some farmland in Derry Township, Pa., where he was born, and built a factory in the midst of cornfields. Hershey planned a town, which grew up around the candy factory that opened in 1904. A contest was held to name the town, and the winning name was Hersheykoko (get it? Hershey cocoa?), however the U.S. Post Office said the name was too commercial, thus the Chocolate Man decided to simplify it to Hershey, Pa.
If you have a trivia question about actors, singers, movies, TV shows or pop culture, e-mail your query to Ken Beck at