Crystal wins comedy award
Billy Crystal, host of the Oscars for the past six years, is about to pick up an award himself.
Crystal, 53, will receive the HBO and U.S. Comedy Arts Festival Star Award the week of Feb. 28 in Aspen, Colo. Past recipients include Jerry Seinfeld, Robin Williams, Steve Martin, Rob Reiner and Albert Brooks.
"I am joining a special group of talented and funny people," said Crystal. "I hope this means my cable reception will get better."
Crystal, a former regular on TV's "Saturday Night Live," has starred in "City Slickers," "When Harry Met Sally" and "Analyze This."
It wasn't man or beast, but network economics that finally defeated television's warrior princess Xena.
After six seasons, "Xena: Warrior Princess" will call it quits when the current season ends next summer. For the fans who have packed the more than 100 Xena conventions the past few years, the blow was swift and painful.
"Xena," starring Lucy Lawless, has become a cult icon since first hitting the airwaves in 1995.
The show won high ratings in its early seasons, but it was gradually forced out of key prime time slots due to the expansion of the WB and UPN networks, said Jim Benson, a spokesman for Studios USA, which makes the show.
Cather zooms into heavens
Author Willa Cather's celebrity recently has reached new heights: She now has an asteroid named after her.
Amateur astronomer Robert Linderholm, who discovered the asteroid in 1997, submitted Cather's name to the International Astronomical Union, the group that designates asteroids as new celestial bodies.
He recently learned that asteroid No. 14969 will be named after the Pulitzer-Prize winner, who grew up in Red Cloud and wrote "O Pioneers!", "My Antonia" and other American classics of the Great Plains.
Cather died in 1947.
Rickles honored with star
Don Rickles is the latest star to shine on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The comedian, known for his humorous insults, was honored Tuesday with the 2,166th star to be dedicated along the famous sidewalk. True to form, the comedian had words to share with hundreds of fans who turned out for the ceremony.
"I want to thank my fans who are here on the street on their way to look for a job," he quipped. "My wife, Barbara would be standing next to me, but her jewelry is too heavy for her to walk over here."
Also on hand for the unveiling were Bob Newhart, Dick Clark, actor Tony Danza and former Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda.
Lennon piano sold
Wham! Sold to the highest bidder: the piano on which John Lennon composed his peace anthem Imagine.
Pop star George Michael, 37, was identified Tuesday in London as the mystery buyer of a $2.1 million piano that once belonged to the late Beatle.
The instrument, an upright walnut Steinway that Lennon purchased in 1970 for about $1,500, was the center of an international dispute, with loyalists demanding that it be kept in Britain. Bidding was held in the Hard Rock Cafes in both London and New York as well as over the telephone and the Internet.
Murphy gives to actors fund
Striking commercial actors have received a $100,000 boost from Eddie Murphy, the latest star to make a six-figure contribution to a union relief fund.
Murphy's donation came Tuesday. Contributions also have come from actors Bruce Willis, Helen Hunt, Kevin Spacey and Harrison Ford.
Members of SAG and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists went on strike May 1 against the advertising industry. Among the disputed issues is whether actors should receive a flat fee or residuals for commercials.