'Earth' thesp to be honored as comedy star of year

Chris Rock, currently seen in Paramount’s box office hit “Down to Earth,” will be honored as comedy star of the year at ShoWest 2001 in an awards gala March 8 in Las Vegas.

“We are proud to recognize one of the most exciting and talked-about talents in Hollywood,” said Robert Sunshine, chairman of trade show organizer Sunshine Group Worldwide. “Chris is not only a fresh and brilliant comedic performer but also a talented writer and producer. He is poised to remain one of our generation’s strongest comedic voices.”

Rock made his film debut in 1987’s “Beverly Hills Cop II” opposite Eddie Murphy; other film credits include last year’s “Nurse Betty” and “Dogma” and 1998’s “Lethal Weapon 4” and “Dr. Dolittle.” His TV work has included the recent HBO special “Bigger & Blacker.”

Last year’s honor went to Drew Barrymore.

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