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Archive for Saturday, July 22, 2000

People, Faces & Things

July 22, 2000

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'The Visit' cut short

Angela Lansbury has withdrawn from a new Broadway musical scheduled to open next spring, saying she's "absolutely shattered" to do so but needs to be with her husband as he recovers from heart surgery.

In a letter to the producers of "The Visit," Lansbury said she needed to be with her husband, Peter Shaw, "day-by-day, hour-by-hour."

"The kind of commitment required of an artist carrying a multimillion-dollar production has to be 100 percent, and in fairness to you, I realize I simply couldn't manage being available to you and the company and fulfill my desire and need to care for Peter," Lansbury's letter said.

Producer Barry Brown said the production, scheduled to open in April, would move forward.

"We are regrouping and discussing other actresses," Brown said Friday.

"The Visit" is about a wealthy woman who returns to her hometown and offers money for the murder of a man who seduced her years earlier.

Designer, wife split

The fabric of Tommy Hilfiger's marriage has come apart.

The clothing designer, whose regatta-bright apparel turned his name into a public icon, announced Friday that he and his wife, Susie, are splitting up.

"After 20 years of marriage, we have mutually and amicably decided to separate," Hilfiger said in a statement.

The two go back to tough times, when he was selling bell-bottom pants in his native upstate New York and ended up filing for bankruptcy. The couple moved to New York City, and he built a business that grew into a $400 million fashion empire of straight-arrow preppy gear that also caught on in the streets.

He and his wife raised four children.

Natural born lawsuit

Oliver Stone has begun answering questions in a lawsuit that faults his movie "Natural Born Killers" for sparking a crime spree that left a woman paralyzed.

The family of Patsy Byers, who was shot and later died of cancer, says Stone's film triggered the attack on the convenience store clerk in 1995. The lawsuit, filed in Ponchatoula, La., seeks damages from Stone and movie distributor Time Warner.

Lawyers Rick Caballero and Randolph Piedrahita began taking a deposition from Stone on Thursday at a Los Angeles law office, according to court records.

Byers was shot by Sarah Edmondson, then 18, during a two-state crime spree with her boyfriend, Benjamin Darras. Both are now in prison.

Edmondson has said she and Darras had watched Stone's movie about a young couple who commit a series of murders.

The filmmakers say the lawsuit has no legal basis because the movie is protected by free speech provisions in the First Amendment.

Fair Winona

Winona Ryder has a confession to make: The dark-haired Generation X movie star is really a blonde.

Ryder tells Harper's Bazaar magazine she started dying her blond hair blue and purple when she was 11 or 12.

"When I auditioned for (the movie) 'Lucas,' my hair was black and they wanted to keep it," she said in an interview for the August issue.

Ryder appears in the forthcoming movie "Autumn in New York" opposite Richard Gere.

What a girl's publicist wants

A New York publicist has filed a $7 million lawsuit accusing the mother of teen singer Christina Aguilera and others of cheating her out of her share of the star's fortune.

Ruth Inniss says in papers filed Wednesday in state Supreme Court that she is owed at least $2 million from the singer's earnings from her debut album, "Christina Aguilera."

The album, which reached No. 1 on pop sales charts, produced the hit singles, "Genie in a Bottle," and "What a Girl Wants." Aguilera, 19, won a Grammy for best new artist of 1999.

Inniss claims she first saw Aguilera's potential in 1993 when the singer was a Mouseketeer on the "Mickey Mouse Show." Court papers say she told Aguilera's mother, Shelly Kearns, that she could help the girl's singing career and they later agreed Inniss would act as Aguilera's manager.

According to court documents, Normand R. Kurtz, the music industry lawyer Inniss approached for help, and his son cut Inniss out of the girl's career.

Normand Kurtz did not return telephone calls.

'Survivor' contestants pursued

Rhode Island child welfare officials have ended their inquiry of "Survivor" contestant Richard Hatch, who's accused of abusing his 10-year-old son.

The state Department of Children, Youth and Families would not comment on the case in Middletown. Hatch's lawyer, Christopher Behan, would say only that the agency will have no more involvement with the family.

A criminal charge of felony second-degree child abuse is pending.

Hatch, a 39-year-old corporate trainer, was among a group of 16 people left in March on a remote tropical island off Borneo for the hit CBS TV show.

After returning home, his adopted son said Hatch grabbed him around the neck when the boy tired on a run meant to help him lose weight. Hatch said his son concocted the story because he was angry.

On the show each week, contestants vote to eject someone from the island. The last one remaining wins $1 million. Hatch survived Wednesday night's episode.

Meanwhile, police in Greensboro, N.C., said another surviving contestant -- Kelly Wiglesworth, 23 -- is wanted on a five-year-old warrant for allegedly using a stolen credit card to buy a restaurant meal.

"If she comes into North Carolina and we find her, we'd arrest her," Sgt. K.D. Meredith said.

Today's birthdays

Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, R-Kan., is 77. Game show host Alex Trebek and singer George Clinton are 60. Actor Danny Glover and rock singer Don Henley are 53. Actor Willem Dafoe is 45. Actors John Leguizamo and David Spade are 36.

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