Archive for Wednesday, April 30, 2008

People in the news

April 30, 2008


David Blaine holding breath for next stunt

Chicago - He spent 44 days suspended from a glass box by the River Thames in London. He was buried alive for a week in a see-through coffin in New York.

Magician David Blaine's latest feat of endurance likely will last less than 17 minutes, but he's planning to do it in front of talk show queen Oprah Winfrey - and her audience of millions.

Blaine on Wednesday will try to break the world record for breath-holding during a live broadcast of "The Oprah Winfrey Show," less than two years after going into convulsions during a similar attempt.

The time he has to beat is 16 minutes and 32 seconds, a record set Feb. 10 by Switzerland's Peter Colat, according to Guinness World Records.

Blaine, 35, will be attempting his latest stunt in a water-filled sphere, dubbed a "human aquarium" by his team, that's 8 feet in diameter. He'll try to remain perfectly still, relax and lower his heart rate to minimize oxygen consumption.

But before he enters the sphere, he plans to spend about 23 minutes breathing pure oxygen through a mask to saturate his blood with oxygen and flush out carbon dioxide. Up to 30 minutes of so-called "oxygen hyperventilation" is allowed under Guinness guidelines, according to company spokeswoman Laura Plunkett.

Angela Bassett to star in final season of 'ER'

New York - Angela Bassett will don the white coat for the final season of "ER."

NBC's medical drama announced that the 49-year-old actress, who won a Golden Globe for playing Tina Turner in 1993's "What's Love Got to Do With It," is joining the "ER" cast.

She'll play an attending physician who is returning to Chicago after doing tsunami relief work in Indonesia.

Her character's toughness hides a troubled past that will unfold during the season, producers say.

"Angela is a wonderfully talented actress who I've long hoped to work with," said John Wells, executive producer of the series.

Wells is hoping to lure many of the "ER" cast's alumni back for appearances for the show's 15th and final season.

Prosecutors decline to charge Vanilla Ice

West Palm Beach, Fla. - Authorities decided against prosecuting Vanilla Ice for a domestic battery charge since his wife recanted her original statement.

The 40-year-old performer (real name: Robert Van Winkle) - who sold 15 million copies of the single "Ice Ice Baby" in 1990 - was arrested April 10 at the couple's home. Authorities said his wife called 911 and claimed he kicked and hit her during an argument. She later told deputies he only pushed her.

In an affidavit provided to Palm Beach County prosecutors, Laura Van Winkle recanted her original allegations. She now says any physical confrontation was accidental.

Prosecutors on Tuesday closed the case.

Alleged Jimi Hendrix sex tape to be released

Los Angeles - Vivid Entertainment is releasing a sex tape allegedly starring Jimi Hendrix.

The Los Angeles-based adult entertainment company said they obtained the sex tape from a memorabilia collector.

The 11 minutes of footage, reportedly shot in a hotel room about 40 years ago, features Hendrix - or someone who looks like him - engaged in various sexual acts with two women.

The company said it consulted with experts to authenticate the footage. But Charles R. Cross, author of the Hendrix biography "Room Full of Mirrors," has seen the film and doubts the man is Hendrix.

Cross said the face and nostrils of the man depicted in the video don't match Hendrix. He also said the man in the tape is wearing more rings that Hendrix was known to wear.

"This is somebody that looks like Jimi or is pretending to look like him, but it certainly didn't look like a dead-on match to me," Cross told The Associated Press during a telephone interview Tuesday.

Hendrix, who headlined the legendary Woodstock Festival in 1969, died of a drug overdose in 1970.

'Dancing' star cramps up

New York - Getting through the samba was painful for Cristian de la Fuente on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars."

The Chilean soap star suffered a severe muscle cramp in his left forearm while performing with dance partner Cheryl Burke on Monday night's show.

De la Fuente began struggling near the end of the samba. He gripped his arm and seemingly tried to shake off the pain. But it finally gave away when he couldn't hold onto Burke anymore, and she fell to the floor.

Judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli praised de la Fuente for carrying on despite his injury. They each gave him a score of "7."

"You cannot predict what happens," Tonioli told de la Fuente. "You did your best and we appreciate that."

De la Fuente and Burke remain in the competition after surviving Tuesday's elimination show. De la Fuente said he may have surgery on his arm later.


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