Swayze’s widow sad ‘on a cellular level’
New York — Patrick Swayze’s widow has told a crowd near Los Angeles that the loss of her husband of 34 years has left her with sadness “on a cellular level.”
Lisa Niemi, making her first public comments since Swayze’s death last month from pancreatic cancer, told attendees Tuesday at a conference that her pain “made all the sadness and grief previous to that look like an intellectual concept.”
Though she cared for her husband during his 22-month battle with the disease, Niemi says grappling with the 57-year-old “Dirty Dancing” star’s death was still “an animal all its own.”
Niemi was speaking to several thousand women gathered Tuesday for the annual nonpartisan Women’s Conference in Long Beach, Calif.
Breslin to play Helen Keller on Broadway
New York — From spunky “Little Miss Sunshine” to an even more heroic young girl.
Abigail Breslin will play Helen Keller in the first Broadway revival of William Gibson’s “The Miracle Worker,” scheduled to open on March 3, producer David Richenthal announced Wednesday. Previews begin Feb. 12 at Circle in the Square Theatre.
Alison Pill will portray Annie Sullivan, the determined instructor who teaches the deaf and blind Helen how to communicate.
“I am so honored,” the 13-year-old Breslin said in an interview. “It’s like the biggest thing in the world. ... I have read the biography of Helen Keller. So I’ve always known the story, and it’s always been something I wanted to play.
“Helen is a hero of mine — for so many reasons. She never gave up on herself and she had so many people who believed in her like her teacher Annie Sullivan.”
Barker donates $1M for animal rights professor
Springfield, Mo. — Former television game show host Bob Barker, who ended episodes of “The Price is Right” by asking viewers to spay and neuter their pets, donated $1 million to Drury University to establish a professorship on animal rights that he hopes will lead to a full undergraduate degree program.
Barker, who graduated from the small liberal arts school in 1947 with a degree in economics, said Tuesday that he hopes the school will eventually be able to offer a program of studies that would train them to be animal rights activists and to respect animals.
“I think some students would become full-fledged animal rights activists,” Barker said. “Some will become lawyers and doctors who will always be interested in animal rights. And some will have more respect for animals.”
The new professorship went to Patricia McEachern, a professor of French who will work full time to develop what Barker and McEachern said would be the nation’s first undergraduate program in animal rights.
Grand jury won’t indict accused Cyrus stalker
Savannah, Ga. — A grand jury on Wednesday refused to indict a 53-year-old man jailed since August on charges that he tried to stalk Miley Cyrus as the teen star filmed a movie on the Georgia coast.
The Chatham County grand jury decided prosecutors had insufficient evidence to charge Mark McLeod of Appling, Ga., in Superior Court, which hears felony cases.
A spokeswoman for District Attorney Larry Chisolm said he still plans to prosecute McLeod on two misdemeanor charges, attempted stalking and disorderly conduct, in a lower court.
McLeod has been jailed since Aug. 4 after police arrested him twice over the summer on nearby Tybee Island, where 16-year-old Cyrus was filming the movie “The Last Song.”
Police say McLeod told them he was engaged to marry the “Hannah Montana” star and resisted being escorted from the movie set.
4 charged with celeb home burglaries
Los Angeles — Los Angeles prosecutors on Wednesday charged four people with being part of a group accused of stealing more than $3 million in luxury goods from the homes of Hollywood celebrities such as Lindsay Lohan, Orlando Bloom and Megan Fox.
Felony residential burglary charges were filed against three women and one man: Alexis Neiers, Courtney Ames, Diana Tamayo and Roy Lopez Jr. They range in age from 18 to 27.
Prosecutors also added five burglary counts against Nicholas Prugo, who was charged earlier this month with breaking into the homes of Lohan and Audrina Patridge of “The Hills.”
The five are suspected of being part of a group that broke into celebrities’ homes and stole more than $3 million in designer clothes, jewelry and other accessories, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. They’re accused of stealing from Bloom, Lohan, Fox, Patridge, Paris Hilton, Rachel Bilson and others.
Legend to sing national anthem at World Series
Los Angeles — John Legend is going to the World Series.
Major League Baseball says the Grammy-winning singer-songwriter will perform the national anthem before Game Two at Yankee Stadium today.
New York natives Jay-Z and Alicia Keys will warm up the audience with their single “Empire State of Mind” before Legend sings.