Monday, April 28, 2008

Latest millionaire music rich list

Lewis and Winehouse join millionaire music rich list

Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 By Paul Majendie

LONDON (Reuters) - Amy Winehouse joined the elite ranks of music millionaires on Friday but she may struggle to reach the dizzy heights of "wrinkly rockers" like Paul McCartney, the editor of an annual rich list said.

The bee-hived soul singer, whose troubled private life and battle against drug addiction have overshadowed her recording success, is now valued at 10 million pounds ($19.72 million).

"Winning Grammys have given her a really good profile in the United States. She has such a smooth voice but let's hope she doesn't blow it all," Sunday Times Rich List editor Philip Beresford said as the latest millionaire tables were published.

Reality TV winner Leona Lewis is another new entry in the Under-30 category. She was valued at six million pounds after topping the singles and album charts in the United States.

Leading the young millionaires thanks to inherited Beatle wealth is the late George Harrison's guitarist son Dhani. His 160 million pound fortune prompted newspaper headlines like "While their bank accounts gently leap..."

But Beresford told Reuters: "None of these young singers will ever make it to the main rich list as they don't have the legs of the wrinkly rockers."

The young guns are dwarfed by the fortunes of veteran stars like Mick Jagger and Sting, he said.

"They have developed this new industry of massive stadium tours around the world full of relatively wealthy middle-aged fans trying to recapture their youth paying extortionate prices for the privilege," Beresford said.

"Their tours are their pension funds," he said.

Beresford did admit to one Beatle miscalculation over Paul McCartney's fortune which was set at 725 million in last year's list.

"He is now down at 500 million because we over-egged it in the past. But we are not as severe as the judge in his divorce case (against Heather Mills) who put it at 400 million pounds," he said.

Beresford hailed the 300 million pound fortune of Madonna and her film director husband Guy Ritchie as "almost unique."

"She has joined the wrinkly rockers with the big touring income but she also has the record sales which they are not getting anymore," he added.

But Madonna's fortune is dwarfed in Britain's top 50 music millionaires list which is topped, like last year, by Clive Calder, founder of Zomba Records, who is valued at 1.3 billion pounds.

(Editing by Paul Casciato)

FACTBOX - The life and times of Amy Winehouse


Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 LONDON (Reuters) - Amy Winehouse, 24, was born on September 14, 1983 in Enfield, Middlesex, to a Jewish family with a history of jazz musicians.

She was discovered by soul singer Tyler James at the age of 16 and in 2003 her debut album "Frank" was released, to general acclaim.

Her second album "Back to Black" was released in October 2006 and reached the No. 1 spot.

The album's hit single "Rehab," with the prescient line: "They tried to make me go to rehab. I said 'no, no, no'" has been called the anthem of celebrity trash culture.

In October 2007, she and her husband, Blake Fielder-Civil were arrested at a Norwegian hotel for marijuana possession, and soon afterward fans booed her on stage as she slurred her way through her gigs.

Two months later she was photographed wandering barefoot on a London street, wearing only jeans and a bra and looking confused.

Fielder-Civil is currently awaiting trial on charges of perverting the course of justice in relation to a fight in a pub.

Despite being refused entrance to the United States, Winehouse won five Grammy awards in February 2008.

April has seen mixed fortunes. She was nominated three times for the Ivor Novello awards in May and joined the elite ranks of music millionaires in the Sunday Times rich list with an estimated fortune of 10 million pounds.

"Winning Grammys have given her a really good profile in the United States. She has such a smooth voice but let's hope she doesn't blow it all," said Sunday Times Rich List editor Philip Beresford.

But on the same day as the Rich List came out, she had to attend a police station to answer questions in connection with an alleged assault after a fracas outside a club.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Megan Fox crowned sexiest woman in the world

Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actress Megan Fox was named the world's sexiest woman on Wednesday by an annual online poll, while the world's most Googled woman, Britney Spears, barely scraped in at No. 100 after a shocker of a year.

Fox, 21, who starred in last year's hit movie "Transformers," grabbed the title from actress Jessica Alba, 26, topping online men's magazine FHM Online's ( reader poll of the 100 Sexiest Women in the World for 2008.

Alba dropped to No. 3, coming behind American actress and former model Jessica Biel but ahead of Canadian actress Elisha Cuthbert who was ranked fourth after appearing in horror movie "Captivity" last year. U.S actress and singer Scarlett Johansson, 23, rounded out the top five.

"Megan Fox is the deserving winner of this year's FHM title. She's young, she's hot, she's a rising star and her sex appeal has definitely transformed this year's list. She's got a great future ahead of her," said FHM Online U.S. Editor JR Futrell.

Fox debuted on the list at No. 68 in 2006 and was ranked No. 65 last year. But playing the lead female role in "Transformers," a blockbuster $700 million hit at worldwide box offices, markedly raised her profile.

Also in the top 10 were Emmanuelle Chriqui, Hilary Duff, Tricia Helfer, Blake Lively and Kate Beckinsale.

Newcomers to the list included Victoria Beckham, aka Posh Spice from British pop band the Spice Girls, who moved to Los Angeles with her husband, English soccer player David Beckham, last year. She made her debut at No. 99.

Spears, 26, whose career has been buried under an avalanche of personal and mental health problems, managed to make the list at No. 100, a steep decline from 2004 when she was voted the world's sexiest woman.

FHM's 100 Sexiest Women in the World poll is now in its 14th year with nearly 9 million votes cast this year by FHM readers worldwide to choose the sexiest women in film, television, music, sports, and fashion.

This year's list also included reality TV stars to reflect the genre's increasing popularity with three girls from the "The Hills" making the list, including Heidi Montag at No. 44 and Audrina Patridge at No. 80 and Lauren Conrad at No. 95.

From "Dancing with the Stars," actress Shannon Elizabeth returned to the list at No. 46 after being absent last year. She was joined by Cheryl Burke at No. 40 and Karina Smirnoff at No. 78, who made their debuts.

"It's no surprise to us that so many reality stars made this year's list," said Futrell. 'The Hills' is one of the most popular shows on MTV, and 'Dancing with the Stars' is the No. 2 reality show in America after 'American Idol.' We expect even more to be added next year."


Jennifer Lopez starring in TLC reality series

Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 By Paul J. Gough

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - Jennifer Lopez will executive produce and star in a documentary series at cable channel TLC about her life as an actress and singer, new mother of twins and entrepreneur launching a fragrance line.

"I think it'll be something very exciting," Lopez said during TLC parent Discovery Networks' "upfront" presentation to advertisers in Manhattan on Wednesday.

Lopez and husband Marc Anthony became the parents of a boy and girl in February.

TLC also said it has signed a production deal with the husband-and-wife duo of Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos. Under the deal, Ripa, whose day job is co-host of ABC's "Live With Regis and Kelly," also will host a series for TLC.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Leona Lewis tops charts in U.S.

Friday, Apr 18, 2008 LOS ANGELES (Reuters)
British newcomer Leona Lewis achieved a rare double on the U.S. pop charts on Thursday, reclaiming the top spot on the singles tally a day after her debut album opened at No. 1, her label said.

Lewis, the 23-year-old winner of the talent show "X Factor," led the Hot 100 singles chart with "Bleeding Love," which was bounced from No. 1 a week ago by Mariah Carey's "Touch My Body."

Lewis' tune comes from the album "Spirit," which opened at No. 1 on the albums chart on Wednesday, making her the first British musician to achieve this feat with a debut release. The charts are published by music magazine Billboard.

The last artist to top both charts was singer/songwriter Alicia Keys in November 2007. But the last British performer to do so was Phil Collins in 1990.

Lewis is the first British artist to top the singles chart since James Blunt in 2006, and the albums chart since Rod Stewart, also in 2006.

However Lewis' reign on the albums chart will be short-lived. Preliminary data show that Carey's "E=MC2" will open at No. 1 when the next chart is published on Wednesday. Carey's "Touch My Body" single, meanwhile, slid to No. 5 on the latest Hot 100.

"Spirit" debuted at No. 1 in the UK last November, while "Bleeding Love" was Britain's biggest-selling single last year. The U.K. and U.S. albums have different tracks, a throwback to the days when the Beatles and the Rolling Stones tailored their releases for the different markets.

Lewis won "X Factor" in 2006, securing a recording contract with the show's creator, Simon Cowell. His SyCo Records label partnered on her U.S. album with New York-based J Records, a unit of Sony BMG Music Entertainment. Sony BMG is a joint venture between Sony and Bertelsmann.

(Reporting by Dean Goodman; Editing by Eric Walsh)

Blanchett takes limelight at summit

Saturday, Apr 19, 2008 By Rob Taylor

CANBERRA (Reuters) - Hollywood star wattage outweighed intellectual light at the opening of an Australian thinkers summit on Saturday, with cameras firmly focused on Oscar-winning actress Cate Blanchett and her newborn son.

Fellow actor and X-Men film franchise star Hugh Jackman also stole the limelight from the other 998 of the nation's best minds, promising to lobby for more Australian actors to come home as his "big idea" for the future planning summit.

"It's a beginning, I believe really strongly, of a long and meaningful relationship between artists and the government, not as an adjunct to, but as a fundamental aspect of, society," a beaming Blanchett said when collared by media.

Blanchett, who most recently appeared in "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" and "I'm Not There", won the best supporting actress Oscar in 2005 for her role as screen goddess Katharine Hepburn in "The Aviator", about eccentric U.S. billionaire Howard Hughes.

Blanchett happily posed for photos after entering the so-called 2020 Summit of Australia's brightest minds in the Great Hall of parliament in Canberra on Saturday, just six days after giving birth to her third son, Ignatius Martin Upton.

Blanchett, one of two females among the 10 summit chairs, sat in the front row next to her playwright husband Andrew Upton, who was left holding the baby, who promptly fell asleep after having a wrap removed by his mother.

Jackman said Blanchett was a "superwoman" and described her as "flawless as a person" before heading into a creative brainstorming session to be led by Blanchett.

He said he would push fellow brainstormers to come up with a way of encouraging a more creative focus for all Australians.

"(By 2020 we should have) a really vibrant artistic community that is leading the world, something that is one of the main focuses of Australians, internationally, that we're really proud of," he told Australian radio.

(Editing by Jeremy Laurence)

Celebrities seen as not aiding causes they promote

Friday, Apr 18, 2008 7:30 NEW YORK (Reuters) - Fifty-one percent of Americans say celebrities make little or no positive difference to the issues they promote while 45 percent say they have a large or some positive influence, according to a new survey.

Oprah Winfrey was seen as the best champion of causes with 49 percent of those surveyed in the Harris Poll saying she was very effective at raising awareness. The others in the top five were Bono (32 percent), Angelina Jolie (31 percent), Brad Pitt (23 percent) and George Clooney (22 percent).

Harris surveyed 2,513 U.S. adults online between March 11 and 18.

Younger people were more likely than older people to believe celebrities make a positive difference, and Democrats (55 percent) more likely than Republicans (36 percent) to feel the same, Harris said in a statement.

Fifteen percent of those surveyed said they have supported a cause because of what they heard an actor, singer or other celebrity say or do.

Forty-seven percent said it was bad for celebrities to endorse political candidates.


Foxy Brown freed from prison in New York

Friday, Apr 18, 2008 NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. rapper Foxy Brown was freed from a New York City prison on Friday after serving eight months of a one-year sentence stemming from an assault of two nail salon stylists over a $20 (10 pounds) manicure.

Brown, 29, whose real name is Inga Marchand, was sentenced to three years' probation in October 2006 for assaulting the stylists. But in September 2007 a judge ruled she was not taking probation seriously and sent her prison for one year.

Inmates typically serve two-thirds of their sentence, said Stephen Morello, a Department of Corrections spokesman, adding that Brown had been released and driven from the Rikers Island prison by New York City Councilman Charles Barron.

He said this was a highly unusual move as inmates are usually taken from prison on a public bus and delivered to a city parking lot. But he said that as a public official, Barron had access to prison and had requested to pick up Brown.

Barron could not immediately be reached for comment.

In October authorities said Brown received 76 days in isolation in jail after getting into a shoving match with another inmate and refusing to do a drug test.

Then in January, Brown asked for early release to treat an ear condition she feared could threaten her hearing.

"Yes, I've made some bad choices and stupid mistakes. But please understand that sitting in a prison with murderers and criminals is not rehabilitating or what I need to deal with my inner issues," Brown wrote in a four-page handwritten letter to Judge Melissa Jackson.

Brown became the first female rap artist to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, the U.S. pop chart encompassing all styles of music, with her 1999 album "Chyna Doll."

(Reporting by Edith Honan, editing by Michelle Nichols and Sandra Maler)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Marilyn Monroe

Lest we forget, those were the days when blonde have more fun. Though she was not naturally blonde, Marilyn Monroe's life was a source of hot hollywood celebrity gossip.

Just showing up to show some love

Fleming's war spying helped inspire Bond

By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - He may not have cheated death, seduced women at will and killed countless baddies, but James Bond creator Ian Fleming's experience of the shadowy world of wartime espionage helped inspire his bestselling novels.

"For Your Eyes Only" is the first major exhibition devoted to the author and coincides with the centenary of his birth. It opens at London's Imperial War Museum on Thursday and runs until March 1, 2009.

On display is Fleming's desk from his Jamaican home Goldeneye where he wrote his Bond books, a jacket he wore during a raid by British forces on a French port in 1942, several Bond manuscripts and props from the blockbuster film franchise.

The show seeks to explain how a man born into a world of privilege and with a playboy reputation was grounded by his work as a naval intelligence officer during World War Two.

"I think we make the point in the exhibition that the Second World War gave Fleming a sense of purpose in his life that had hitherto been lacking," said curator Terry Charman.

"However much the (Bond) novels may be set in the Cold War ... they in fact are nearly all rooted in World War Two," he told Reuters.

"In 'Moonraker', Hugo Drax's rocket that's going to be launched against London with a nuclear warhead is really a V-2 which Fleming heard land in London from September 1944 onwards."


Fleming, whose father was killed during World War One when he was eight, attended Eton, joined the military before leaving under a cloud and went to Austria to learn languages.

In 1931, he became a journalist at Reuters, which his niece Kate Grimond said played an important role in his success later in life as a novelist.

"By chance (he) got a job at Reuters where he was very well suited and he learned to write very fast and very accurately and that was the basis of his very good writing style," she said.

She added that in order to make more money he left the news agency for a job in finance, but was "no good at that". According to exhibition organisers, he "preferred to spend his time and money on women, golf, gambling and drinking."

During World War Two, as a naval intelligence officer, he came up with several plots to outwit the Germans which would not have looked out of place in a James Bond novel.

In 1940 he devised Operation "Ruthless", a scheme to seize a German naval coding machine by landing a captured enemy bomber in the English Channel, lure in a rescue vessel, kill the crew and "dump them overboard". The idea was quickly abandoned.

Fleming suggested the pilot be a "tough bachelor, able to swim" -- an early prototype for 007.

Fleming wrote his first Bond novel, "Casino Royale", in 1952, and the world of danger and glamour he created for his superspy was the perfect escape from drab post-war Britain.

He married the same year but the stormy relationship quickly deteriorated. Fleming's heavy drinking and smoking took their toll, and he died of a heart attack in 1964 aged 56.

By then the Bond film franchise was underway, which made Fleming a celebrity and boosted sales of his books. In 1964 they were selling 112,000 copies each week.

(Editing by Paul Casciato)

Who was Ian Fleming?

Wednesday, Apr 16, 2008 (Reuters) - London's Imperial War Museum opens a new exhibition on Thursday devoted to the life and work of author Ian Fleming, creator of superspy James Bond.

Fleming was born 100 years ago in 1908.

Here are some facts on Ian Fleming.


-- Fleming was born in Mayfair, London, to Valentine Fleming, an MP. He was also the grandson of Scottish banker Robert Fleming. He was educated at Eton before going on to the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. After an early departure from the prestigious officer training school, he opted to study languages at a private school in Austria.

-- Following an unsuccessful application to join the Foreign Office, Fleming worked as a sub-editor and journalist for Reuters, and then as a stockbroker in London.

-- At the start of World War Two, Fleming was recruited into naval intelligence. He became personal assistant to Admiral John H. Godfrey, who served as the model for James Bond's commanding officer, "M".


-- Fleming's intelligence work did provide the background for his novels. In 1953, he published his first novel, "Casino Royale" which introduced secret agent James Bond, known by his code number, 007 - which gave him a licence to kill.

-- Besides the twelve novels and nine short stories he wrote featuring James Bond, Fleming is also known for the children's story, "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang".


-- In 1961, Fleming sold the film rights to his Bond novels and short stories to Harry Saltzman. He co-produced the film "Dr. No" (1962) with Albert R. "Cubby" Broccoli.

-- "Dr. No" was an instant hit and was followed by "From Russia with Love" (1963), the second and last James Bond movie Ian Fleming saw.

* "Quantum of Solace" is the 22nd film in the long-running movie franchise and will star Daniel Craig, as British agent 007. It is scheduled to open in late 2008.


-- Fleming died of a heart attack in Canterbury, Kent in August 1964. He was 56. His widow, Ann Geraldine Mary Fleming died in 1981.

Sources: Reuters/ the Biography Channel/

Victoria Beckham

Our birthday girl today is Victoria Beckham. The former of Spicegirls. Now resides in California following her husband soccer career with the LA Galaxy.

Victoria was born on the 17th of April 1974

still looking gorgeous at 34.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Duffy a small-town girl with big dreams

Saturday, Apr 12, 2008
By Andre Paine

LONDON (Billboard) - As a music lover who grew up in a tiny Welsh town, 23-year-old U.K. chart phenomenon Aimee Duffy is struggling to comprehend her sudden popularity.

When she played a show at the recent South By Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas, 3,000 people showed up to watch her. Duffy, who records by just her last name, said that was more than the entire population of her hometown, Nefyn, which boasts 2,550 people.

Duffy is gearing up for her U.S. launch on the back of impressive sales at home. In the United Kingdom, her debut album "Rockferry," which marries her rich voice to a fresh take on classic soul and the '60s girl group sound, enjoyed the biggest first-week sales so far this year when it moved more than 180,000 copies after its March 3 release, according to the Official U.K. Charts Co. (OCC).

"That was mind-blowing," she says. "I'm not going to pretend it isn't strange. You really do have a new life overnight."

The A&M/Polydor release stayed at No. 1 throughout March, racking up sales to date of more than 400,000, according to the OCC. In Europe, radio airplay for her single "Mercy" meant the scheduled April 7 release was brought forward, with "Rockferry" debuting at No. 2 in the Netherlands, No. 3 in Denmark, and No. 7 in Switzerland.

In conversation, Duffy has a guileless quality that Bernard Butler, one of her producers and collaborators, attributes to her isolated Welsh upbringing. Nefyn was a bus ride away from the nearest record shop, which only stocked the top 40. That store has doubtless been doing good business with "Mercy," which spent five weeks atop the British chart.

Now the upbeat, string-laden track is spearheading her U.S. campaign, where the album will be released May 13 via the relaunched Mercury imprint.

Duffy is due to play the Coachella festival in southern California on April 27, and will return to Los Angeles the following month for a slot on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno."

British-born Mercury president David Massey shuns parallels with another U.K. soul singer, the tabloid target Amy Winehouse.

"We haven't been marketing (Duffy's) personality, although she is starting to cross over and become a celebrity," he says. "She's the girl next door -- very natural and innocent and fun."

Duffy has already become British tabloid property, with London's Sun reporting last month that she was placed in a safe house a decade ago after a hitman was hired to murder her stepfather.

"Too many things have hurt me in my life and this is one thing that's not going to hurt me," Duffy says. "I just try to keep a smile on my face."


Kylie Minogue album a flop in United States

Friday, Apr 11, 2008
By Dean Goodman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Despite an unusually aggressive promotion schedule, Kylie Minogue has bombed in the United States with her first album in four years.

"X," the Australian pop singer's fourth U.S. release and 10th overall, debuted at No. 139 on the Billboard 200 with sales of just 6,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Her previous album, "Body Language," debuted at No. 42 with 43,000 copies in 2004. Two years earlier, "Fever" bowed at No. 3 after selling 114,700 copies.

Minogue, 39, was sidelined for two years after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005. She was in the United States the week of the album's April 1 release, doing TV interviews on NBC's "Today," CBS' "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and the syndicated "Ellen DeGeneres Show." She also sang on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars," which was seen by more than 17 million people.

"X" was released internationally last November, debuting at No. 2 in Britain and No. 1 in Australia, her third chart-topper Down Under. She begins a European tour in France on May 6; no U.S. dates have been announced.

Minogue's international fame is not exactly replicated in the United States, where such albums as 2000's "Light Years" and 1990's "Enjoy Yourself" were not even released. Her only other Billboard 200 appearance was with her 1988 debut, "Kylie," which peaked at No. 53.

Still, the relative U.S. anonymity has its benefits.

"It's a slightly weird situation for me because I can still walk the streets here (in Los Angeles) and no one will recognize me. I love it," Minogue told Reuters in January.

A spokesman for Capitol Records, which released "X" in partnership with dance label Astralwerks, said a lot of Minogue's core fans in the United States bought imported copies of the album last year. The campaign for the album is still in its early stages, he added, with the first single, "All I See," going out to radio stations next week. Both Capitol and Astralwerks are units of Britain's EMI Group.

(Reporting by Dean Goodman)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz engaged

Thursday, Apr 10, 2008

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Singer Ashlee Simpson and her boyfriend Pete Wentz, bassist for the band Fall Out Boy, are engaged to marry, Simpson's spokeswoman said on Thursday.

The pair, who have been romantically linked since 2006, posted a statement at the social networking Web site in which they say "we are thrilled to share that we are happily engaged."

"We consider this to be a very private matter, but we wanted you to hear it straight from us," the pair said.

Simpson, 23, the younger sister of singer and actress Jessica Simpson, has forged her own singing and acting career.

She had a role in the television show "Seventh Heaven" and recorded albums including her 2004 debut work, "Autobiography."

Wentz, 28, co-founded pop punk band Fall Out Boy in 2001, and the band, for which he is also the lyricist, has built a loyal following with albums that include 2005's popular "From Under the Cork Tree."


Nude Bruni photo sells at auction

Thursday, Apr 10, 2008

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A nude photo of French first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, standing in a pigeon-toed pose and covering her modesty with her hands, was sold on Thursday in New York for $91,000 (46,000 pounds), more than 20 times its expected price.

A buyer for a Chinese art collector bought the black-and-white image, taken by photographer Michel Comte in 1993 during her modelling days, Christie's auction house said.

The sale of the photo has attracted attention since Bruni married French President Nicolas Sarkozy in February.

The photo had been expected to fetch between $3,000 and $4,000. It was auctioned as part of a sale of 140 photos from German collector Gert Elfering, which also features work by Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton and Peter Beard.

An Avedon portrait of 1950s and 1960s French screen siren Brigitte Bardot sold for $181,000. It had been expected to garner between $80,000 and $120,000.

(Reporting by Karen Brettell and Brendan McDermid; Editing by Michelle Nichols and Xavier Briand)

Monday, April 07, 2008

Oscar-winner Charlton Heston dies at 84


Sunday, Apr 06, 2008

By Bernie Woodall

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Oscar-winning U.S. actor Charlton Heston, whose chiselled features and commanding presence won him epic roles from Moses to Michelangelo and became the face of American gun rights, died on Saturday night at age 84.

Heston died at his home in Beverly Hills, California, with wife Lydia at his side, the family said in a statement. Heston, who won the 1959 best actor Oscar for the title role in "Ben-Hur" in which he did many of his own chariot race stunts, had announced in 2002 that he was suffering symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.

"Charlton Heston was seen by the world as larger than life," the family said. "No one could ask for a fuller life than his. No man could have given more to his family, to his profession, and to his country. In his own words, 'I have lived such a wonderful life! I've lived enough for two people.'"

The family said a private memorial service would be held.

In his acting heyday, Heston's rugged features and conservative lifestyle seemed to belong to another age. As director Anthony Mann said: "Put a toga on him and he looks perfect." Frank Sinatra once joked: "That guy Heston has to watch it. If he's not careful, he'll get actors a good name."

Between super-spectacles ("The 10 Commandments," "Ben-Hur"), science fiction movies ("Planet of the Apes," "Soylent Green") and disaster epics ("Earthquake"), Heston pushed for screen versions of Shakespearean plays, directing one, "Anthony and Cleopatra."

Heston's most controversial role came not in a movie but as president of the National Rifle Association, the gun-rights lobby group, from 1998 to 2003. He made his stance clear when he stood at podium during a convention, holding an antique flintlock rifle above his head and told gun-control advocates they would not get his gun unless they could pry it "from my cold, dead hands."

"He believed the sanctity of American freedom was defined by the Bill of Rights and the Bill of Rights was what made the United States different from every country in the world," Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the NRA, told CNN.

President George W. Bush said in a statement, "He served his country during World War Two, marched in the civil rights movement, led a labour union, and vigorously defended Americans' Second Amendment rights. He was a man of character and integrity, with a big heart."


Nancy Reagan, widow of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, who also suffered from Alzheimer's, said she was heartbroken by Heston's death.

"He was one of Ronnie's and my dearest friends," she said. "He shared a love of radio and acting and politics with Ronnie and I know they had many discussions about each of their terms as president of the Screen Actors Guild."

Film historian David Thomson said that Heston was, "One of America's great heroes" in the two decades following World War Two.

"He had the gravitas to play God and God-like figures, which you don't have among today's actors," Thomson said. "When he took the part of Moses, he took it seriously and believed in it and that belief made those films successful in their time. Those were great films of their time."

Born John Charlton Carter (Heston was his stepfather's name) on October 4, 1923, in Evanston, Illinois, he made his theatrical debut as Santa Claus in a school play at age 5.

After serving in the Army Air Corps in World War Two, Heston headed to Broadway, where he briefly supported himself with nude modelling between acting jobs.

In 1944, he married fellow Northwestern University drama student Lydia Clarke and their marriage lasted 64 years until his death. They had two children, Fraser Clarke and Holly Ann, and three grandchildren.

After some stage and television roles, Cecil B. DeMille put Heston in "The Greatest Show on Earth" (1952) and in 1956 cast him as Moses in "The 10 Commandments," saying the actor reminded him of Michelangelo's statue. The $7.5 million epic was the most expensive film up to that time and became the second-biggest money maker of the time, behind "Gone With the Wind."

In addition to playing Moses, Heston did the voice of God in the film.


He also took roles in Westerns, with a break in 1957 for Orson Welles' "Touch of Evil," followed by more epics.

Less successful were his portrayal of John the Baptist in "The Greatest Story Ever Told" about the life of Jesus and that of Michelangelo in "The Agony and the Ecstasy," a 1965 commercial flop.

Heston was a besieged astronaut in 1968's "The Planet of the Apes," which led to more science fiction hits such as "The Omega Man" (1971) and "Soylent Green" (1973). He also was a leading figure in disaster epics, among them "Skyjacked" (1972) and "Airport 1975" (1974).

In 1985, Heston played patriarch Jason Colby in the TV soap opera "Dynasty II: The Colbys of California."

In the 1950s and 1960s Heston worked in the civil rights movement and he was a six-term president of the Screen Actors Guild.

Heston once campaigned for Democrats -- Adlai Stevenson against Dwight Eisenhower and John Kennedy against Richard Nixon. But he switched to Republican Nixon in 1972 and backed old friend Ronald Reagan in the ex-actor's quest for the presidency. Thereafter, he was identified with conservative politics and causes.

Heston was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Bush in 2003.

(Additional reporting by Bill Trott in Washington)(Editing by Philip Barbara)

Friday, April 04, 2008

Naomi Campbell bailed after plane arrest

Naomi Campbell bailed after plane arrest

Friday, Apr 04, 2008

LONDON (Reuters) - Supermodel Naomi Campbell was released on bail pending investigation into a disturbance on a plane at Heathrow's new Terminal 5, police sources said on Friday.

The 37-year-old model was escorted off a U.S.-bound flight on Thursday after police were called. She was arrested on suspicion of assaulting a police officer, and later released to return on bail in late May.

"She was released on bail shortly after midnight, and is due to return on bail," Scotland Yard said in a statement.

Campbell was on a British Airways flight due to depart for Los Angeles when the disturbance occurred.

Her spokeswoman said that one of two bags she had checked in had gone missing.

"BA decided to resolve this by insisting she leave the flight and then called the police to forcibly eject her from the flight," the spokeswoman said.

"She was taken to the Heathrow Police Station and released on police bail. So far as we are aware, BA have still failed to offer any explanation as to why her bag went missing at Terminal 5."

BA has been beset by problems with the high-tech check-in and baggage handling systems at the 4.3 billion pound terminal.

Hundreds of flights have been cancelled and tens of thousands of bags have gone missing, costing the airline about 16 million pounds since the terminal's opening last month.

It is not the first time Campbell has been in trouble with the law.

She spent five days mopping floors as part of a community service sentence in New York last year after throwing a mobile phone at her housekeeper during a row over a pair of jeans.

She was also ordered to attend anger management classes.

(Reporting by Avril Ormsby and Mike Collett-White; Editing by Steve Addison)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Who is UK's best dressed men

Men's mag says Daniel Craig is UK's best dressed

Tuesday, Apr 01, 2008

LONDON (Reuters) - James Bond actor Daniel Craig was named 'Britain's Best Dressed Man' for the second consecutive year by men's magazine GQ.

The first blond Bond was joined in the top 10 by fellow Hollywood stars Daniel Day Lewis, James McAvoy and Jude Law.

But there was bad news for future king Prince William, who was named Britain's sixteenth worst dressed man, a list topped for the second consecutive year by comedian Russell Brand.

Princes Harry, Charles and Philip all feature in the top 50 of Britain's best dressed men.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown is third on the list of worst dressed men, but there was better news for Conservative leader David Cameron who was named eighth best dressed man, his third top 10 appearance in a row.

The two main candidates for London's mayoral election were also given the sartorial thumbs-down. Mayor Ken Livingstone was the country's 11th worst dressed man but his rival Boris Johnson fared only slightly better, coming 14th on the list.

David Beckham's ability to polarize opinion has seen him included in both lists. The former England captain was named sixth best dressed and ninth worst dressed man. Beckham topped the best dressed list in 2002, 2003 and 2004 but lost his title to fellow footballer Rio Ferdinand in 2005.

Formula One star Lewis Hamilton was a newcomer to the best dressed list, entering in fifteenth place.


Madonna's adoption in Malawi

Madonna expected in Malawi

Tuesday, Apr 01, 2008

LILONGWE (Reuters) - American pop star Madonna is due back in Malawi next week for what is expected to be a final court ruling on whether she can adopt a child from the southern African country, airport officials said on Tuesday.

A senior official at Lilongwe International Airport told Reuters her jet was cleared for landing from April 8 and she was expected around that time.

In February, Malawian Information Minister Patricia Kaliati praised Madonna's efforts to rally support for orphans in the impoverished country and said it would be wrong for the government to deny the pop star's adoption of a child there.

Madonna is in the process of adopting a Malawian boy, David Banda.

She began adoption proceedings in 2006 after meeting the boy in a local orphanage. The toddler is living with Madonna and her film director husband Guy Ritchie in London.

The adoption has been controversial, with critics accusing the government of skirting laws that ban non-residents from adopting children in Malawi, which has been badly hit by the AIDS epidemic and is one of the poorest in the world.

There are an estimated 1 million orphans in the country, many of whom are infected with the HIV virus. Malawi's government is amending its adoption laws.

(Reporting by Mabvuto Banda, editing by Myra MacDonald)