People in the news

David Blaine breaks world record

Chicago – David Blaine took on a Zen-like appearance in the water tank as the minutes ticked by during his attempt to set a new breath-holding record. Oprah Winfrey, however, was anything but calm.

She fidgeted in her chair, pursed her lips, placed her head in her hands, and kept seeking reassurance from the doctor at her side about the 35-year-old magician’s persistently high heart rate.

“I’ll be glad when it’s over. I don’t like suspense,” she told the audience during a commercial break.

Soon enough, Winfrey – and Blaine – could breathe a lot easier.

Submerged in a water-filled sphere on the stage of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” during a live broadcast, Blaine held his breath for 17 minutes and 4 seconds. That bested the previous record of 16 minutes and 32 seconds, set Feb. 10 by Switzerland’s Peter Colat, according to Guinness World Records.

Blaine had a smile on his face soon after his head rose above the water and he took several deep gulps of air. Within about a minute, he was able to hold a microphone and tell Winfrey, “I feel great,” later adding that breaking the record was a fulfillment of “a lifelong dream.”

Report: Ian McKellen to reprise Gandalf role

London – Ian McKellen will again take up the robes of Gandalf the Wizard in the cinematic adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy classic “The Hobbit,” a British film magazine reported Wednesday.

But McKellen’s publicist warned that final arrangements were yet to be made.

“Of course he wants to do it, but nothing’s been agreed or signed,” Clair Dobbs said.

Empire magazine’s Web site quoted McKellen as saying that director Guillermo del Toro told him he would again be playing the white-haired wizard.

“He confirmed that I would be reprising the role,” the magazine quoted McKellen as saying. “Obviously, it’s not a part that you turn down, I loved playing Gandalf.”

Judge tosses out lawsuit against J.Lo

New York – A judge on Wednesday tossed out a lawsuit by a television writer who claimed Jennifer Lopez had a hand in stealing his idea for a TV series.

Writer Jack Bunick claimed in a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan that the series “South Beach” that debuted in January 2006 was too similar to a plot he described in 1999 for a pilot episode of a show that would have been called “South Beach Miami.” The lawsuit named Lopez, UPN, CBS Television and others as defendants.

The show, which has since been canceled, aired on UPN. The show was described as being about best friends Matt and Vincent, who left their lives in Brooklyn to move to South Beach in hope of finding a better future.

Cher dated Tom Cruise when he was young

Chicago – Cher says she dated Tom Cruise when he was just a “shy boy.”

The singer-actress discussed the relationship on an episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” taped Saturday in Las Vegas before a crowd of 4,000 people, according to Harpo Productions.

The episode, which also features Tina Turner, will air May 8.

Winfrey plans to feature Cruise during episodes airing Friday and Monday. She told Cher that when she was at Cruise’s Colorado home recently, the actor stressed that Winfrey should say hello to Cher for him.

“So how much of a date was that?” Winfrey asked, according to advance remarks released Wednesday by Harpo Productions.

“Oh, that was a long date,” Cher said. “Really. I lived in his apartment.”

Cher is now 61, Cruise 45.

“He was so wonderful. And I was so crazy about him,” said Cher, an Oscar, Emmy and Grammy winner who has released 25 albums that have sold more than 100 million copies. “And he was so, like, different. He was a shy boy. He didn’t have any money.”

Tina Turner says she’s hitting the road again

Chicago – Tina Turner says she’s hitting the road again for her first tour in the United States in seven years.

The 68-year-old singer announced on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” that it will begin Oct. 1 in Kansas City, Mo. Tickets for Turner’s tour go on sale May 12.

The R&B legend appeared with singer-actress Cher, 61, on an episode taped Saturday in Las Vegas .

Vin Diesel endorses Dominican president

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic – Vin Diesel has stopped chasing bad guys long enough to endorse the president of the Dominican Republic for re-election.

Diesel appears in a Dominican campaign commercial urging a vote for his friend, President Leonel Fernandez. The endorsement first aired Wednesday on local TV stations and is paired with movie clips that show Diesel running, driving and surviving a bomb explosion.