It's all in the name
New York The artist formerly known as Natalie McIntyre said she changed her name to Macy Gray because she liked the sound of it.
"When I was little, I was riding my bike and I saw 'Macy Gray' on a mailbox," the singer told Teen People magazine for its December 2001/January 2002 issue. "For some reason, it stuck with me. It's hot. I'm feeling it. I want to do records under some different aliases. I want to record something as Mite B."
Gray said that even though she's a Grammy-winning singer now, she still gets a little starstruck.
"Oh, I'm a real groupie," she said. "I have a Method Man picture next to my computer and some Bob Marley pictures sitting on the floor. I haven't figured out where to put them yet.
"My favorite song (in recent years) is '...Baby, One More Time' by Britney Spears," Gray said. "It's just a hot song, even the lyrics. I haven't met Britney, but everywhere I go her people come up to me and say, 'Britney really loves you."'
Big fish looking for new pond
New York Tom Wilkinson co-stars in two movies opening this weekend "Black Knight" with Martin Lawrence and "In the Bedroom" with Sissy Spacek.
The British actor said he's appearing in more big Hollywood movies these days because he accomplished everything he wanted at home.
"I got to the point where I could do more or less anything I wanted on British television and British theatre, and I thought that the big stage, the big game, is the Hollywood game, and I should have a crack at that."
Peck puts celebrity in charity
Los Angeles Gregory Peck has helped raise $350,000 to teach adults to read.
Peck is the honorary chairman of The Literary Odyssey Dinners, fund-raising events that are held at celebrities' homes and feature a well-known author. The dinners, which cost $300 to $2,500 per plate, took place Nov. 3 in Santa Barbara and Nov. 5 in Los Angeles County.
Philanthropist Eli Broad donated $200,000 of the money for adult literacy programs through the Los Angeles Public Library and its 67 branches.
In 1997 and 1999, the literacy fund-raising dinners drew more than $750,000, publicist Judi Davidson said Thursday.
The program is run by the Library Foundation of Los Angeles, a nonprofit fund-raising group run by 250 women.
Jazz artist inspired by tragedy
New York Jazz musician and composer Alex Bugnon said he was inspired to write the song "Sunset Over Manhattan" while looking at the New York skyline the day after the terrorist attacks.
"I drove along the deserted West Side Highway and saw a beautiful sunset behind the smoke that had engulfed the city," Bugnon said Thursday. "At that moment, I observed what looked like thousands of angels flying overhead."
Bugnon performed "Sunset Over Manhattan" during a Nov. 14 benefit concert at the Beacon Theater in New York.