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Archive for Thursday, December 27, 2007

People in the news

December 27, 2007

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Director didn't worry about Depp's singing

London - "The Sound of Music" with blood. That's how Tim Burton describes his latest film, "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street."

The movie, based on the Stephen Sondheim musical about a murderous barber, stars Johnny Depp as the title character and Helena Bonham Carter, whose character serves the barber's victims up in her meat pies.

Burton says he didn't worry about whether Depp could sing.

"I worry about a lot of things but I strangely did not fear that at all," the 49-year-old director told reporters recently, according to AP Radio. "He exceeded my expectation."

Rapper Yung Joc hours late to arraignment

Cleveland - Rap performer Yung Joc, accused of taking a loaded gun to an airport, showed up seven hours late to his arraignment Wednesday and left court without commenting on the charge.

A judge issued an arrest warrant after Joc, whose real name is Jasiel Robinson, failed to appear in court for a scheduled 8:30 a.m. hearing. The warrant was revoked after Robinson showed up late that afternoon.

Robinson's attorney, Stanley Jackson Jr., told the court Robinson had personal financial and family obligations. Jackson has said his client maintains his innocence.

Robinson, who faces a felony charge of carrying a concealed weapon, didn't enter a plea.

Municipal Judge Michael John Ryan had increased Robinson's bond from $50,000 to $100,000 after he failed to show up in court Wednesday morning, but reduced the amount back to $50,000 when he appeared. Ryan set a preliminary hearing for Jan. 25.

Nicholson drew on own experience for new role

Los Angeles - Jack Nicholson says he drew on his own experience in the hospital for his new film, "The Bucket List."

Nicholson and Morgan Freeman co-star as cancer patients who decide to travel the world following their wish list of things to do before they die.

The film, a Warner Bros. release, was directed by Rob Reiner.

"A lot of this movie was informed by my being not what I thought I would be, an excellent patient, but rather a poor one," Nicholson told reporters recently, according to AP Radio.

"That happened by coincidence just before this movie," Nicholson, 70, said. "Nothing as frightening as what these fellows had to go through."

The actor has said he was in the hospital for a procedure that wasn't life-threatening.

Jewish group welcomes Will Smith's explanation

Los Angeles - A Jewish group said Wednesday that it accepts Will Smith's explanation that he never praised Adolf Hitler in remarks the star says were misinterpreted.

"We welcome and accept Will Smith's statement that Hitler was a 'vicious killer' and that he did not mean for his remarks about the Nazi leader to be mistaken as praise," Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said in a statement.

Smith "took immediate steps to clarify his words" and condemn Hitler, Foxman said.

Foxman said words "can be twisted by those with hate and bigotry in their hearts."

"This is why all celebrities bear a special responsibility to weigh their words carefully, and an obligation to speak out against racism and bigotry whenever even a whiff of it appears, as Will Smith has done in this instance," he said.

The Daily Record, a Scottish newspaper, recently quoted Smith as saying: "Even Hitler didn't wake up going, 'let me do the most evil thing I can do today.' I think he woke up in the morning and using a twisted, backwards logic, he set out to do what he thought was 'good.'"

The quote was preceded by the writer's observation: "Remarkably, Will believes everyone is basically good."

Josh Duhamel, Fergie engaged, publicist says

Los Angeles - Just call him The Duke. Actor Josh Duhamel and his girlfriend, Fergie, are engaged, his publicist said Wednesday.

Duhamel's publicist, Ruth Bernstein, said her client recently popped the question to the pop star, whose debut solo album is titled "The Dutchess." She did not release any other details.

Duhamel, 35, told Best Life magazine in a recent interview that he's been dating 32-year-old Fergie for about three years and that they have bought a house together.

Duhamel is the star of NBC's "Las Vegas," and appeared in the action movie "Transformers."

Fergie, whose name is Stacy Ann Ferguson, is a member of the Black Eyed Peas. Her hit song "Big Girls Don't Cry" has been nominated for a Grammy award in the best female pop vocal category.

Hotelier to leave most of his fortune to charity

Hotel magnate Barron Hilton, grandfather of heiress Paris Hilton, has bequeathed $2.3 billion, or 97 percent of his net worth, to his father's charity foundation, officials said Wednesday.

The contribution to the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, to come from the sale of Hilton Hotels Corp. and the pending sale of Harrah's Entertainment Inc. after the money is placed in a trust, is the largest in the foundation's history and will bring its value to about $4.5 billion.

Barron Hilton, 80, pledged an immediate $1.2 billion donation to the foundation, with an estimated $1.1 billion to follow after his death. He is the foundation's chairman.

Hotelier Conrad Hilton, Barron's father, established the charity in 1944 and left nearly all his fortune to the organization when he died in 1979.

The charity has distributed $560 million over more than six decades for programs to aid the blind, house mentally ill homeless individuals, prevent substance abuse and increase access to safe water in Africa and Mexico.

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