Originally created 01/13/04

People in the News



TUCSON, Ariz. -- There will be no trial for pop diva Diana Ross on drunken driving charges.

During a pretrial hearing in Tucson City Court, Ross' lawyers said she's ready to accept a plea agreement and will change her earlier "not guilty" plea at a hearing scheduled for Feb. 9.

Her trial had been scheduled for this month.

Details of the agreement, including what type of plea Ross may enter or whether any type of sentence might be involved, were not released.

The 59-year-old singer wasn't present at Friday's hearing and she won't be required to appear in person next month. Instead, she's expected to appear "telephonically."

Ross faces three DUI-related charges after being stopped by police on Dec. 30, 2002, after authorities received a report of a car traveling the wrong way on a city street.

Results of breath tests show Ross had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.20 percent. Arizona's legal limit is 0.08.

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NEW DELHI -- Salman Rushdie says the novel he's writing has already taken more than 2 1/2 years and is going slowly, but will "have a lot more of India in it" than his previous work, "Midnight's Children" about the India-Pakistan divide.

"It's good to be here just to get the smell of it again," Rushdie said in an interview broadcast Monday on New Delhi Television. He's traveling in India with his companion, model-actress Padma Lakshmi, and the two said they went out freely and were greeted warmly.

In 1989, the British author was forced into hiding for nine years after the late Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini called on Muslims around the world to kill him because his work, "The Satanic Verses," had allegedly insulted Islam.

In 1998, the Iranian government declared it would not support the de facto death sentence but could not rescind the edict. Under Islamic law, that could only be done by Khomeini, who died in 1989.

Asked by an NDTV reporter whether Rushdie's experience means he may spend more time in India - where his novel was once banned because it could inflame religious passions - the author said, "Yeah, it does. Watch this space."

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ATLANTA -- When Ryan Seacrest launched his entertainment talk show "On-Air With Ryan Seacrest" Monday, it marked only his latest in a fast-growing list of ventures.

The 29-year-old Atlanta native, best known as the host of "American Idol," recently was named as the replacement for the legendary Casey Kasem on the radio countdown show "American Top 40." He also hosted the Billboard Music Awards and the Fox New Year's Eve special last year.

Seacrest has even subbed for CNN's Larry King - but he acknowledges he runs a risk of being overexposed.

"You have to look at the broadcast world differently," he told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "In broadcast, it's conventional to be on five days a week."

Seacrest is following the business model of his American idol, 74-year-old Dick Clark, who established himself in the 1950s as the host of the weekly music TV show "American Bandstand" and built a production company that now produces the American Music Awards and his "New Year's Rockin' Eve" special.

"I've had a game plan for a long time," Seacrest said. "I want to do what Dick Clark did: Build businesses out of what we do. Oprah, too. These are very smart business people who've created something out of first being 'talent."'

On the Net:

http://www.ryanseacrest.com/

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BOSTON -- Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein traded business slacks and a tie for jeans and sneakers as he played with his rock band, Trauser, in a benefit concert at the city's Paradise nightclub.

"It makes you feel like you're living the rock 'n' roll lifestyle a little bit," Epstein said before his band's four-song set Sunday night.

He and other notable names in baseball also celebrated a much-discussed 2003 Red Sox season at the fourth annual Hot Stove, Cool Music concert, hosted by ESPN baseball analyst Peter Gammons. During the offseason the team added pitching ace Curt Schilling and star closer Keith Foulke, and made a failed bid to acquire American League MVP Alex Rodriguez from the Texas Rangers.

Others in baseball made up the nine-band lineup, including Seattle Mariners third baseman Scott Spezio and his band, Sandfrog, and former White Sox pitcher Jack McDowell and his group, Stickfigure.

New manager Terry Francona and first baseman Kevin Millar also went to the stage and greeted the crowd of about 800 who attended.

"What was it about the Yankees? What was that?" Francona asked the audience, which subsequently began an anti-Yankees chant.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Korn lead singer Jonathan Davis has a confession to make: He really digs listening to Duran Duran.

"My music taste is so eclectic," Davis tells the San Francisco Chronicle in Sunday's editions. "The other day I was listening to the 'Xanadu' soundtrack. That song 'Whenever You're Away From Me' just rocks. And then after that I was listening to Cannibal Corpse."

The heavy metal band, whose songs include "Wake Up Hate" and "Dead Bodies Everywhere," has released its sixth CD, "Take a Look in the Mirror," after winning a Grammy Award for best metal performance and playing the Ozzfest Tour in 2003.

The new album has plenty of the angst and anger that has typified previous Korn records, Davis said.

"There was a lot of stuff going on in my life when I was doing this record that made me want to scream. I don't scream for the sake of screaming. Things just happened that pushed me in that direction," the 32-year-old said.

When prodded, Davis said many things enraged him: "Problems with my girl. Problems with my family. Business relationships. Friends. You name it."

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BOSTON -- Though Neve Campbell conceived, produced and stars in Robert Altman's newest movie "The Company," she's doesn't think she'll get terribly rich off it.

"I'm in the red on this movie. I made nothing, and halfway through, I had to give up my paycheck so the dancers could get paid," she tells the Boston Herald in Sunday's editions.

"The Company" tells the story of dancers in the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago.

Campbell said the multiple millions of dollars she made on "Scream 3" "is probably the only time I'll make that money - it was a third film to a sequel, otherwise I won't make that kind of cash. It's so the opposite."

Post-"Scream," Campbell mostly has been making independent films and just broke a personal barrier by filming her first nude scene in James Toback's "When Will I Be Loved," which was done with an entirely improvised script.

"It's about a young woman's sexual exploration," Campbell said. "The reason I hadn't done nudity is I don't believe in doing nudity for the sake of being a box-office draw and when it has nothing to do with the movie itself. But if, like here, it has to do with the rawness of a character, then that makes sense to me.

"It became easy," she added. "I'm 30 and more comfortable with myself as well."

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MIAMI -- A musical theater production in California about Andrew Cunanan's 1997 cross country killing spree is drawing opposition on both coasts.

Some members of South Florida's gay community and a friend of Cunanan's in California oppose the production.

"No, no it's not a good idea," said Delfin Labao of San Diego, who called himself a family friend and Cunanan's godfather. "That door is closed. It should remain closed."

Cunanan, a 27-year-old reputed gay escort and drug user, was linked to five murders across the country, including the slaying of fashion designer Gianni Versace.

"Cunanan was sick and do you celebrate that? People's lives were gone and do you celebrate that?" asked Bill Peters of the Gay and Lesbian Community Center in Fort Lauderdale.

The La Jolla Playhouse in California received a $35,000 grant for the project from the National Endowment for the Arts. The piece would be called "Disposable" and would be "loosely based on the life of Andrew Cunanan," said artistic director Shirley Fishman.

"It will examine some issues in our contemporary society like class difference, the media's obsession with celebrity, wealth and fame, and the media's penchant for sensationalism," she said.

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LOS ANGELES -- Tony Shalhoub is back for another set of "Monk" mysteries on USA Network and he's happy that this time, not all the attention is directed at him.

For the first time Shalhoub and Bitty Schram, who plays his street-wise and savvy assistant Sharona Fleming on the show, both received Golden Globe nominations.

"She's like Judy Holliday with a real edge," Shalhoub told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview posted online Monday.

Last year, the 50-year-old actor won Emmy and Golden Globe awards for "Monk."

Shalhoub, who plays a phobia-addled, obsessive detective on the show, said he wishes his "Monk" schedule afforded him more time for outside projects. But he managed to fulfill a professional dream by making his feature directorial debut with the indie comedy "Made-Up."

The movie, in which he co-stars with his wife, Brooke Adams, and pals like Gary Sinise, is done in a mock documentary style and "deals with beauty in our culture," Shalhoub said.

"Directing truly does legitimize our control-freakish tendencies," the actor added. "It brought out the most Monk-ish aspects of my character."