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Archive for Thursday, October 12, 2006

People in the news

October 12, 2006

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Jewelry auction sparkles

New York - Ellen Barkin's jewelry, more than 100 pieces that included her wedding ring from her marriage to Revlon billionaire Ron Perelman, has fetched $20.3 million at auction.

A hush came over the packed Christie's sales room Tuesday evening when the auctioneer announced the sale of the ring, a wide band set with four rows of bell-cut diamonds topped in 18-carat gold.

It sold for $130,000, surpassing a presale estimate of $50,000. The auction house did not disclose the buyer's name.

Among the other 103 lots, ranging from period jewels and gemstones, a 22.76-carat diamond ring was purchased by a private American collector for $1.8 million - the highest price of the night.

Christie's said the 52-year-old film star was "thrilled" with the outcome of the sale.

The $20.3 million total "makes Ellen Barkin's collection the highest single-owner jewelry sale of the past 15 years in the U.S. and also places it among the top four ever worldwide," said Rahul Kadakia, head of Christie's jewelry department.

All prices include the auction house's commission.

Barkin and Perelman married in 2000 and divorced six years later. The billionaire chairman of Revlon Inc. has a net worth of more than $6 billion.

Taking a 'SpongeBob' plunge

New York - All it took was daddy's little girl to turn David Bowie from a rock star into the voice of a cartoon.

Bowie will be a guest on Nickelodeon's "SpongeBob SquarePants," playing a character called Lord Royal Highness in a show that will air next year.

Bowie, 59, said his 6-year-old daughter, Alexandria Zahra, is a huge SpongeBob fan and they watch the show together. He wrote in his blog that he's "hit the Holy Grail of animation gigs."

"We, the family, are thrilled. Nothing else need happen this year, well, this week anyway," Bowie said.

Bowie, who received a lifetime achievement honor at the Grammys this year and whose songs include "Fame," "Young Americans" and "Space Oddity," was previously the voice of Boz in David Cage's 1999 "Omikron: The Nomad Soul." He plays inventor and electrical engineer Nikola Tesla in Christopher Nolan's upcoming movie "The Prestige," in theaters Oct. 20.

Smith, attorney part ways

Atlanta - Anna Nicole Smith's lead attorney in the Bahamas said Wednesday he has withdrawn as counsel for the reality TV star, citing disagreements on matters of strategy and concerns about her conduct.

Michael Scott said he was unsettled by Smith's decision to exchange vows with her boyfriend, Howard Stern, even before she made funeral arrangements for Daniel Smith, her 20-year-old son who died Sept. 10. People magazine bought photos of the ceremony, which was not a legal wedding and was held aboard a catamaran on Sept. 28 in waters off Nassau, Bahamas.

"A disagreement on a commercial transaction made it difficult for us to remain as counsel," Scott told The Associated Press over the phone.

A Nassau funeral home has been holding Daniel Smith's embalmed body while awaiting further instructions from the family. He died while visiting Smith in a Bahamas hospital where she had given birth to a daughter three days earlier.

House project condemned

Los Angeles - Dr. Phil has left the building, and not a moment too soon for some of the people living near television's Dr. Phil House.

Filming has wrapped up at the Los Angeles house where troubled guests spent time living together for a weekly segment on the psychologist's popular "Dr. Phil" TV show, according to a statement released Tuesday by a spokeswoman for the show.

FilmL.A., a nonprofit organization that oversees production permits for the city, was advised not to issue any more for the Dr. Phil House after neighbors complained, said FilmL.A. President Steve MacDonald.

But the show stopped seeking permits last month, according to the statement from Theresa Corigliano.

"'The Dr. Phil Show' has completed filming at this location, which was never intended to be the only site of the Dr. Phil House," Corigliano said.

She declined to say how many other Dr. Phil Houses are planned and where they will be located.

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