1 March 2006
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Douglas Sues "Exploitative" Media Firms
Hollywood star Michael Douglas
is suing two American media companies for allegedly profiting from his name and image. The Basic Instinct
actor is furious after signing up to host a supposedly non-commercial educational series, only to discover his contribution was exploited to drum up financial support for episodes that were never even aired. The 61-year-old filed his suit against Family Television Studios and Paradigm Media Group in Florida, requesting both companies immediately stop using his likeness on the Learning About project. He is also demanding the firms' profits from his contribution, compensation amounting to $75,000, as well as legal costs.
Stern Faces Multi-Million Dollar Lawsuit
American shock jock Howard Stern
is facing a possible $500 million lawsuit, for allegedly breaching his contract with US broadcasting giant CBS. CBS/Infinity chairman Les Moonves
is determined to sue the radio superstar, insisting Stern's failure to disclose the details of his new deal with Sirius Satellite Radio, while still working for Infinity, amounts to a substantial breach. Speaking on his new show on Monday Stern said, "I showed them a way to make money, I syndicated the show, I set record high profits for them. I did everything in this world that they never could have accomplished on their own, but me they obsess on. Me they go after. So when somebody tells you that it's not personal, it's personal. All hell is breaking loose over there." A CBS insider tells gossip site PageSix.com, "When you mention the name Howard Stern
to Les, his face turns red and his rage becomes uncontrollable." Stern and Moonves previously endured a volatile working relationship - Stern once branded the chairman: "A snake in the grass and a guy you can't trust. You could just see it with the fake capped teeth and the phony hairdo and everything else." Stern broadcast his first show for Sirius on January 9.
Anna Nicole Smith Cries in Court
America's top judges will decide the fate of Anna Nicole Smith
's fortune after the buxom blonde broke down in court in Washington, DC yesterday. The model/reality TV star faced the Supreme Court as part of her ongoing bid to inherit a portion of her late husband J. Howard Marshall's fortune. Wearing all black, Smith started weeping at one point in the proceedings as she sat quietly in the back row of the courthouse. Justice Stephen G. Breyer expressed sympathy for her claim, referring to a US district court's finding that her former son-in-law E Pierce Marshall had altered and destroyed documents to keep the fortune out of the young widow's hands. Breyer also cited evidence that detectives were employed to keep Smith away from her bedside. But Marshall's spokesman, David Margulies, was defiant on the courthouse steps as the hearing ended - he denied any wrongdoing by his client and portrayed Smith as a gold-digger, adding, "She was abusive to him (the late J. Howard Marshall). She was cruel to him." But Smith's attorney, Kent Richland, was optimistic his client would win her day in court - and it would come sooner than expected. He told reporters outside the courthouse, "We're in it to win. We're here to resolve the legal issue. It's been 11 years, so it's become business as usual." Smith's legal spat dates back to 1995 when 89-year-old oil tycoon Marshall died, leaving a fortune of nearly $2 billion behind. Smith was originally awarded $474 million by a federal bankruptcy judge, only to have the amount later reduced by a federal district judge. Eventually, a federal appeals court threw out the entire case on jurisdictional grounds. The Supreme Court judges will now decide whether Smith can continue to seek a part of Marshall's fortune and whether the decision will be made by a state or federal court.
Willis Mocks Cheney on Letterman
Actor Bruce Willis
poked fun at Dick Cheney
's recent shooting accident by appearing on The Late Show With David Letterman
made-up like the US vice president's hunting victim Harry Whittington. The actor had tiny wounds on the left side of his face, resembling a spray of buckshot holes and when he smiled he revealed one tiny hole in his front tooth where he was allegedly hit by the ammunition. Willis joked, "I got shot." He then lifted his hat to reveal his semi-bald head covered in band-aids, adding, "Shot all my hair off." The Die Hard
actor went on to explain, "I was playing cards with some politician guys, sitting around drinking all night. After a bottle and half of Jack Daniels, somebody came up with the idea, 'Let's go hunting.' It seemed like such a good idea at the time... I'm thinking we're going to go out and hunt rhino or moose, (but we hunt) quail. But it's all really a blur to me."
Spears Thrills Teenage Katrina Victims
thrilled four teenage New Orleans, Louisiana school pals on Monday when she dropped by a council meeting to take them shopping. The foursome, aged from 13 to 17, were among those who lost everything in Hurricane Katrina last summer, and Spears decided it was time to treat them to a day out. One of the girls lost her pet dog in the flood, another has been living in a trailer ever since and all four were left homeless by the disaster. Fellow Louisiana girl Spears joined US breakfast show Good Morning America
to bring the girls a little cheer. She took them to New Orleans department store Em's to treat them to new wardrobes and then hosted a lunch for them at top chef Emeril Lagasse
's famous city restaurant, Emeril's, which opened especially for the pop star and her pals. Spears says, "It was an honor to be here with all of them. We had so much fun and it was amazing." Spears had one last treat for her four new pals - she gave them all fleur-de-lys pins on blue ribbons to represent rebirth.
Brown Defends Himself Against Cheating Claims
is baffled by claims he once propositioned actress Tamala Jones
- because she was dating his brother at the time. The My Prerogative
singer was stunned by the claims his Two Can Play That Game
co-star made in a recent issue of America's Smooth magazine, alleging Brown was prepared to cheat on his wife Whitney Houston
. Jones claims Brown once propositioned her by saying, "Don't you know I always wanted to f**k you?" but the singer insists the actress is mistaken. He says, "I never propositioned her. Me and her, we did a movie together. In fact, the first time I heard about the Tamala Jones
thing was two days ago. I don't know what she's talking about. Good luck with anything she's trying to do, but I never tried to hit on her or anything. Actually, she was dating my brother." Houston and Brown recently denied rumors they are heading for the divorce courts.
Madsen Upset Over Lindsay Questions
star Virginia Madsen
has come out in defense of teenager Lindsay Lohan
, insisting she has to answer unsavory questions the media would never ask of boys. Madsen has become fond of the 19-year-old after working with her on the set of new Robert Altman
film A Prairie Home Companion
, and admits she can't believe the interview horror stories the Mean Girls
star has spoken of. The actress explains, "(In) every interview I read, somebody was asking her about her weight and, 'Do you throw up in the bathroom?' I mean, no one asks teenage boys, 'Do you have pubic hair yet? What size are your balls?' Whereas they'll ask a teenage girl, 'Are you still a virgin?'"
Weinsteins To Auction Hollywood Memorabilia
Hollywood producers Bob Weinstein
and Harvey Weinstein
are auctioning off thousands of props and wardrobe items from their most famous movies to raise money for charity. The online auctions begin on Friday and will feature the dress Renee Zellweger
wore in Chicago
's "All That Jazz" number, an outfit Madonna
wore while delivering a singing telegram in Blue In The Face
killer Michael Myers' mask from Halloween H20
. Also on the block will be movie memorabilia from Shakespeare In Love
, The Cider House Rules
, Spy Kids
. The items will be listed on online auction sites eBay.com and PremiereProps.com and proceeds will benefit the Weinstein's Max Family Foundation and the Entertainment Industry Foundation.
'Chicago' and 'Oliver!' Among "Worst" Oscar Winners
Ned Beatty Honored
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star Ned Beatty
is to be honored with the Master Of Cinema Award at the upcoming RiverRun International Film Festival in North Carolina. The 68-year-old star, who has appeared in over 100 films, will be on hand to collect his award. Dale Pollock
, the executive director of the festival, says, "The purpose of the Master Of Cinema award is to honor someone who has mastered their craft, and Ned Beatty
is a master of what is almost a lost art. He is a true character actor, who can really register in any role, large or small, dramatic or humorous." The film festival takes place later this month in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.