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Warnings won't scare off the folks in Hollywood. "I live in a town completely devoted to vanity," says writer-actress Carrie Fisher, 45, who has been Botoxing for five years. "It irons out the wrinkles. You'd never know I was manic-depressive." Danny Bonaduce, 42, a child actor (The Partridge Family) turned co-host of The Other Half, was accompanying his wife to a Botox session when her doctor asked him if he wanted some. "Three days after I did it, Dick Clark said to me, 'You look 10 years younger!' With Botox, people can't really tell what you've done, just that you look better." (Pssst, Danny: now they know.)
But the trend has spread beyond the beauty-fanatic media world. Patty Reimerdes, 50, a divorced mother of two from Queens, N.Y., had her first Botox procedure last week and pronounces herself pleased. Reimerdes says she doesn't mind being 50: "I just don't want to look 50." And so what if your face freezes up a little? As Fisher notes, "It's good for poker."
Of course, if everyone gets Botoxed, the minority now using the drug will lose its competitive edge; no one will look younger or more serene than anyone else. But then, who cares if you're unhappy, as long as you're incapable of showing it?
--Reported by Leslie Berestein/Los Angeles, Wendy Cole/Chicago and Charla Krupp and Heather Won Tesoriero/New York