Archive for Wednesday, August 24, 2005

People in the news

August 24, 2005

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Actress clips family's car while trying to evade photographers

Los Angeles - Scarlett Johansson was involved in an accident last week while trying to duck photographers who had tracked her to a Disneyland parking lot, her publicist said.

The actress wasn't hurt in Thursday's accident in Anaheim, according to Marcel Pariseau. Police said they were aware of what happened but didn't have details.

Johansson, 20, was with two friends when she noticed four sport utility vehicles following her after she left her Hollywood home, Pariseau said.

Johansson paid the $10 fee to enter a lot at the amusement park when she tried to get away from the vehicles and swerved, clipping the right side of a car carrying a woman and her two daughters, Pariseau said.

"(The) four SUVs surrounded the accident," Pariseau said. "She saw one photographer come out of his car and start snapping away."

Arnold Cousart, co-owner of JFX Direct photo agency, said two of his photographers had been following Johansson for four days and had tracked her to Disneyland, along with at least one other photographer from a rival agency.

He said his photographers had nothing to do with the collision.

"Our photographers were about a block (behind her) when the collision occurred," Cousart said. "She was basically by herself. There wasn't any car behind her closer than 40 yards."

Anaheim Police Department Sgt. Rick Martinez said no one filed a police report and police aren't investigating the accident. California Highway Patrol officers who responded didn't take a report because the crash occurred within the city of Anaheim, a CHP spokesman said.

The Los Angeles County district attorney's office is investigating whether increasingly aggressive celebrity photographers are initiating confrontations to capture lucrative photos.

Johansson, who has starred in movies such as "Lost in Translation" and "The Island," has left Los Angeles and hopes state legislators will enact a law "to avoid these situations," Pariseau said.

"She's frustrated," he said. "She can't deal with it anymore."

Sean Penn pens about trip to Tehran, Iran

San Francisco - Sean Penn is writing about his experiences traveling to Tehran, Iran, in a five-part series in the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Oscar-winning actor traveled to Tehran in June. Penn arrived the week before the Iranian elections. The Chronicle also has published previous accounts of his travels.

In the first installment, Penn wrote about the difficulties of obtaining a visa, how women are instructed to cover their heads before landing, and some tense moments when he was fingerprinted entering Iran.

Given a press credential by Chronicle Executive Editor Phil Bronstein, Penn visited Iraq in late November 2003, shortly before Saddam Hussein was captured.

Magazine pieces together 'most incredible' rock star

New York - Spin magazine has built a veritable rock star Frankenstein, composed of Michael Stipe's skull, Elvis Presley's pelvis and Madonna's bellybutton.

Spin charts the 25 "most incredible" rock star body parts in its September issue, now on newsstands. Madonna's navel tops the list.

"It's what first marked her as a mainstream provocateur," senior Spin writer Marc Spitz writes.

At No. 2 is the liver of the Rolling Stones' Keith Richards, which is so durable, Spitz writes, that "when Richards finally passes, they'll line the exterior of the space shuttle with his liver tissue."

REM singer Michael Stipe's oft-shaved skull comes in third, due to a hairline that's "not too high like Moby's or too low" like Sinead O'Connor's.

Other body parts include Presley's hip-shaking pelvis, Gene Simmons' tongue, Tina Turner's legs, 50 Cent's chest and Bruce Springsteen's butt.

Former presidential candidate sheds bachelor status

Cleveland - Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich has married a British woman, shedding the bachelor status that made headlines during his long-shot presidential campaign in 2004.

Kucinich and Elizabeth Harper, who works for a monetary-policy think tank in Chicago, were married Sunday before some 250 guests outside City Hall, where he once served as mayor.

Guests included Shirley MacLaine and Sean Penn. MacLaine and Kucinich are longtime friends, and Penn endorsed the Democrat for president last year.

It's the third marriage for the twice-divorced Kucinich, 58.

Mother of Michael Jackson's accuser charged with fraud

Los Angeles - The woman whose son accused Michael Jackson of child molestation was charged with welfare fraud Tuesday for allegedly collecting nearly $19,000 in payments while making false claims.

At Jackson's trial the woman invoked her Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination and refused to testify about the welfare matter.

But Jackson's lawyers presented evidence that she and her family had received a $150,000 settlement in a 2001 lawsuit against a department store at a time when she was claiming to be poor. They also showed the woman was receiving money from her boyfriend to pay the rent on her apartment.

The complaint filed by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office alleged that the woman hid from authorities the fact that she had received the settlement and also failed to report the receipt of $637 for payment of her rent in January 2003.

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