Just call her ’Dr. Dolly’: Parton receives Ph.D.
Knoxville, Tenn. — Award-winning entertainer, businesswoman and education advocate Dolly Parton has a new title.
“Just think, I am Dr. Dolly!” she said Friday after receiving an honorary doctorate of humane and musical letters from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
Always joking about her buxom figure, she added, “So when people say something about ’Double-D,’ they will be thinking of something entirely different.”
The audience of 1,069 new graduates from the College of Arts and Sciences roared with laughter and gave Parton a standing ovation.
Parton, a Tennessee native who is the fourth of 12 children from a poor Appalachian family, is well-known for her philanthropic work. Her Imagination Library sends a book to about 500,000 children each month from birth until they start school.
Police, 50 Cent see fire probe differently
Garden City, N.Y. — Investigators said no one has been cleared in a fire that destroyed 50 Cent’s Long Island mansion, despite the rapper’s claim that he is not a suspect.
The rapper, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, said in a statement posted on his Web site, Thisis50.com, that he has been told he isn’t suspected.
“The police department and insurance investigators ruled that there is absolutely no proof or evidence suggesting that Curtis Jackson or any affiliated parties were involved,” the rapper’s statement said. “Curtis Jackson has just been cleared of all the accusations. The investigation will continue until the guilty party is found.”
But Detective Thomas Wieland of the Suffolk County police said, “That fire is still under investigation. It hasn’t been closed either way.” No one has ever publicly been named a suspect.
Keesha Johnson, a spokeswoman for 50 Cent, said in a statement that “he was paid a settlement by the insurer for the house,” which she interpreted to mean he had been cleared of suspicion. She declined to elaborate on the amount of the settlement or which insurance company was involved.
Seal and Heidi Klum are having a girl
New York — Seal and Heidi Klum are expecting a baby girl.
The Grammy-winning singer confirmed the news on Friday’s segment of “The Oprah Winfrey” show. Seal seems happy to go public: Several weeks ago, he announced his wife’s pregnancy to the audience at his New York City concert.
Klum has two young sons with Seal, whom she married in 2005. The German-born supermodel and host of TV’s “Project Runway” also has a daughter from a past relationship.
Gretchen Wilson hopes to make up with mom
Washington — Gretchen Wilson and her mother haven’t spoken in a few years, but she’s hoping to change that Sunday.
“As far as I know things are going a lot better with her life than they were previously,” said Wilson. “And so I’m thinking that this Mother’s Day, we might reconnect.”
Asked how that might happen, the “Redneck Woman” singer said: “Maybe a phone call.”
Wilson was born to a teenage mother, and has described her upbringing as impoverished and difficult. She has also depicted her mother as a battered wife who turned to alcohol and drugs to numb the pain of her life.
Wilson left home as a teen and also dropped out of high school at 14. But she went back to school after she became a country star and got her G.E.D. last year.
Recently, she testified on Capitol Hill about the importance of adult education.
“For three or four years, I was that redneck woman from the little bitty town with the eighth-grade education,” she said. “And that got me a long way in life, but I think this diploma is gonna get me the rest of the way. “
Jury clears Snoop Dogg of man’s beating
Santa Monica, Calif. — A civil jury says Snoop Dogg didn’t hit a man during a 2005 concert.
The rapper, whose real name is Calvin Broadus, wasn’t in court Friday when the jury’s verdict cleared him of civil assault and battery claims. The jury did find that Richard Monroe Jr. suffered serious injuries during one of Snoop’s 2005 concerts near Seattle and awarded him $449,400 in damages to be paid by a record label, another performer and others involved in the concert.
Broadus was accused by Monroe’s attorneys of hitting the man with a brass knuckle microphone. But a video shown during the trial didn’t show Broadus striking Monroe.
‘Idol’ contestant gets hometown hurrah
San Diego — Adam Lambert’s old high school put on a show Friday for the “American Idol” finalist, with cheerleaders, a marching band and thousands of fans and students celebrating their hometown music hero.
In return, Lambert, 27, offered the crowd at Mt. Carmel High School two songs and a few words of appreciation.
“This is so weird,” he said, thanking the crowd from a makeshift stage on the packed stadium’s field. He advised students to “believe in yourself” no matter what others may say.
Lambert’s renditions of Michael Jackson’s “Black or White” and “Mad World” won applause despite a tinny sound system.
His “American Idol” competitors, Danny Gokey of Milwaukee and Kris Allen of Conway, Ark., were also feted by their towns Friday, with Fox taping the events to air next week on “Idol.”