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Archive for Thursday, October 25, 2007

People in the news

October 25, 2007

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Chan records Olympics countdown song

Hong Kong - Jackie Chan has flexed his vocal muscles for the Olympics.

The 53-year-old actor, best known for his daredevil stunts, has recorded "We Are Ready," the official countdown song to the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.

He spent three hours recording the song during a recent trip to Beijing, Chan said in a blog entry on his Web site Wednesday.

Chan, star of the "Rush Hour" movies, dabbles in music and has released several albums.

He praised the lyrics of the Mandarin Chinese song composed by Peter Kam, who won a Silver Bear award for best film music at the Berlin Film Festival last year.

"Waiting year after year/ We can see into the future/ Together with hard work and sweat, we've created the five different (Olympic) colors," says one refrain.

Olympic organizers have also recorded a second Chinese version sung by more than 100 pop stars, Kam said.

Sean Combs to head up premium vodka line

New York - Just five years ago, Sean "Diddy" Combs asked Busta Rhymes to "pass the Courvoisier." These days, it's all about the vodka.

The 37-year-old hip-hop mogul has inked a multiyear deal to develop the Ciroc vodka brand - one of Diageo PLC's superpremium lines - for a 50-50 share in the profits.

It's the latest agreement in which a celebrity is going beyond the typical endorser role to share in a brand's rise and fall, such as Jay-Z with Budweiser and 50 Cent with Vitamin Water.

Diageo said the agreement could be worth more than $100 million for Combs over the course of the deal, depending on how well the brand performs.

"It is not an endorsement deal," Combs told The Associated Press on Tuesday night. "This is something that will have my daily attention."

Combs said he wanted to work with Diageo because the company understood that "I'm not just a celebrity endorser, I'm a brand builder. I'm a luxury brand builder."

Combs said he will be responsible for everything from marketing the brand to deciding where to sell it, and will focus on attracting "movers and shakers" to the line.

Foxy Brown placed in punitive segregation

New York - Rapper Foxy Brown was given 76 days in punitive segregation at Rikers Island jail after she scuffled with another inmate, authorities said Tuesday.

Brown, 28, was separated from other inmates on Oct. 16, said Stephen Morello, deputy commissioner for public information for the city's correction department.

Brown and another inmate got into a shoving match earlier this month, said Morello, adding he didn't know why the two were fighting. Neither inmate was injured.

Following that incident, Morello said Brown was abusive toward correction guards and then refused to take a random drug test.

The combined violations, Morello said, earned Brown more than two months in punitive segregation, where an inmate can spend up to 23 hours a day in isolation.

Brown is serving a year at Rikers for violating her probation in a case stemming from a Manhattan fight she had with manicurists in a nail salon.

TV series cancelation disappoints couple

Sydney, Australia - Hugh Jackman's wife and business partner says the couple are disappointed their "Viva Laughlin" TV series has been canceled.

CBS axed the show in the U.S. after airing only two episodes because of low ratings. Australia's Nine Network pulled it after a single airing.

"We are obviously very disappointed, but you have to take risks in this business," Deborra-Lee Furness said Wednesday in Sydney.

The offbeat song-and-dance drama, based on the British miniseries "Viva Blackpool," drew largely poor reviews in the U.S.

"Viva Laughlin" was the first project for Jackman's Australian production company, Seed, which he owns with Furness.

"Doing a drama that is a musical is going to be a huge risk," Furness said. "If I'm going to fail, I want to fail spectacularly, and it seems like we did."

Robert Goulet in need of lung transplant

Las Vegas - Singer and actor Robert Goulet is heavily sedated and breathing through a respirator in a Los Angeles hospital while he awaits a lung transplant, his wife told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

"He can hear me but he can't respond," Vera Goulet said of the 73-year-old crooner.

Vera Goulet said doctors told her the lung transplants are the most successful operation of any transplant, with a success rate of 88 percent. A suitable donor has yet to be found, she said.

"God willing, if we proceed with this, our doctors feel that there's no reason he will not have at least 15 years of life doing what he does, going back on stage and singing," she said. "That's very encouraging."

The singer fell ill when flying home to Las Vegas after performing at a Sept. 20 concert in Syracuse, N.Y., his wife said. Doctors initially assumed it was some kind of bug, but he got weaker until he had to be rushed to the hospital 10 days later, she said.

Goulet was diagnosed with a form of pulmonary fibrosis that his official Web site described as a "rapidly progressive and fatal condition."

He was transported to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles as a transplant patient Oct. 13.

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