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Archive for Thursday, June 23, 2005

People in the news

June 23, 2005

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Gibson stalker given three years in prison

Los Angeles - An Idaho drifter convicted of stalking Mel Gibson was sentenced Wednesday to three years in state prison.

Zack Sinclair, who had confronted Gibson after the release of the actor-director's film "The Passion of the Christ," was convicted in March of one felony count of stalking.

Sinclair was arrested in September 2004. Prosecutors said he went to the gate of Gibson's Malibu estate repeatedly that month after evading neighborhood security and asked to pray with the star.

The 35-year-old Sinclair, dressed in a yellow and blue jail jumpsuit, acted as his own lawyer. He declined to speak during the brief sentencing hearing in Superior Court.

He has remained in custody and will immediately begin serving the sentence.

Gibson, 49, wasn't in court for the sentencing. His spokesman said the actor was vacationing with his family and could not immediately be reached for comment.

During the trial, Gibson testified that he was attending church services in September when he got up briefly and returned to find Sinclair sitting in his seat. Sinclair moved within a few inches of his face, Gibson said, telling him, "Hi, I'm here to pray with you."

Gibson said Sinclair wasn't "overtly threatening," but he worried about his family's safety.

"My wife was upset and worried. She didn't want to find him in the living room drinking tea," Gibson said.

Housekeeper charged with thefts from celebrities

New York - A housekeeper who worked in the homes of some of Manhattan's rich and famous was charged with stealing diamond earrings and expensive clothing from clients and making purchases on at least one of their credit cards.

Authorities did not say who the alleged victims were, but published reports Wednesday said Lucyna Turyk-Wawrynowicz was accused of stealing from Candice Bergen, Isabella Rossellini and Robert De Niro and his wife, Grace Hightower.

Prosecutor Anne Schwartz said Turyk-Wawrynowicz, 35, of Queens, stole from at least three clients in the past four years. She was arraigned Tuesday on charges of grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, forgery and coercion.

The housekeeper's lawyer, Jeffrey Berman, said Turyk-Wawrynowicz had come to the United States from Poland several years ago and had worked variously as a nanny, cook and housekeeper for several "high-profile celebrity individuals."

DiCaprio files police report over attack at party

Los Angeles - Leonardo DiCaprio has filed a police report over an attack at a Hollywood party that left him needing stitches.

The star of "Titanic" and "The Aviator" stated that he was attacked with a deadly weapon while attending a party given by Paris Hilton's ex-boyfriend, Rick Salomon, authorities said Tuesday. DiCaprio said his injuries required several stitches.

Police officer Kevin Mailberger said DiCaprio contacted the Los Angeles Police Department's Hollywood division Monday afternoon to file the complaint.

People magazine reported the 30-year-old actor was attacked by a woman with what appeared to be a beer bottle at a party at Salomon's home about 4 a.m. Friday, opening a wound near DiCaprio's ear that needed about a dozen stitches to close.

Star of new zombie film tells when it's good to be a zombie

Los Angeles - So would John Leguizamo rather take the bullet to the head and be done with all this zombie fuss, or would he prefer to become one of the walking dead himself?

Depends on where he is when the zombies bite him.

Leguizamo, 40, co-stars in the zombie thriller "George Romero's Land of the Dead," which opens Friday. In director Romero's zombie lore, once bitten by a zombie, people inevitably die and come back as flesh-craving ghouls themselves. The only way to avoid that fate is a bullet to the brain.

If bitten, Leguizamo told The Associated Press, he might view his transformation into a zombie as a way to get payback on show-business people who have crossed him.

"If I was in Hollywood and I got bitten by a zombie, I would want to stay a zombie and then take down as many people as I could," said Leguizamo, who lives in upstate New York. "But if I was back with my family, I would definitely bite the bullet, because it's my loved ones, and I don't want to hurt my loved ones.

"But if I'm out here, let me be. I want to bite as many people as I can. Bite them back, so to speak."

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