Archive for Thursday, July 23, 2009

People in the news

July 23, 2009

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Police seek Jackson doc manslaughter link

Houston — The Michael Jackson investigation took a stunning turn Wednesday as authorities raided the offices of the doctor who was with the pop star when he died and the physician’s lawyer said investigators appear to be building a manslaughter case.

Two dozen federal drug agents and a pair of Los Angeles police officers spent more than two hours in a clinic that Dr. Conrad Murray sometimes shares in a lower-income area of north Houston, taking copied files from an office hard drive and 21 documents, according to Murray’s attorney, Edward Chernoff.

“The search warrant authorized law enforcement to search for and seize items, including documents, they believed constituted evidence of the offense of manslaughter,” Chernoff said in a statement posted on his firm’s Web site.

Authorities did not disclose what information was taken and say they still do not consider Murray a suspect.

In the four weeks since Jackson’s death, rumors have proliferated about what killed him. Several members of Jackson’s family have said they suspect foul play. Investigators appear to be focusing on a powerful anesthetic, propofol. The drug was found in the Beverly Hills mansion Jackson was renting, according to a person with knowledge of the investigation who is not authorized to speak publicly.

Taco Bell ad star dog Gidget dies at 15

Los Angeles — Gidget the Chihuahua, the bug-eyed, big-eared star of 1990s Taco Bell commercials who was a diva on and off the screen, has died. She was 15.

Gidget suffered a massive stroke late Tuesday night at her trainer’s home in Santa Clarita and had to be euthanized, said Karin McElhatton, owner of Studio Animal Services in Castaic, which owned the dog.

Although she was hard of hearing, Gidget was otherwise in good health up to the day of her death, eating well and playing with her favorite squeaky toys at the home of trainer Sue Chipperton, McElhatton said.

“She was retired. She lived like a queen, very pampered,” McElhatton said.

Gidget was found at a kennel and wasn’t show quality, McElhatton said; she had an undershot jaw and huge ears.

But Gidget knew she was a star, McElhatton said.

“She was a prima donna, basically. She absolutely knew when she was on camera,” McElhatton said.

In a 1997 Taco Bell television commercial, Gidget was seen as a male dog who, through the magic of special effects and a voice actor, proclaims in a richly accented voice: “Yo quiero Taco Bell” — Spanish for “I want Taco Bell.”

Viewers were charmed. What was supposed to be a single ad became a campaign that ran from 1997 to 2000.

Sam Raimi to direct ‘World of Warcraft’ film

Los Angeles — The director of the “Spider-Man” film franchise is set to transform “World of Warcraft” into a movie.

Blizzard Entertainment Inc. and Legendary Pictures says Sam Raimi has signed on to direct “Warcraft,” a live-action film based on the popular online role-playing game which allows players to become such characters as orcs, trolls, humans and dwarves. Raimi is best known for directing “The Evil Dead” and “Spider-Man” trilogy.

He most recently wrote and directed “Drag Me To Hell.”

Comic Con promises ‘Avatar,’ ‘New Moon’

Los Angeles — From immortal bloodsuckers and 19th century forensics pioneers to flying suits of armor and an all-new breed of live-action 3-D, the essence of this year’s hottest properties at Comic Con can be found deep in the past, or far into the future.

“Twilight” proved to be the most rabid fan-feeding frenzy at last year’s Comic-Con, and its sequel, “New Moon,” based on the second novel in the vampire series by Stephenie Meyer, stands out among the savory offerings beginning today at the San Diego Convention Center.

Other highlights include “Tron,” a reboot of the ’80s sci-fi classic about computer programmers trapped in a digital world, Tim Burton’s take on “Alice in Wonderland” and an early look at “Iron Man 2.” James Cameron will also preview “Avatar,” a futuristic adventure that promises a new level of 3-D based on technology the “Titanic” director helped develop.

Now in its 40th year, the festival began as a comic-book convention in 1970 and evolved into an expansive pop-culture buffet that includes video games, TV shows, major movies and A-listers from the worlds of film, television and publishing.

Whitney Houston previews her new CD

New York — Whitney Houston says her daughter’s support helped fuel her as she geared up for her comeback record.

“She was with me every step of the way: ‘Mom, you can do this.’ When I get discouraged and I get like, ‘This is tiring, this is wearing me out, I’m just not at that point,’ she’d just go, ‘No, mom, you can do this, get up, get up,”’ Houston said of 15-year-old Bobbi Kristina in an interview on Tuesday. “She encourages me and inspires me, when I look at her and I look at her eyes and I see myself, I go, ‘OK, I can do this. I can do this.”’

The 44-year-old superstar is releasing “I Look to You” on Sept. 1. It’s her first album in years on Arista Records. On Tuesday evening, she premiered several tracks before an industry audience that included her only child, mother Cissy Houston, cousin Dionne Warwick, Alicia Keys and Diane Sawyer.

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