Originally created 03/03/05

People in the News

LOS ANGELES - It's not always easy to cast an Oscar winner in a TV role, but Oprah Winfrey did just that for "Their Eyes Were Watching God."

Although they're friends, Winfrey said she was "a little nervous" about asking Halle Berry to star in the film - which airs Sunday on ABC (9 p.m.) - because she had won an Oscar for "Monster's Ball."

"I don't know what happens to you once you win an Academy Award," Winfrey told reporters recently, according to AP Radio. "I didn't know whether she was going to be, like, 'Now I have an Oscar. I'm sorry. I cannot talk to you.' No, she's too sweet to do that. But I didn't know whether or not she would be interested in doing television."

Winfrey, who frequently championed books on her daytime talk show, produced the TV movie adaptation of the novel by Zora Neale Hurston.

"My grandmother taught me to read, and the information that I received in books allowed me to see at a very early age that there was a life beyond my front porch," she said.

"Their Eyes Were Watching God" also stars Michael Ealy, Ruben Santiago-Hudson and Ruby Dee. Berry stars as Janie Crawford, whose journey takes her through three marriages with very different men.

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BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) - Heather Mills McCartney, wife of Paul McCartney, and Rick Wakeman of Yes campaigned for a ban on cat and dog fur in the European Union.

"It's barbaric that this is going on," McCartney said, holding back tears as she showed a fur coat made from 42 Alsatian puppies.

The United States and Australia have bans on the trade, as well as EU member nations Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece and Italy. The campaigners want the ban to be extended to all 25 EU nations.

During Tuesday's campaign stop, a video was shown of emaciated dogs and cats kept in dark, cramped rooms and cages. The video also portrayed the slaughter of a German shepherd.

"I couldn't sleep for two months" after watching the video, European Parliament member Straun Stevenson said.

The campaigners claim some 2 million cats and dogs are killed each year for their fur, mostly in China, and shipped to other parts of the world under false labels or no label at all.

Activists have been campaigning for five years and hope new EU Consumer Protection Commissioner Markos Kyprianou will finally help pass a ban.

McCartney, whose husband is known for his animal rights activism, criticized the fashion industry for using furs.

"How can anyone think this is beautiful?" she asked.


LONDON (AP) - Queen Elizabeth II is to bestow her seal of musical approval with a new prize, the Queen's Medal for Music.

The medal is designed to raise the profile of music in Britain and to "reward individuals who have had a major influence on the musical life of the nation," Buckingham Palace announced Tuesday.

The prize is open to musicians of any nationality - and of any genre, from classical to rap - who have had an impact on music in Britain. It will be awarded on Nov. 22, the memorial day of St. Cecilia, patron saint of music.

Peter Maxwell Davies, who as Master of The Queen's Music will chair the award committee, said the medal was "a concrete symbol of the esteem which most of us feel musical life in Britain deserves."


MONTERREY, Mexico (AP) - Gloria Trevi, who was recently released from prison, arrived in her hometown of Monterrey to promote a tour that will put her back on a Mexican stage after a nine-year absence.

The pop star, who is billing herself as a woman of the people, shook hands and kissed reporters as she arrived at a press conference Monday dressed in an olive green sliplike dress, black translucent robe and cowboy boots.

"I'm going to put on the hottest show that has ever hit the stage because there is going to be not only quality, but also passion and gratitude toward the people," Trevi said.

She will kick off her "Trevolution" tour, which will take her to dozens of cities in Mexico and the United States, at the Arena Monterrey Friday. The U.S. leg of Trevi's tour will open April 1 in Reno, Nev.

Trevi's music about sexual liberation and teenage frustration became wildly popular in the early 1990s, and she was often seen as a sort of Latin American version of Madonna.

She was cleared on rape and kidnapping charges in September, along with two of her backup singers, after spending five years in Brazilian and Mexican prisons. Prosecutors had alleged they had lured young girls into their entourage and then sexually abused them.


NEW YORK (AP) - A six-figure salary from Donald Trump didn't keep Bill Rancic, winner of the first season of "The Apprentice," from landing a job - temporarily - at Home Depot Inc. and Wendy's International Inc. in northern Virginia.

On Tuesday, Rancic helped customers in the paint department at the Home Depot store in Alexandria and worked the front counter and drive-thru window at Wendy's in Merrifield. It was for a promotion for SnagAJob.com, a recruiting company for hourly jobs.

"Although I'm no longer an hourly worker, I was," said Rancic, who now oversees construction of a Trump building project in Chicago. "My first job, when I was 14, was an hourly job, and that really gave me my foundation."

The Chicago native has worked as an undercover security guard, mowed lawns for a parks department and scooped ice cream at an old-fashioned ice cream parlor.

He was an Internet entrepreneur before being hired by Trump, the host of the NBC reality show, now in its third season.

"The Apprentice" airs Thursdays (9 p.m. EST).

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