They live to give

Mariah, fresh out of the hospital, joins the benefit scene; the former Cat Stevens condemns attacks; Jim Carrey, Rosie and Dr. Dre dig deep to help; James Woods delivers hot tip to FBI.

By Amy Reiter

Published September 21, 2001 4:41PM (EDT)

Ready for a little good news? Mariah Carey is apparently feeling better.

That's right, the troubled singer is out of the hospital (she's said to have checked out of UCLA Medical Center on Tuesday, Sept. 11) and ready to face the world again.

She's scheduled to give her first live performance since her July emotional and physical breakdown (including a relapse a few weeks ago), performing her song "Hero" at the big multi-network telethon Friday night.

Also on hand at the televised benefit, "America: A Tribute to Heroes," which will raise money for charities benefiting the victims of last week's attacks, will be Bruce Springsteen, the Dixie Chicks, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Tom Petty, Neil Young, Jim Carrey, George Clooney, Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Robert De Niro, Kelsey Grammer, Tom Hanks, Will Smith, Robin Williams and Julia Roberts, among others.

The event will be held at locations in New York and Los Angeles, which will remain undisclosed onaccounta security concerns. There will be no audiences on hand.

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Hop on the peace train

Here's heaving a big sigh of relief ...

Yusuf Islam, the man the world knew as Cat Stevens before he left the pop music biz to devote himself to Islam, has stepped up to condemn last week's attacks.

Islam, who caused a stir a few years back by appearing to endorse the fatwa against Salman Rushdie (he insists he was misunderstood), has issued a statement, posted on the fan site, decrying last week's violence.

"British Muslims feel nothing but sympathy for those families who lost loved ones in this awful tragedy we've all just witnessed in the US," writes Islam, who lives in the U.K. "This is why, today, along with most Muslims in Britain, we should make it clear that such acts of horrific carnage as we've seen on TV and in the newspapers have nothing to do with the beliefs of most Muslims. The Koran specifically declares: 'If anyone murders an (innocent) person ... it will be as if he has murdered the whole of humanity.'"

In fact, he says, the part of the Koran often cited as justification by such suicide bombers is "actually meant for people who are defending their land under a legitimate state authority, against unjust external invaders. Never does it allow the killing of innocent civilians."

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Beneficial bits

Not only is Jim Carrey lending his name and stretchy plastic face to tonight's big telethon, he's also putting his money where his mouth is. The man behind "The Mask" has pledged $1 million to aid families of the victims of last week's terrorist attacks ...

As has Rosie O'Donnell. And in addition to writing a check for a million big ones, the Queen of Nice has called on other celebrities to do the same.

Also in the million-dollar club: Dr. Dre. According to USA Today, the rapper/producer has made his whopping donation to KPWR radio's Knowledge Is Power Foundation.

Britney Spears, meanwhile, is planning to take a slightly less direct approach to giving. Although the body-baring popstress and her boyfriend, 'N Sync-er Justin Timberlake, insist that they are not lending their voices to Michael Jackson's benefit release "What More Can I Give," as was reported, Spears has announced plans to contribute $1 from every ticket sold to the remaining concerts on her North American tour to charities benefiting the families of the firefighters and police officers killed in the World Trade Center attacks. She's also planning to auction a few primo seats and some merchandise for charity and hopes to raise a grand total of $2 million for the relief efforts.

And Whitney Houston is helping recovery efforts (and proving to rumor-mongers that she's still alive) by rereleasing her rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner." Proceeds from the single, which was originally released in 1991 during the Gulf War, will go to the families of the NYPD and NYFD. "I think that it's something that helps pull us together and brings us together as a nation," Arista president Antonio 'LA' Reid told the press earlier this week.

Somewhat more appealing: a new version of the 1979 Sister Sledge hit "We Are Family." R&B producer Nile Rodgers has announced plans to rerecord an all-star version of the upbeat song this weekend. Proceeds will go to victims of the terrorist attacks. According to the New York Post, the following artists will sing on the track: Diana Ross, Sugar Ray, Sheryl Crow, Run DMC, Dionne Warwick, Mos Def, Cyndi Lauper, Mick Jones of Foreigner, Charlotte Church, Pras of the Fugees, Andre Agassi, John McEnroe, Patti Smyth, Montel Williams, Eartha Kitt, the New York Knicks, members of the New York police and fire departments and ... Joan Rivers. (Spike Lee will film the recording for a documentary.)

Guess Regis Philbin wasn't kidding the other night when he told David Letterman that Kathie Lee Gifford could take on terrorism single-handedly. Philbin's former co-host has announced that she's setting up a fund to benefit her longtime personal assistant, Taryn McHale, whose husband, Collin, is one of the thousands missing after the attack.

And while Steve Buscemi, Tim Robbins, Matthew Broderick, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathleen Turner have been among the celebrities to lend a hand to the relief efforts in New York in person in the days following the attack, James Woods gets the award for the most unusual contribution. According to the New York Post, Woods contacted the FBI last week to inform them of a suspicious encounter he had on a recent flight from Boston to Los Angeles. Woods says he sat near four fellow first-class passengers who appeared to him to be Middle Eastern and acting strangely. He said they did not eat, drink, sleep, read or talk to anyone the entire way across the country, and when they did speak, they directed their remarks only to each other -- in a language Woods did not recognize. Responding to the press's request for details, Woods issued a statement saying, "I think it prudent not to comment on this and let the FBI continue to do their job ..."

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Miss something? Read yesterday's Nothing Personal.

Amy Reiter

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