McMahon hospitalized with ‘serious’ condition
Los Angeles — Ed McMahon, former sidekick to Johnny Carson on “Tonight” and a familiar TV commercial pitchman, is hospitalized in intensive care, and a person close to him said Friday that McMahon has bone cancer.
Spokesman Howard Bragman said McMahon, 85, had been hospitalized for several weeks for treatment of pneumonia and other ailments. He declined to identify the Los Angeles facility.
“It’s serious,” Bragman said when asked about McMahon’s condition, noting his age. But, Bragman added: “We’re hopeful.”
A person close to McMahon, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information, said the illnesses included bone cancer.
Bragman said McMahon’s wife and family are with him and appreciate the public expressions of concern.
Page explains why he left Barenaked Ladies
Toronto — Singer-guitarist Steven Page said a big reason he decided to leave the Barenaked Ladies was he felt his songwriting voice was occasionally being squeezed out as a result of being in a five-member band.
A day after he announced on the band’s Web site that he was leaving the group, Page said the Barenaked Ladies has so many songwriting voices that he’s looking forward to a future as a solo artist.
“Frankly, the band itself was a five-way democracy and one of the great things about it is that it’s been about the five-way collaboration, but it’s also one of the things that’s made me decide to be a solo artist,” he said Thursday.
The Barenaked Ladies were formed in Toronto nearly 20 years ago. Their hits include “If I Had $1,000,000,” “Brian Wilson” and “Too Little, Too Late.”
Ed Robertson, Jim Creeggan, Kevin Hearn and Tyler Stewart plan to continue, and have no immediate plans to replace Page. They will return to the studio in April and tour in the fall.
Hudson: Performing is ‘like therapy’
Chicago — Jennifer Hudson says she’s found getting back to work to be a healing force in her life.
“I’m just glad to be back and be back to work again. Just doing what I love to do is like therapy,” Hudson said on a live episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” broadcast Friday. “I’m in a very good place.”
In a brief interview, the Oscar- and Grammy-winning performer made no direct reference to the October slayings in Chicago of her mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew.
She performed her latest single, “If This Isn’t Love,” and promoted an upcoming tour with Robin Thicke, beginning March 31.
Hudson said Whitney Houston awarding her the Grammy for best R&B album for her self-titled debut CD “almost surpassed winning.”
“As soon as she stepped out on the stage, I lost it. That’s when I got emotional,” Hudson said of Houston. Hudson said she used to create duets with Houston’s records and dream about winning a Grammy.
‘Plow’ producers plan to file for arbitration
New York — Jeremy Piven is not off the hook yet.
The producers of “Speed-the-Plow” say they will file for arbitration to settle their dispute with the actor for abruptly quitting the Broadway show after his doctor said he was suffering from mercury poisoning.
The action came after no agreement was reached Thursday in a grievance hearing requested by the producers. A panel composed of Actors’ Equity and Broadway League representatives were unable to reach a required unanimous decision.
Hamilton says he’s a competitive ‘Apprentice’
Nashville, Tenn. — Once a competitor, always a competitor.
Or so it seems for Olympic gold medal figure skater Scott Hamilton, who says he was afraid his competitive nature would get the best of him while taping the new season of NBC’s “The Celebrity Apprentice.”
“I saw what happened the year before with a lot of people getting so caught up physically and mentally,” Hamilton said recently from his Nashville home. “My biggest fear was that I’d somehow get caught up in the game and misrepresent myself, my faith and my family.”
Contestants also include former NBA bad boy Dennis Rodman, country music’s Clint Black, TV personalities Khloe Kardashian and Joan Rivers, former NFL star Herschel Walker, and comics Andrew Dice Clay and Tom Green.
Simmons happy to pay $40K a month for kids
New York — Russell Simmons says he’s happy to fork over $40,000 a month in child support for his two daughters.
Simmons blogged Friday about a court order issued Thursday that finalized custodial and financial arrangements for 9-year-old Ming and 6-year-old Aoki. Those are his children with ex-wife Kimora Lee Simmons.
Los Angeles Superior Court judge Marjorie Steinberg signed off on an agreement giving sole custody to Kimora Lee Simmons, as well as child support. Simmons is to pay $40,000 a month until the girls are 19 and a half years old, but he says he wasn’t forced to pay anything.
Simmons says his kids have a fabulous life and he’s happy to contribute to it. He says as long as he has money, they will have money.