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Archive for Tuesday, December 4, 2007

People in the news

December 4, 2007

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Victim of bat attack to sue Knievel's estate

Los Angeles - Of all the bones Evel Knievel broke over the years, the costliest may have been the left arm of a PR man by the name of Shelly Saltman.

Saltman won $12.75 million in damages against Knievel after the motorcycle daredevil attacked him with a baseball bat in 1977 in a rage over a book Saltman had written about the showman.

With interest, the still-uncollected sum has grown to more than $100 million by Saltman's estimate, and he intends to try to collect it.

"We are going hot and heavy after his estate," Saltman told The Associated Press after Knievel died Friday at 69.

Whether Knievel's estate has that kind of money is unclear.

Although little remembered today, the incident made headlines worldwide when the death-defying motorcyclist approached Saltman in the parking lot of 20th Century Fox on Sept. 21, 1977, and suddenly started swinging a bat. Saltman, then a studio executive, raised his arm to protect his head, a move he says doctors told him probably saved his life.

His arm was shattered and is held together to this day with a steel plate and screws.

Knievel, who broke nearly 40 of his own bones during his many motorcycle stunts, served six months in jail and would never again enjoy the public acclaim he had when he tried unsuccessfully to jump Idaho's Snake River Canyon on a jet-powered motorcycle in 1974 - an event Saltman had promoted.

Imus back on air

New York - A repentant Don Imus, vowing that he had learned his lesson, came back to radio Monday, eight months after his racially offensive remarks about the women's basketball team at Rutgers got him booted off the air by CBS Radio.

The new Imus show, broadcast on WABC-AM in New York, features two black cast members, comedians Karith Foster and Tony Powell.

In a monologue before a live audience, Imus said he had hit rock bottom after using the term "nappy-headed hos" to describe the Rutgers squad - just as he had earlier in his life when he stumbled into drug and alcohol addiction.

Wearing his trademark cowboy hat, Imus chatted with his usual lineup of high-profile guests, including presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin and Democrat Chris Dodd and Republican John McCain, both presidential hopefuls.

Spice Girls reunite

Vancouver, British Columbia - The Spice Girls began their reunion tour on Sunday, with the original lineup performing together for the first time in nearly 10 years.

Resplendent in gold and bronze duds by Italian designer Roberto Cavalli, the Girls - Melanie "Sporty Spice" Chisholm, Geri "Ginger Spice" Halliwell, Victoria "Posh Spice" Beckham, Emma "Baby Spice" Bunton, and Melanie "Scary Spice" Brown - shimmered through a show that included their signature song, "Spice Up Your Life," followed by "Stop" and "Say You'll Be There."

The show was the first with all five original Spices since Halliwell quit to pursue a solo career in 1998. They broke up in 2001.

Other stops on their reunion tour include Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York, London and Madrid.

Jay Leno to pay laid-off staffers

Los Angeles - "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno will cover his nonwriting staff's salaries during the TV writers' strike, Zap2it.com reports. NBC laid off the staff on Friday.

Leno joins NBC late-night host Conan O'Brien and David Letterman in picking up the salaries of staffers. Talks in the labor dispute are scheduled to resume today.

Hewitt has no love for unkind photographers

New York - An angry Jennifer Love Hewitt is defending her curves after photos of her in a bikini were ridiculed on the Internet.

"I've sat by in silence for a long time now about the way women's bodies are constantly scrutinized," the 28-year-old actress writes on her Web site. "To set the record straight, I'm not upset for me, but for all the girls out there that are struggling with their body image."

The photos show Hewitt, with a bit of cellulite, on a Hawaii beach with her new fiance, Scottish actor Ross McCall.

Several sites posted the shots, along with some less-than-complimentary comments. TMZ.com, for example, said, "We know what you ate this summer, Love - everything!"

"A size 2 is not fat! Nor will it ever be," Hewitt responded in a post Thursday. "And being a size 0 doesn't make you beautiful.

"What I should be doing is celebrating some of the best days of my life and my engagement to the man of my dreams, instead of having to deal with photographers taking invasive pictures from bad angles."

Pitt plans new New Orleans homes

New Orleans - Brad Pitt expects the foundations to be built for at least 150 eco-friendly homes in New Orleans' Lower 9th Ward by the end of next summer.

The initiative, called Make It Right, is Pitt's latest effort to help the area recover from Hurricane Katrina. Pitt, 43, has also worked with the environmental organization Global Green USA to build five single-family homes and an 18-unit apartment complex and community center; earlier this year, he and Angelina Jolie purchased a mansion in the French Quarter.

Pitt has pledged $5 million of his own money to the project.

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