MTV VJ Kennedy is being sued for libel. In a segment that aired July 4, she allegedly glanced at a photo of two young women and called them whores. The women are demanding $20 million from MTV’s parent company, Viacom. (Court papers also reveal that Kennedy has a last name — it’s Montgomery.)
Jazz great Carmen McRae, 74, in Beverly Hills. McRae, who has suffered a stroke in October, was a featured singer with band leader Benny Carter and later worked with Count Basie. McRae often cited fellow songstress Billie Holiday as her greatest influence…Tom Villard, 40, star of the NBC sitcom We Got It Made (and also seen in the feature film My Girl), of complications from AIDS in Los Angeles…Pedro Zamora, 22, a member of the third edition of MTV’s The Real World, of complications from AIDS, in Miami.
In a banner Election Day for celebrity candidates, actor-lawyer Fred Dalton Thompson (R-Tenn.) won Vice President Al Gore’s former seat in the U.S. Senate, and Republican ex-popster Sonny Bono won the right to represent the people of California in the House of Representatives. Democrat Sheila James Kuehl, who played Zelda Gilroy on TV’s The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, became the first openly gay candidate elected to California legislature.
High-stepper Liza Minnelli, 48, who’ll have surgery in January to replace her right hip. While her condition was aggravated by dancing, she’s scheduled to perform again within two months of the operation, claims her spokeswoman, who adds, ”She’s very limber, and except for her right hip, she’s in great shape.”…Actor Richard Gere, who chipped a tooth while filming a scene on horseback on the set of First Knight, a Knight Arthur tale currently being shot near London. Although Gere was rushed to a dentist, his publicist says, ”It was just a teeny-weeny chip that won’t affect his dazzling good looks.”