Originally created 03/17/04

People in the News



NEW YORK -- The stars of "Will & Grace" are hoping for success on the record charts.

Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Megan Mullally and Sean Hayes will lend their voices to "Will & Grace: Who's Your Daddy?" The album is set for release Sept. 7, BMG Strategic Marketing and NBC Enterprises said Monday.

The "companion" compilation will feature songs from - and inspired by - the hit NBC show, including "Got to Be Real" by Cheryl Lynn and "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man" by Ella Fitzgerald, performances by cast members and a "Footloose" recording by Kevin Bacon/Bacon Brothers.

On the Net:

http://www.nbc.com/Will-&-Grace/

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WATERVILLE, Maine -- Brooke Adams, who underwent emergency surgery to have her appendix removed, was released Monday from MaineGeneral Medical Center.

"I'm going to come back up here if I'm ever sick because this is the best hospital I've ever been in," the 55-year-old actress said. "I love it. Everyone was great."

Adams was in Waterville to promote "Made-Up," an independent film directed by her husband, Tony Shaloub, star of the TV series "Monk," and written by her sister, Lynne Adams, who also stars in the movie.

She had surgery Sunday night.

Adams, who lives in Los Angeles and Virginia, was wheeled out of the hospital and placed in a makeshift bed in the back of a station wagon for the drive to her sister's home in Boston.

Her films include "Days of Heaven," "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" and "The Dead Zone."

She planned to fly to New Orleans Tuesday to start shooting "At Last," an independent film produced by "Made-Up" co-producer Mark Donadio.

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PHILADELPHIA -- U2 lead singer Bono will be the commencement speaker at the University of Pennsylvania on May 17.

"With his tireless efforts and use of his celebrity to remind us of our moral duties as citizens of the globe, Bono has been a powerful force for change, galvanizing the action of presidents, countries and the general public," Penn President Judith Rodin said in a statement Monday.

Bono is the founder of Debt AIDS Trade Africa, which works with religious groups concerned with global disease and hunger issues.

On the Net:

http://www.upenn.edu

http://www.u2.com/

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LOS ANGELES -- Grammy-winning pop singer Whitney Houston has entered a drug rehabilitation facility, her publicist said.

Houston "thanks everyone for their support and prayers," publicist Nancy Seltzer said in a statement Monday. She declined to offer any further details.

Houston, 40, said in December 2002 that she had abused drugs in the past, but told interviewer Diane Sawyer on ABC's "Primetime" that she had gotten beyond that time through prayer.

Houston's husband, R&B singer Bobby Brown, was sentenced to 60 days in jail in late February for violating probation. One of the violations included a December misdemeanor battery charge for allegedly striking Houston, leaving her with a bruised cheek and a cut inside her lip.

In January 2000, Houston left behind a bag at Keahole Kona International Airport in Hawaii that allegedly held less than half an ounce of marijuana and three partially smoked marijuana cigarettes.

In 2001, a petty misdemeanor drug charge relating to the incident was dismissed against Houston after a drug counselor filed an assessment with prosecutors stating Houston did not require treatment for substance abuse.

Brown and Houston have been married since 1992 and have a 10-year-old daughter, Bobbi Kristina.

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AUSTIN, Texas -- When John Landis was growing up in Los Angeles as an aspiring filmmaker, he would pester John Ford, Billy Wilder, Ray Harryhausen and other directors to learn more about their craft.

Now, after decades of making his own films, the same thing is happening to him.

"I get approached all the time by filmmakers. I try to be as helpful as I can," Landis said during a discussion Monday at the South by Southwest film festival, where his documentary "Slasher," about used car salesmen, is playing.

Landis - whose work includes "Animal House," "The Blues Brothers," "Trading Places" and Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video - said he gets about 40 films a week from would-be filmmakers seeking his advice and support.

"Sometimes, I get many more, but it's hard because I can't watch them all," he said. "It's like autographs. Someone who doesn't sign autographs is an (expletive). ... Cary Grant never signed autographs, which was kinda (expletive). But Bob Hope and all those guys" did, Landis said.

The South by Southwest film festival, now in its 11th year, runs through Saturday.

On the Net:

http://www.sxsw.com/film

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VATICAN CITY -- Pope John Paul II met Monday with Jim Caviezel, star of Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ," the Vatican said.

Caviezel, who plays Jesus in the film, had a brief conversation with the pontiff, who then blessed the devoutly Roman Catholic actor, Vatican spokesman the Rev. Ciro Benedettini said. He had no further information on their discussion.

The ANSA news agency said Caviezel arrived in Rome Saturday, and attended a private screening of his film at the Legionaries of Christ, a conservative Catholic group. Caviezel's wife also attended the meeting with the pope, the news agency said.

Gibson's dramatization of Christ's final hours was the top weekend movie for the third weekend in a row, taking in $32.1 million at the box office to lift its total to $264.5 million in the United States and Canada.

However, the film has come under criticism by some Jews who say the movie will fuel anti-Semitism through an unfair portrayal of Jews as the main force behind the death of Jesus. Several Vatican prelates have endorsed the film, insisting it is not anti-Semitic.

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MOSCOW -- The Russian ballerina fired from the Bolshoi Theater and then rehired by court order was stripped of her passport and barred from going abroad amid a payment dispute for renovating her apartment.

Anastasia Volochkova had her passport taken away by officials at Moscow's Vnukovo airport Monday as she was leaving for a tour in the ex-Soviet republic of Ukraine. Officials at the airport said they were acting on a court order that barred the ballerina from leaving the country pending settlement of a business dispute, Russian television stations reported.

She denounced the action in televised comments. "I'm in shock: They took my passport away without any explanation whatsoever."

A St. Petersburg court has ordered her not to leave Russia pending settlement of claims filed by four construction and design companies that renovated her apartment there. The companies claim she owes $76,000.

Volochkova has denied the allegations and protested what she said was unfair treatment by authorities. "It's like the situation with the Bolshoi Theater, when they fired me first and only then started searching for reasons," she said.

The Bolshoi fired Volochkova last year amid a contract dispute and allegations that her weight made it difficult to find partners, but reinstated her in late November after she won a lawsuit fighting her dismissal.

Last month, Volochkova sued Bolshoi's director, Anatoly Iksanov, seeking about $1 million in damages.

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ENFIELD, Conn. -- Olympic champion figure skater Victor Petrenko was accepted Monday into an alcohol education program that would clear his record of a drunken driving charge.

Petrenko was charged with driving under the influence after he crashed his sport utility vehicle into a utility pole and fence in Simsbury just before midnight on Jan. 28. Petrenko, who told a police officer that he had had a glass of wine, failed several field sobriety tests, which included walking in a straight line and turning and holding up one leg.

Petrenko, who is from Ukraine, won the 1992 Olympic gold medal in men's figure skating. He now lives in Simsbury.

The 34-year-old refused to take a breath test to measure his blood alcohol level. Under Connecticut law, the skater has the right to refuse the breath test, but his license was automatically suspended for at least six months as a result.

His lawyer, Reese Norris, said the program will consist of one weekend of alcohol education in New Hampshire. If he successfully completes the course, the charges will be dismissed and his record will be erased, Norris said.

Enfield Superior Court Judge Grant Miller ordered Petrenko to appear in court on March 14, 2005, to make sure he completes the program.

"My client is pleased and I am sure he will successfully complete the program," Norris said.

Petrenko paid $325 for the program, in addition to the $150 he has already paid for application and evaluation fees.