Celebrity news for the week of March 25, 2005 | EW.com

News

Celebrity news for the week of March 25, 2005

ENGAGEMENTS

Does she want his body? Does she think he’s sexy? Singer Rod Stewart, 60, will wed girlfriend Penny Lancaster, 34, later this year. He has yet to finalize his divorce from wife No. 2, Rachel Hunter.

PREMIERE

”I was not a skater.” So Ice Princess’ Michelle Trachtenberg (on the red carpet March 13) says, ”I had masseuses, coaches, sports doctors, trainers, nutritionists, choreographers. I was like a rapper on skates with my 20-person entourage.”

COURTS

Actress Julia Stiles, 23, is claiming victory in her legal battle for the rights to adapt Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar into a movie. On March 15, a NYC judge temporarily stopped Stiles’ former partners Eric Gitter and Steven Scavelli from making the movie without her, according to her rep. Gitter and Scavelli could not be reached for comment…Yael Oestreich filed a sexual-harassment and wrongful-termination suit against Maverick Films and several of its executives — including Madonna, 46. In the suit, filed March 9 in L.A., she claims Madonna failed to investigate the alleged sexual harassment by the company’s CEO, and is seeking unspecified damages… .Actor Michael Bergin (Baywatch), 36, was sentenced March 10 to 30 days in jail after pleading no contest to a July DUI incident. He will begin serving his sentence on May 16.

RECOVERING

Married…With Children hussy Christina Applegate, 32, broke her foot March 11 during a Chicago preview of Sweet Charity. Applegate will miss the show’s April 21 Broadway premiere — she will be replaced by Charlotte d’Amboise — though she’s been asked to return when she has recovered… .The Piano Man is back in rehab. In a March 15 statement, reps for Billy Joel, 55, said that ”following a recent bout of severe gastrointestinal distress, Billy Joel has checked himself into an undisclosed rehabilitation facility for treatment of alcohol abuse.”

DEATHS

Baritone George Scott, 75, who helped start the gospel group the Blind Boys of Alabama, of natural causes, March 9, in Durham, N.C… .Novelist Alice Thomas Ellis (The Sin Eater), 72, of lung cancer, March 8, in London… .TV actor Richard Lupino (Alfred Hitchcock Presents), 75, a member of the Lupino theatrical family, of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Feb. 19, in NYC… .Disney story artist Vance Gerry (The Jungle Book, One Hundred and One Dalmatians), 75, of cancer, March 5, in Pasadena… .Mystery writer William Murray, 78, who often set his books in the world of horse racing, of a heart attack, March 9, in NYC… .Rodeo star — turned — country singer Chris LeDoux (”Whatcha Gonna Do With a Cowboy,” with Garth Brooks), 56, of cancer, March 9, in Casper, Wyo… .Shelley Hull, 85, who served as associate producer on ’70s TV hits Charlie’s Angels and Starsky & Hutch, of emphysema, Feb. 27, in Santa Monica… .Molly Hatchet lead singer Danny Joe Brown, 53, of diabetes, March 10, in Davie, Fla… .Filmmaker Sy Wexler, 88, director of such ’50s and ’60s classroom documentaries as Teeth Are for Life, of a neurological disorder, March 10, in L.A… .pioneering female TV exec Joanne Brough (Dallas, Falcon Crest), 77, of undisclosed causes, Feb. 24, in Joplin, Mo. — Gilbert Cruz, with additional reporting by Carrie Bell

DEPARTURES

No sooner did American Idol fave Mario Vazquez say he was quitting than the wild dish hit the fan: Replacement Nikko Smith’s father (baseball Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith) paid him off! He’s a porn star! ”I heard something about my joining P. Diddy and the B.I.G. family,” says Vazquez. ”I’m from New York. I have tough skin.” So there’s no other recording contract? ”Rumors.” False rumors? ”I’m just going to keep it as rumors.” — Jessica Shaw