Leno hospitalized with illness, cancels taping
Burbank, Calif. — Jay Leno checked into a hospital with an undisclosed illness Thursday and canceled the taping of the “Tonight” show, but was doing well and planned to return next week, his publicist and NBC said.
Leno left his office at NBC’s studios about midday and checked himself into a hospital for observation, said his publicist, Dick Guttman. He would not identify what ailed Leno, but characterized it as “mild” and said the comedian continued to work Thursday, making phone calls and writing jokes.
“Jay Leno is doing just fine,” read a statement from NBC spokeswoman Tracy St. Pierre. “He was kidding around with the hospital staff and running his monologue jokes by the doctors and the nurses. He’s expected back to work on Monday.”
The network planned to air a rerun, the first time it had to cover for a sick Leno since he took over “Tonight” in 1992, St. Pierre said. Guests scheduled for Thursday included “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” actor Ryan Reynolds, celebrity animal trainer Jules Sylvester and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.
‘Rachel Zoe Project’ jumps the pond
New York — Put your résumés back where you got them, all you would-be fashionistas. Despite online rumors, Rachel Zoe hasn’t posted an ad on Craigslist looking for a new assistant.
“That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard,” the celebrity stylist said Thursday in an interview. “I would never do that. I have a full staff and about five interns right now.”
Zoe’s TV show is going strong, too. And viewers in the United Kingdom will soon get a glimpse into Zoe’s chaotic, stressful, but always fashionable life when “The Rachel Zoe Project” arrives on the Really lifestyle channel beginning May 19.
“Rachel Zoe” is also airing in Finland, Asia, Sweden and Norway. (The series’ second season premieres in the United States later this year.)
Zoe says she’s particularly excited about the deal because London is a major hub of the fashion industry.
“It’s the epitome of street-chic cool,” she said.
The 37-year-old Zoe has made a name for herself dressing such celebrities as Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson. And she’s busily developing her brand: Accessories and a fragrance will come first, followed by apparel.
Celebs urge Congress to fight global warming
Washington — Actress Ashley Judd and TV personality Jeff Corwin are urging Congress to spend $7 billion a year to help safeguard America’s wildlife from the impact of global warming.
Judd is a longtime environmental activist. The actress told a House subcommittee on Thursday that climate legislation should not just address the causes of global warming but also the effects already being seen on the ground.
Judd says evidence of global warming is already being felt on her farm in Tennessee.
Corwin is a biologist and a host on the cable channel Animal Planet. He told the committee that up to 30 percent of the world’s plant and animal species will be on the brink of extinction if action isn’t taken to curb global warming.
Grammy survives Dean home fire
Richmond, Va. — The Grammy survived, as did the pictures autographed by Elvis Presley and several presidents. Even Jimmy Dean’s gold record for his spoken word sensation, “Big Bad John,” was scooped up before a devastating fire gutted the entertainer’s riverfront estate in Virginia.
But the lanky singer’s signature boots and cowboy hats were all lost in the Monday fire that his wife, Donna Meade Dean, estimates could total in the millions. The fire’s cause is not known, but it is believed to be accidental.
“He’s still rather depressed,” a weary-sounding Donna Meade said Thursday of her husband, who declined an interview request. “But we made it out all right.”
Shaken but unharmed, the Deans fled their home high above the James River just south of Richmond in rural Varina. Three firefighters had minor injuries and caretaker Stefan Gunn was burned on both arms and hands when he dashed several times into the burning home to retrieve mementoes collected from Dean’s half-century career.
The 31-year-old Gunn was able to grab the Grammy that Dean won for “Big Bad John” in 1962, autographed photos of presidents from John F. Kennedy to both Bushes, and celebrities, said Donna Meade Dean.
Elton John ends 5-year Vegas run
Las Vegas — The Rocket Man bid farewell to the Las Vegas Strip on Wednesday after five years and 241 shows at Caesars Palace — but said it won’t necessarily be a long, long time before he returns.
Wearing a bright red shirt that matched his piano and a coat emblazoned with “Las Vegas Pirates” on its back and “Captain Elton” on its right sleeve, Elton John rolled through his hits and reflected on his time at the Colosseum, a stage he famously shared with Celine Dion, Bette Midler and Cher.
“The ex-home of Celine Dion ... and now it’s the ex-home of Elton John as well,” the 62-year-old said. John said later in the show that he’d like to see Dion play the venue again.
“Who are you going to get to fill in our shoes now?” he said. “You’ve got Bette Midler, you’ve got Cher. It’s gonna be the Village People next.”