Originally created 02/28/04

People in the News

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Greta Van Susteren, who helped pick Miss America last year, is joining the famous beauty pageant in another capacity.

Van Susteren, host of Fox News' "On the Record With Greta Van Susteren," has joined the Miss America Organization's board of directors, pageant officials announced Thursday.

"Greta's experience, not only as an attorney, but as a journalist who brings a global framework of knowledge and expertise in politics and news, will prove most valuable as we grow this organization," said Stephen Fuhs, chairman of the Miss America board.

Van Susteren served as a judge in the 2003 pageant, helping pick winner Miss Florida Ericka Dunlap.

Also named to the board Thursday: Miss America 1964 Donna Axum Whitworth.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Christian pop group Sixpence None The Richer, best known for their 1999 mainstream hit "Kiss Me," is breaking up after 10 years together.

Members Leigh Nash and Matt Slocum announced the split in a letter to fans published in CCM Magazine.

They offered little reason for disbanding, but Nash recently had a baby and said she plans to devote more time to her family. Slocum said he wants to travel and may go back to school.

The band, which took its name from a passage in a C.S. Lewis book, formed as a Christian group in Texas but relocated to Nashville and found mainstream success in 1999 with the singles "Kiss Me" and a cover of the La's "There She Goes."

Their latest album, "Divine Discontent," was released in 2002 after long delays because of contractual problems. It included the singles "Breathe Your Name" and a cover of Crowded House's "Don't Dream It's Over."

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RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. -- Oscar-winning actress Julie Andrews gets critical reviews on her movie love scenes from her husband of 34 years, director Blake Edwards.

"I've made eight films with my husband," she told the audience Wednesday at the Annenberg Center. "He always tells me after the love scenes are done, 'That was good, Julie, but I know you could do better."'

During the 85-minute Rancho Mirage Speaker Series presentation, the 68-year-old actress discussed highlights of her career, which included a best actress Oscar for 1964's "Mary Poppins."

"You certainly can see how I got the squeaky-clean image," Andrews said. "People are well aware of that, but they forget some of the earthier moments of my career, in productions like 'Victor/Victoria' where I was a woman playing a man."

Andrews also spoke of her admiration for friend Carol Burnett.

"Carol probably brings out the worst in me. We bonded the minute we first met and usually do wicked, silly, naughty things whenever we get together," she said.

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BRISTOL, Conn. -- Barry Pepper will star as auto racing star Dale Earnhardt in "3," a made-for-TV movie by ESPN.

Pepper played the role of Roger Maris in the HBO feature "61." His films also include "Saving Private Ryan," "Knockaround Guys" and "25th Hour."

He also will serve as co-executive producer on "3," which will debut in December. He said Earnhardt "captured my fascination and the hearts of millions of NASCAR fans across America."

"The opportunity to produce this with them is an aspiring filmmaker's dream come true," he said.

ESPN also begins production this spring on a movie about baseball's Pete Rose. The network already has done films on basketball coach Bob Knight and football coach Bear Bryant.

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RALEIGH, N.C. -- The white Italian-made shirt, black pinstriped pants and shoes Clay Aiken wore in an early round of "American Idol" will be exhibited at the North Carolina Museum of History.

The clothes will be on exhibit from Tuesday until Sept. 6, and then will become part of the museum's permanent collection.

Aiken, 25, wore the outfit during a Motown-themed "American Idol," when he sang the Four Tops hit "I Can't Help Myself." He was one of 12 semifinalists at the time.

"Today's popular culture often becomes tomorrow's history; we are pleased to have objects connected to Clay Aiken's early success," said Elizabeth F. Buford, director of the history museum.

The exhibit opens the day after Aiken's sold-out concert in Raleigh, part of his tour with Kelly Clarkson, the 2002 "American Idol" winner.

Aiken was the 2003 runner-up to Ruben Studdard. He has since released his first album, "Measure of a Man," featuring his hit "Invisible."

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PITTSBURGH -- Spelling and clerical errors on a visa have cost a Bulgarian soprano the lead role of Cleopatra in the Pittsburgh Opera's production of Handel's "Julius Caesar."

Mark Weinstein, executive director of the opera, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in Thursday's editions the errors were made by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services when processing Alexandrina Pendatchanska's visa.

She discovered the mistake too late to resubmit the application, which would have taken another six months to process.

"They said, 'OK, it goes back to the bottom of the pile now for 120 days,"' Weinstein said. "It's outrageous, and especially since it's their mistake."

Korean soprano Sujung Kim will take her place.

The opera's Web site said performances of "Julius Caesar" are scheduled for Saturday, Tuesday, Friday and March 7.

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LONDON -- American pianist Murray Perahia has been awarded an honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II for his service to music, the British government said Thursday.

"In the 30 years that Murray Perahia has been performing he has made an enormous impact on the international concert world by his extraordinary and sensitive interpretations of the works of many composers including Bach, Chopin and Mozart," Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said in a statement.

"It is no exaggeration to describe his work as 'beyond praise."'

Straw cited Perahia's work with the Aldeburgh Festival in eastern England that led to a collaboration with composer Benjamin Britten and singer Peter Pears and Perahia's appearances as principal guest conductor of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields.

Straw said Perahia will be made an honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire at a ceremony in London on March 8. The knighthood is honorary because Perahia is not a British citizen.

Perahia made his debut in London in 1972 after winning the Leeds International Piano Competition. In 1999, he received an honorary doctorate in music from the University of Leeds in northern England and he is an honorary fellow at the Royal College of Music and the Royal Academy of Music. He served as an artistic director of the Aldeburgh Festival from 1981-89.

He won a Grammy for his recording of Bartok's Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion conducted by George Solti.

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