Archive for Saturday, August 25, 2007

People in the News

August 25, 2007

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Director John Singleton involved in fatal wreck

Los Angeles - Oscar-nominated director John Singleton was driving a Lexus sport utility vehicle when it struck and killed a jaywalker who stepped in front of the car, police said Friday.

Singleton, 39, immediately stopped his car and waited for police to arrive after the accident Thursday night in the city's Jefferson Park neighborhood, said Officer Jason Lee, a police spokesman.

"Mr. Singleton stopped and identified himself as required by law and was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol," Lee said. "He was questioned and released."

The woman was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead Friday morning, Lee said. She was identified as Constance Russell, 57, of Los Angeles.

Other details were not immediately released, and an after-hours call to Singleton's agent was not immediately returned.

Singleton, whose debut film, 1991's "Boyz N The Hood," earned him two Oscar nominations, has also directed "Poetic Justice," "Shaft," and "2 Fast 2 Furious." He was the producer of "Hustle & Flow," "Black Snake Moan" and the just-released "Illegal Tender."

Winehouse bloody after alleged fight with hubby

London - A British newspaper splashed photos of singer Amy Winehouse bloody and bruised across its Friday edition after she allegedly had a fight with her husband.

The photos, supposedly taken early Thursday, showed Winehouse wearing blood-soaked ballet shoes, with bruises to her neck, bandages on her arms and makeup smeared down her face.

A gossip Web site reported that Winehouse had said her injuries were self-inflicted.

Police confirmed they had been called to an incident at a London hotel by a concerned member of the public but said no charges were filed.

The singer announced Tuesday that she was postponing her upcoming U.S. and Canadian tour dates after she canceled August performances due to "severe exhaustion."

Britain's Press Association said the couple were staying in the hotel after leaving a drug rehabilitation clinic in Essex, east of London.

Kanye West voices advocacy of education

Chicago - Kanye West says he isn't political and has no interest in "who's running with who" in the 2008 election. But the 30-year-old hip-hop mogul filmed a public service announcement Friday for an advocacy group trying to make education the top priority for the next president.

"Politics is a business," the six-time Grammy winner told The Associated Press on Friday. "I'm more social. I just care about people."

During the filming of the television commercial, sponsored by Strong American Schools and his own Kanye West Foundation, West read from a script at the front of a mock classroom filled with real Chicago students.

Handbag, credit cards stolen from Dunst's room

New York - Thieves snatched a $13,000 handbag, cell phone and ID cards from "Spider-Man" star Kirsten Dunst's penthouse suite at a posh Manhattan hotel, court records shows.

Dunst was in the city to shoot scenes for the upcoming film "How to Lose Friends and Alienate People." She had left her suite at the SoHo Grand Hotel early Aug. 9, when the thieves slipped in.

A surveillance camera showed the burglars leaving the hotel, according to the complaint filed in the case. It said they also got away with $2,500 in cash, credit cards, two digital cameras and an iPod music player.

One suspect, Jarrod Beinerman, 33, was being held on $50,000 bond after being arraigned in a Manhattan court Wednesday on burglary and grand larceny charges.

Beinerman's attorney, James Kirschner, told the judge the surveillance camera showed his client wasn't carrying anything in his hands when he left the SoHo Grand.

Authorities have since recovered the credit cards, IDs and cell phone.

'Idol' runner-up signs with Arista Records

New York - Blake Lewis has reaped another "American Idol" reward - a record deal.

Lewis, who finished second to Jordin Sparks in the final "Idol" faceoff in May, has signed a contract with Arista Records in conjunction with 19Recordings, the label managed by "Idol" creator Simon Fuller, it was announced Friday.

His debut album is slated for release later this year.

Lewis, 26, of Bothell, Wash., specialized in beatbox sound-effects during his run on the Fox talent show's sixth season. His big TV moment came when he added hip-hop beats to a performance of Bon Jovi's "You Give Love a Bad Name," irking guest mentor Jon Bon Jovi in the process.

Queen guitarist May awarded doctorate

London - Guitarist and songwriter Brian May has completed his doctorate in astrophysics - three decades after he put academia on hold to form the rock group Queen.

The rocker was awarded his qualification Thursday by London's Imperial College and said submitting his thesis, "Radial Velocities in the Zodiacal Dust Cloud," to supervisors was as nerve-racking as any stadium gig.

May was an astrophysics student at Imperial College when he joined Freddie Mercury and Roger Taylor to form Queen in 1970, but dropped his doctorate as the glam rock band became successful.

Queen became one of Britain's biggest music groups in the 1970s, with hits including "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "We Will Rock You."

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