Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich eagerly became a Hollywood high-flyer, but his hair paid the price.
During filming Thursday of a promotional spot for the NBC reality series "I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!" Blagojevich was strapped into a harness and hoisted in front of a blank "green screen" to simulate a parachute jump.
Wind machines mussed his famous mop of hair for the spot filmed at the Los Angeles County Arboretum, standing in for the Costa Rican jungle.
"I'm a Celebrity" will be shot in Costa Rica, but according to a federal judge's ruling this week in Chicago, Blagojevich won't be there. The ex-governor was refused permission to travel abroad while he faces trial on racketeering, fraud and other charges.
"Perhaps I can play some other role in the show," Blagojevich said, adding he was glad to support the series with promotional spots. He said he wasn't sure if his contract provided payment for the promo work.
NBC declined to comment Thursday on what his other participation might include. During his California visit, Blagojevich was to take part Friday in a "I'm a Celebrity ..." news conference.
At the arboretum, Blagojevich's business suit and necktie looked downright formal compared to others involved in the filming. At one point, his glance strayed to a statuesque blonde wearing a bikini top and skimpy skirt — and a bystander caught him looking.
"I'm a Clinton Democrat," the ex-governor responded, smiling.
He turned serious when asked about his pending case, which includes allegations that he schemed to sell President Barack Obama's former U.S. Senate seat.
Blagojevich, who said he had agreed to appear on "I'm a Celebrity ..." to help support his family, compared himself to other Americans who "have lost their jobs and are seeking to rebuild their lives."
He said he's looking for other opportunities, without offering details.
"That's how life is. Sometimes you have some disappointments but you've just got to keep moving and knocking on doors," he said.
In refusing to modify terms of Blagojevich's bail to allow him to leave the United States, U.S. District Judge James Zagel said Blagojevich should focus on his case and a defense strategy for the serious charges he faces.
"I appreciate him saying that. He's right, of course," Blagojevich said. He said he is "innocent of all allegations" and eager to get the legal process going.
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