Gospel singing patriarch dies
Roebuck "Pops" Staples, patriarch of the gospel and rhythm-and-blues group the Staple Singers, died Tuesday. He was 84.
Staples had suffered a concussion recently in a fall near his home in suburban Dolton, Ill.
He and his group gained fame in the 1960s by singing music that urged social and religious change. The Staple Singers gained a huge audience with their first No. 1 hit "I'll Take You There" in 1972 and followed with top 40 hits "Respect Yourself," "Heavy Makes You Happy," and "If You're Ready (Come Go With Me)."
Hunk heads to Hollywood
Ricky Martin, who did a bit of acting in his early years, is headed for Hollywood.
Martin, who turns 29 on Christmas Eve, has signed with Hollywood's United Talent Agency, which plans to develop the crooner's film and TV career, Variety reports.
In a way, the move puts Martin right back where he started, given that he was a veteran of 30 TV commercials by the time he was 12. In 1994, he had a two-year stint playing the sexy bartender on the soap "General Hospital," and, in 1996, he made his Broadway debut as Marius in "Les Miserables." No specific new projects have been mentioned as of yet.
Helen Hunt, hubby in splitsville
"What Women Want" star Helen Hunt wants a divorce.
Hunt filed a Superior Court divorce petition Monday citing irreconcilable differences as the reason to end her 17-month-old marriage to actor-husband Hank Azaria. They've been separated about six months.
Azaria spokesman Stan Rosenfield said Tuesday there would be no comment from the actor, whose movie credits include "Godzilla" and "The Birdcage." He's also the voice of several characters on "The Simpsons." Hunt's publicist, Stephen Huvane, was out of town Tuesday and could not be reached for comment.
The former "Mad About You" star won 1998's best actress Oscar for "As Good As It Gets" and appears with Tom Hanks in the upcoming film "Cast Away."
Clooney is no crooner
After spending time in a recording studio with George Clooney, director Joel Coen has a suggestion for the actor: Don't quit your day job.
Coen and his brother, Ethan, had wanted Clooney to sing in their latest movie, "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" But they decided to have him lip-sync instead after they heard him sing.
"We were both staring at our shoes," Joel Coen said in Monday's Daily News.
Clooney, the nephew of singer Rosemary Clooney, acknowledged, "I'm not my aunt."
"I decided it would be easier to just do a passionate lip-sync in the film," he said.