Originally created 01/18/06

People in the News

ROCHESTER, Mich. - Spike Lee gave a campus audience some serious words about the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. - and a joke about Eminem's weekend wedding.

Lee, director of "Malcolm X," "Jungle Fever" and "Do the Right Thing," spoke to about 500 people Monday during Martin Luther King Day observances at Oakland University.

"I'm glad to be here on the day we honor Dr. King, a true giant, and it's our responsibility to teach our children what the man was and how this is not just a day you don't go to school," Lee was quoted as saying in The Detroit News.

"So many people had to fight hard so this could be a national holiday," he said. "Many young Americans, both black and white, have no idea of the blood, sweat and tears that were sacrificed so we could drink from a water fountain, sit down in a bus, have the right to vote."

Lee, 48, urged parents to encourage their children to follow their own dreams and told his younger listeners to work toward careers they're passionate about - citing his own as an example.

"I say my prayers every night because I get to do what I love," The Oakland Press of Pontiac quoted the filmmaker as saying.

In one of several lighter moments in a 90-minute talk, Lee brought up Eminem's wedding at nearby Meadow Brook Hall on Saturday. The Grammy-winning rapper, born Marshall Bruce Mathers III, remarried Kim Mathers, his high school sweetheart.

"So I missed the wedding, huh?" said Lee. "I didn't get an invitation. What's up with that?"


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LOS ANGELES - Brittany Murphy is engaged, according to published reports.

The 28-year-old actress, who met Joe Macaluso while he was working as a production assistant on the 2004 romantic comedy "Little Black Book," became engaged over the holidays. The couple haven't set a wedding date, People and Us Weekly magazines reported Monday.

Murphy dated Ashton Kutcher, her co-star in 2003's "Just Married." She was briefly engaged to talent manager Jeff Kwatinetz.

Her screen credits also include roles in "Uptown Girls," "8 Mile" and "Sin City."


PASADENA, Calif. - Brooke Burns is sporting a new piece of jewelry that she's eager to get rid of.

The former "Baywatch" actress wore a jewelry-encrusted neck brace Sunday when she met with reporters to talk about her new WB comedy, "Pepper Dennis."

Burns broke her neck in her backyard pool during a diving accident in November.

"It was just one of those miscalculation things where I just needed another 6 inches," she explained.

She's able to take off her brace for short periods to film scenes. But once the WB decides when to put the series on the air - it has no scheduled air date yet - viewers may see the brace. By odd coincidence before she was injured, producers had written an episode that calls for her to wear a brace.

Burns plays the sister of Rebecca Romijn in the series about a television newsroom.


NEW YORK - Another "American Idol" contestant is heading for Broadway.

Following in the footsteps of Frenchie Davis, who appears in the rock musical "Rent," Diana DeGarmo will join the cast of "Hairspray" on Feb. 7.

The 18-year-old DeGarmo, one of the Fox television series' most popular runners-up, will portray the heroine's best friend, Penny Pingleton, in the musical, which opened on Broadway in August 2002.

"Hairspray," based on the cult John Waters' film, concerns a chubby Baltimore teen who wants to appear on a TV dance show. The show now stars Shannon Durig as the eager young woman and John Pinette as her full-figured mother.

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