Originally created 01/20/05

People in the News

NEW YORK - A treasure trove of jazz memorabilia - including saxophones that belonged to Charlie Parker and John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie's trumpet and a gown that Peggy Lee wore when she sang "Fever" - will go on the auction block next month.

"It's the first truly major auction focusing on jazz," Arlan Ettinger, president of Guernsey's, which is holding the Feb. 20 auction, said Tuesday.

Most of the nearly 400 lots were consigned by the families of the jazz legends to whom they belonged, Ettinger said. Several of the family members will donate proceeds to foundations that promote jazz and provide scholarships to young musicians, he said.

Among the items to be sold are a 27-page letter handwritten by Louis Armstrong, a smoking jacket worn by Thelonious Monk, an unreleased tape of a 1951 performance by Parker and original Al Hirschfeld caricatures.

Most of the lots will be sold with no reserve price.

Ettinger estimated that Parker's sax and Coltrane's tenor sax each could sell for as much as $1 million.

"It has his name engraved in it," he said of Parker's instrument. "He's pictured in hundreds of photographs with it."

The auction will take place at the Time Warner Center in Manhattan, the new home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, and buyers can bid by telephone, through the online auction site eBay or in person.

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LOS ANGELES - Actor and horse racing fan Jerry O'Connell will host the 34th annual Eclipse Awards on Jan. 24, when the sport gives out its highest honors to last year's top horses, trainer, jockey and owners.

"I'm so excited," said O'Connell, who co-stars on NBC's "Crossing Jordan." "It's the Oscars for horse racing, except horses are a lot faster and less temperamental than people in show business."

The awards will air live on TVG from the Regent Beverly Wilshire hotel in Beverly Hills. The telecast will include a 90-minute red carpet show and a 30-minute wrap-up segment.

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MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. - What would a fragrance inspired by the Discovery Channel's "American Chopper" smell like?

Not like the gasoline, oil, leather or even burned rubber you may smell at Orange County Choppers, where the show's father-and-son team build custom-made motorcycles for upward of $100,000, according to Michael Malcom, a fragrance developer and marketer from Manitou Springs.

Malcom's product line, Full Throttle, smells like a mix of essences of anise, mint, black licorice, white pepper and hints of suede and cashmere.

He pitched the idea for a fragrance to agents of "American Chopper" stars Paul Teutul and his son, Paul Jr., after watching the program last January. Full Throttle is based on fragrances favored by Paul Jr.

The line, which went into 1,200 stores nationwide in time for the holiday shopping season, is expected to have sales of more than $4 million by the end of January.

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Charles Barkley once said he didn't consider himself a role model. But three celebrities from Alabama have agreed to serve as role models for students in career and technical education programs.

The Alabama Board of Education passed resolutions last week commending actress Courteney Cox Arquette, former professional football and baseball star Bo Jackson and pop singer Lionel Richie for agreeing to be role models for career and technical education students. All three celebrities attended public schools in Alabama.

Arquette, star of the former hit television show "Friends," attended Mountain Brook High School, while Jackson, a Heisman trophy winner at Auburn, attended McAdory High School, both in Jefferson County. Richie, former singer for The Commodores, attended Tuskegee Institute High School in Macon County.


PAWTUCKET, R.I. - A spud on the dark side.

That's how toy maker Hasbro Inc. is promoting its latest Mr. Potato Head figure, Darth Tater.

The toy spud will be available next month, ahead of the May release of "Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith," the latest installment in that film series.

Darth Tater will come with a light saber, cape and helmet, in addition to the regular Mr. Potato Head accessories such as eyes, mouth and nose.

The Pawtucket-based toy maker says children will be able to "have all kinds of mix n' match, Mr. Potato Head fun with this wacky spud dressed as the infamous 'Star Wars' villain, Darth Vader."

The toy will retail for $7.99.

"Star Wars: Episode III," starring Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman, will open in theaters nationwide on May 19.


HONG KONG - A celebrity auction featuring "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" star Chow Yun-Fat's photography as well as personal items from other Hong Kong stars raised $36,200 for tsunami relief.

Chow's black-and-white photo of what appears to be a tomato-laden branch fetched $4,000, auction organizer Apple Daily newspaper reported in its Monday edition.

Other items sold included clothing donated by pop stars Andy Lau, Joey Yung and Gigi Leung, a guitar used by Wong Ka-keung and a handbag belonging to singer Sammi Cheng.


PRAGUE, Czech Republic - Rock 'n' roll pioneer Chuck Berry enjoyed a sold-out show in what was billed as his first appearance in the Czech capital.

"Czech me out," Berry told thousands of fans Sunday night in the Lucerna Palace in downtown Prague.

Berry charmed the crowd, which included President Vaclav Klaus, with his hits including "Maybellene" and "Johnny B. Goode" and glimpses of his famous duck walk.

"He may be 78, but what an entertainer," Klaus said after the concert.

Czech fans have waited a long time to see authentic rock 'n' roll stars such as Berry, whose music wasn't appreciated by the communist authorities before the 1989 Velvet Revolution.

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