Monitor

Monitor

Celebrity news for the week of March 2, 2007 -- Brief updates on births, divorces, court dates and more

MARRIED
Keri Russell (Felicity) and contractor Shane Deary, both 30, tied the knot Feb. 14. They're expecting their first child this summer.

ENGAGED
Shock jock Howard Stern, 53, proposed to model Beth Ostrosky, 34, on Feb. 13. No wedding date has been set.

EXPECTING
Actress Bridget Moynahan (Six Degrees), 35, is pregnant. The father of the child, due this summer, is her ex-boyfriend, NFL quarterback Tom Brady, 29. The two split in December.

BIRTHS
Actress Bryce Dallas Howard (Lady in the Water) and actor husband Seth Gabel (The Da Vinci Code), both 25, recently welcomed a boy.... Skating With Celebrities champs Kristy Swanson, 37, and Lloyd Eisler, 43, greeted son Magnus Hart on Feb. 16.

COURTS
On Feb. 16, a will created by Anna Nicole Smith in 2001 was released to the public. In it, the actress made her son, Daniel, the sole heir to her estate. (He died on Sept. 10, 2006.) Meanwhile, a hearing began on Feb. 20 for control of Smith's remains.... Actor Ray Liotta (Smokin' Aces), 52, was arrested in L.A. on suspicion of DUI after crashing into two parked cars on Feb. 17.... Nicole Richie, 25, pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor DUI on Feb. 20 in L.A. Police claim she failed a sobriety test after they stopped her for apparently driving on the wrong side of the freeway in December 2006. Richie was previously convicted of a DUI in June 2003.... Monitor Hall of Famer Foxy Brown (née Inga Marchand), 28, spent the night in a Florida jail on Feb. 15 after allegedly spitting on a beauty shop employee and striking a police officer. According to the report, the officer had to ''use a takedown maneuver to gain control'' of the rapper, but no one was injured. Brown — who's on probation for a 2004 incident in which she attacked manicurists at an NYC salon — was released after posting a $1,500 bond. She faces a year in jail if found guilty of violating her probation. Brown's reps did not return calls for comment.... Tracy Morgan (30 Rock), 38, pleaded guilty to drunken driving on Feb. 14. NYC police allege that when they pulled him over on Nov. 28, 2006, the comedian failed a Breathalyzer test. Morgan, whose license was revoked for six months, was also ordered to enter rehab and perform community service.... On Feb. 14, stylist Stacy Young sued Oscar winner Jamie Foxx, 39, for an undisclosed amount. Young claims Foxx failed to pay her for work provided while he promoted Miami Vice and appeared at the BET Awards, and says she's due ''thousands of dollars in costs.''... A judge ruled on Feb. 16 that the murder trial of music producer Phil Spector, 66, can be televised. Spector pleaded not guilty to charges of killing actress Lana Clarkson in 2003. Jury selection, which will not air on TV, begins March 19.... R&B diva Brandy (née Brandy Norwood), 28, is facing a second wrongful death suit — this time on behalf of the children of Awatef Aboudihaj, the woman who died Dec. 30, 2006, in a freeway accident involving the singer. (Aboudihaj's parents sued Brandy on Jan. 30 for $50 million.) A lawyer for the kids, who seek an unspecified sum, says they are ''devastated by this tragedy.'' Brandy's manager could not be reached for comment.... On Feb. 16, Cameron Diaz, 34, won ''substantial'' damages from the National Enquirer, which falsely alleged in a May 2005 story that she had an affair with a married MTV producer.

DEATHS
Peggy Gilbert, 102, a pioneering jazz saxophonist who fronted the Melody Girls in the 1920s, of complications from hip surgery, Feb. 12, in Burbank.... Artist Joe Edwards, 85, who worked on the first issue of Archie comics in 1941, of natural causes, Feb. 8, in Central Islip, N.Y.... Tony-nominated actor Daniel McDonald (Steel Pier), 46, of brain cancer, Feb. 15, in NYC.... Ray Evans, 92, who co-wrote hits like the Oscar-winning ''Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera),'' of an apparent heart attack, Feb. 15, in L.A.... Special-effects artist Peter Ellenshaw, 93, who won an Oscar for his work on Mary Poppins, of natural causes, Feb. 12, in Santa Barbara.... Actress Janet Blair, 85, who starred opposite Cary Grant in 1944's Once Upon a Time, of complications from pneumonia, Feb. 19, in Santa Monica. (With additional reporting by Stewart Allen)


MERGER
XM AND SIRIUS JOIN SATELLITE FORCES
Is a Howard Stern-Oprah Winfrey alliance in the public's best interest? That's what the FCC will have to decide when it approves (or rejects) XM and Sirius Satellite Radio's proposed $13 billion merger, announced Feb. 19. The once-dueling providers, who have 14 million listeners (and over $2 billion in debt) between them, said they plan to make all their music, sports, and talk shows — including programs from Stern and Winfrey — available for one price. — Hannah Tucker

Franken to Minn.: Pick Me!

From Stuart Smalley to...Minnesota senator? Saturday Night Live alum and radio talk-show host Al Franken, 55, announced Feb. 14 that he wants to become the Democratic challenger to Minnesota's senatorial incumbent Norm Coleman in 2008. The comedian has gone against Republicans before, in books such as Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right, and in his progressive Air America Radio program, The Al Franken Show. ''Nothing means more to me than making government work better,'' he said in a video message on his website. ''Minnesotans have always led the way.'' Now he's just got to prove that he's good enough, smart enough, and, doggone it, people like him.

J.J. Abrams to Scale Stephen King's 'Dark Tower'?

File this under sweet music to a geek's ears: J.J. Abrams — exec producer of ABC's Lost, helmer of Mission: Impossible III, and megafan of Stephen King — is in talks to acquire the horror writer's best-selling seven-book series The Dark Tower to adapt as a film franchise. Fellow Lost exec producer Damon Lindelof is the leading candidate to write the screenplay for the first installment, which Abrams would direct. As any loyal Tower reader could tell you, this is a big deal. King (an EW columnist) has long been reluctant to let Hollywood get its sticky fingers on his 1982-2004 ''magnum opus,'' which chronicles the amblings of the knight-like Roland Deschain. But the author is an ardent supporter of the desert-island show and trusts Abrams to translate his vision. Still, it's unlikely that Tower will be the busy Abrams' next project. He is currently considering directing Paramount's Star Trek XI — the script is all but finished and could be ready to go into production this year. (Reps for Paramount and Abrams had no comment.) Meanwhile, the lucrative contract Abrams signed with Warner Bros. Television last summer means he's also at work developing new series for the small screen. However long all this takes, if there's one thing Lost fans are used to at this point, it's waiting. — Missy Schwartz with additional reporting by Jeff Jensen

Originally posted Feb 23, 2007 Published in issue #923 Mar 02, 2007 Order article reprints