Originally created 04/01/04

People in the News

NEW YORK -- Liv Tyler had a front-row seat for the start of the "Bennifer" craze while she and Ben Affleck were filming "Jersey Girl" - and couldn't believe her eyes.

They were shooting the film when media attention over Affleck's relationship with Jennifer Lopez exploded.

Tyler said there were about 500 people waiting when they arrived early in the morning, and by evening, some 1,000 fans, news vans and photographers had gathered.

"I couldn't believe it. I was like, 'Benji, you're like the Beatles! This is crazy! I didn't know you were so famous,"' she told reporters recently, according to AP Radio.

Tyler, who starred in "The Lord of the Rings" movies, is the daughter of Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler. She's married to Royston Langdon of the band Spacehog.

"As far as the celebrity stuff, it's so up and down. Like sometimes you're really busy and sometimes nobody wants you," the 26-year-old actress said. "And you just have to ride that and not let it get too deeply into your soul because the important things are your family."

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LONDON -- Queen Elizabeth II inspected Royal Albert Hall, which has undergone eight years of renovation and was built in memory of her great-great-grandfather, Prince Albert.

After being greeted by the brass ensemble of the Royal College of Music on Tuesday, she unveiled an inscription on the south porch commemorating the $128 million overhaul.

The renovations include two new foyers, revamped seating in the stalls and circle, as well as better access for the disabled.

The queen met a group of supporters of the project and stars including cellist Julian Lloyd Webber, Who singer Roger Daltrey, '60s model Twiggy and broadcaster Trevor McDonald.

"I asked her to speak up because I'm in a rock 'n' roll band," Daltrey joked. "She did speak up. She was very gracious."

The Who is playing a series of concerts at the hall this week for the charity Teenage Cancer Trust. Daltrey is one of its patrons.

Originally planned by Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, The Royal Albert Hall was completed in 1871, 10 years after his death and named in his memory.

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Janet Jackson didn't pay much attention to the controversy over her breast-baring at the Super Bowl halftime show, one of her longtime producers said.

"She's not a big TV watcher and doesn't really read the newspapers and that, a lot," Jimmy Jam told AP Radio. "She was on (ESPN's) 'SportsCenter' a lot, and it was funny because other than that she didn't really know a lot of what was going on."

Jam said Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" wasn't a publicity stunt to boost sales of her new album, "Damita Jo," which was released Tuesday. He said probably seven songs were still not done at the time of her Feb. 1 Super Bowl appearance.

Jam and his partner, Terry Lewis, who have worked with Jackson since her 1986 album, "Control," are executive producers of "Damita Jo."

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LOS ANGELES -- A year after the end of the long-running CBS drama "Touched by an Angel," Della Reese is still singing, acting and preaching.

The Hallmark Channel has scheduled a "Touched by an Angel" marathon on Easter Sunday. The April 11 marathon is very special for Reese, who presides over the nondenominational Understanding Principles for Better Living Church in Los Angeles.

"This is a great reminder that there's a spiritual side to Easter along with the festive side," the 72-year-old actress said. "I'll be at the pulpit part of the day, communing with my flock. But, it should be a day well spent; any day with the Lord is!"

Reese is the national spokeswoman for the diabetes medication Avandia. Since being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, she has lost 30 pounds and works out every day on a stationary bike.

She also travels the country talking about diabetes prevention.

On "Touched by an Angel," Reese played an angel dispatched from heaven with a special mission - to help people at crossroads in their lives.

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INDIANAPOLIS -- An upscale club said it plans an exhibit to honor an employee it fired decades ago - songwriter Hoagy Carmichael.

Festivities at the Columbia Club Friday and Saturday will include the showing of a film on Carmichael's life, jazz, a photo display and music by his son Randy.

The club also has asked city officials for permission to place a bronze star bearing Carmichael's name on the sidewalk on Monument Circle.

Carmichael, a Bloomington native, wrote "Georgia on My Mind" and "Stardust." He won an Oscar for "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening," which he co-wrote with Johnny Mercer for the 1951 film "Here Comes the Groom." He died in 1981.

Carmichael worked as leader of the house band at the Columbia Club in 1928, but was let go when he insisted on playing jazz instead of dinner music, The Indianapolis Star reported Tuesday.

"I find it absolutely luminous, heartwarming, that a man who was ruled out by a club would go on to attain such a stature that he'd ultimately be honored by that same club," said Donna Mikels Shea, a club member who helped organize the events honoring the composer.


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