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From People Daily

Samantha Miller

Why did Dave have to play the meanie in the first place with the pint-size Paquin, who won an Oscar last year for her performance in The Piano? The host had offered guest Tom Gates, who had missed a $1 million half-court shot at the NCAA tournament, $10,000 to sink a free throw. After the Florida pilot offered up another brick, fellow guest Mary Tyler Moore gave the shot the old college try. She missed. Dave stepped up to the line. He missed. Finally, Paquin -- whose 6'5" father is reportedly a basketball coach in New Zealand -- schooled the old folks with a swish from ten feet.

"Dave got caught up in the whole thing," says show spokeswoman Rosemary Keenan, and handed over a hundred $100 bills to the radiant Paquin. (Sounds like an obvious "reaching" foul to us.) Late Show minions retrieved the cash from Paquin as soon as the show was over. "The producers told us it was all a joke," Paquin told the New York Daily News later that night, taking the easygoing playground-ball "no blood, no foul" attitude toward the episode. " Not one viewer has any idea I didn't get to keep the money, but I don't really care. We're not going to sue or anything."

But after the self-appointed refs -- the tabloids -- cried flagrant foul, Letterman's people decided to donate the money to the charity of Paquin's choice. She returned Tuesday night to pick up the check and a dozen roses.

PEOPLE Daily, April 5, 1996