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Archive for Friday, November 7, 2008

People in the news

November 7, 2008

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Critic John Leonard dies at age 69

New York - Literary and cultural critic John Leonard, an early champion of Toni Morrison, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and many other authors, and so consumed and informed by books that Kurt Vonnegut once praised him as "the smartest man who ever lived," has died at age 69, his stepdaughter said Thursday.

Leonard died at Mount Sinai Hospital Wednesday night from complications from lung cancer, stepdaughter Jen Nessel said.

A former union activist and community organizer, Leonard was an emphatic liberal whose career began in the 1960s at the conservative National Review and continued at countless other publications, including The New York Times, The New Republic, The Nation and The Atlantic Monthly. He was also a TV critic for New York magazine, a columnist for Newsday and a commentator for "CBS Sunday Morning."

Leonard had the critic's most fortunate knack of being ahead of his time. He was the first major reviewer to assess Morrison's fiction and the first major American critic to write about Marquez.

As the literary director for radio station KPFA in Berkeley, Calif., Leonard featured the commentary of Pauline Kael before she became famous as a film critic for The New Yorker. Leonard was also an early advocate of Mary Gordon, Maxine Hong Kingston and other women writers.

2 'Oprah' debuts: 'Mr. Man' and will.i.am video

Chicago - Becoming an instant election celebrity can be a burden - just ask Joe the Plumber - but "Mr. Man" is apparently ready to shoulder it.

The man whose shoulder Oprah Winfrey cried on during an Election Day rally in Chicago will appear with Winfrey Friday on a live episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show," Chicago-based Harpo Productions said.

Colleagues have identified the man as Sam Perry, a Barack Obama campaign worker from California. Co-worker Karen Wark said Perry worked at the Silicon Valley for Obama office, but didn't give further details.

Winfrey thanked the guy on Wednesday she called "Mr. Man" for letting her cry on his shoulder, while noting that she didn't know him.

Also debuting on Friday's "The Oprah Winfrey Show" will be a new, slightly delayed Obama music video from will.i.am.

The Black Eyed Peas leader had said "It's A New Day" would debut on dipdive.com Wednesday, the day after Obama was elected. Will.i.am's publicist now says Oprah will debut the clip, with other celebrities on hand, and that dipdive.com will then post it later in the day.

Hall & Oates sue over 'Maneater' recording

New York - Daryl Hall and John Oates have filed a lawsuit saying their music publisher failed to protect their rights to their 1982 hit "Maneater."

The pop duo's lawsuit, filed in Manhattan's state Supreme Court, says they learned in April 2007 that an unidentified singer-songwriter had used "Maneater" in a 2006 recording.

"Money's the matter / If you're in it for love, you ain't gonna get too far," the song goes. "Oh, here she comes / Watch out, boy, she'll chew you up / Oh, here she comes / She's a maneater."

The singers' court papers claim Warner/Chappell Music Inc. breached its publishing contract with them by refusing "in bad faith" to sue for copyright infringement.

The singers seek unspecified money damages and want to terminate their agreement with Warner/Chappell.

Warner/Chappell spokeswoman Amanda Collins said Thursday the lawsuit was "completely without merit."

Mos Def sought over camera scuffle

Las Vegas - Mos Def was being sought by police on an arrest warrant stemming from a scuffle with a photographer at a fashion trade show last August, authorities and the alleged victim said Thursday.

"I had no idea who the man was," said Volker Corell, 60, a Los Angeles-based photographer who said the 35-year-old rapper and actor, whose real name is Dante Terrell Smith, ripped his camera from around his neck Aug. 26.

Corell said he was credentialed to represent a trade publication, and was taking photos at the Men's Apparel and Garment Industry Convention in Las Vegas when he was allegedly attacked. He said the last four photos before his camera was broken clearly show Smith reaching toward him.

"The last shot was his hands in front of the lens," Corell said.

Investigators expected Smith would turn himself in by the end of the week to face a warrant charge of felony robbery and misdemeanor malicious destruction of property, Las Vegas police spokesman Ramon Denby said.

'Girls Next Door' co-star engaged

Los Angeles - One of Hugh Hefner's live-in girlfriends is trading the grotto for the gridiron.

The Playboy mogul said in a statement Thursday that "The Girls Next Door" co-star Kendra Wilkinson is engaged to Philadelphia Eagles receiver Hank Baskett. The 23-year-old model-actress has lived with Hefner since 2004 and currently co-stars as one of his three girlfriends in the E! reality series.

"I have given her my blessing and will be giving her away at a very special wedding ceremony at the Playboy Mansion this coming June," Hefner said.

The 82-year-old publisher's love life has been in flux. Last month, he and "number one" girlfriend Holly Madison called it quits. Twin 19-year-olds Karissa and Kristina Shannon are currently living with Hefner.

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