Like Wayne Newton, but with more silk, Sir Elton John is perfect for Las Vegas. He's just signed to do 75 shows at Caesars Palace (as a replacement for Celine Dion when she goes on holiday) for a reported $50 million or so. As the show's producer, photogger David LaChapelle, says, "The wild and wacky days are here again." And not a moment too soon. Hear, hear! Celine is even more plastic than Vegas; Elton has written great songs and he has a sense of humor. (This Is London)
Supporters and friends of former President Ronald Reagan are worried that an upcoming movie for TV on his life is biased against Ronnie. They say it makes him out to be a bit out of it, a bit lazy, and not as interested in fighting AIDS as he might have been. All of that may be true, but what they should be worried about is that he's being played by James Brolin, who is married to Barbra Streisand! Nancy Reagan is played by the brilliant Judy Davis whose specialty seems to be ultrathin, nervous types. (Guardian U.K.)
Princess Diana's brother, Earl Spencer, told "The Today Show's" Katie Couric this morning that no one in his family has any proof of a conspiracy to kill his sister -- this in reaction to Diana's butler, Paul Burrell's, revelation about a letter he says Diana wrote to him that predicted her own death by car accident. Though Spencer was adamant that no evidence has been seen of a plot, he did say that he and his family would be the first to be interested in any such evidence. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
In the now-common tradition of telling everyone everything about your reproductive hopes, dreams and disappointments, it seems Courtney Cox's brother let slip to Sharon Osbourne that Courtney and husband, David Arquette -- who have been unsuccessfully trying (very publicly) to conceive -- have succeeded. Anyone who has friends in the same situation knows that telling too early can cause pain later on so can we all just shut up about this stuff for a week or two? Thanks. (Ananova)
On a lighter note, the prolific producer of "Law and Order" and all its spinoffs, Dick Wolfe, was heard chatting with the as-prolific Terry Gross on "Fresh Air" this morning about his past as an ad writer. Seems he is responsible for the 30-year-old ad for National Airlines that included the phrase "Fly Me." When Terry mentioned that at the time feminists charged that the ad was sexual, Wolfe laughed and said, "It was! and explained that his assignment was to attract businessmen to the airline -- and that it was also a time when stewardesses wore skirts so short that they had to kneel very carefully when helping passengers. Those gals must have had incredibly strong knees.
Those of us who thought Liza Minnelli made a particularly sad and bizarre choice when she married her now-estranged husband, David Gest (is there anyone who didn't think that?), the other year didn't know the half of it. The man is now suing her for $10 million, claiming that she regularly got drunk and beat him during their 16-month marriage and that as a result he now has "virtually constant, unrelenting pain in his head" for which he has had numerous injections in his "scalp, temporal area, and forehead" and takes 11 medications daily. According to the fascinating 10-page claim, which is posted in its entirety on the Smoking Gun and reads a little like a passage from "Mommie Dearest," Gest's ongoing post-marital symptoms include "a throbbing unilateral pain that is superimposed on a dull ache; severe unrelenting headaches; vertigo; nausea; hypertension; scalp tenderness; insomnia; mood dysphoria; photosensitivity; and phonophobia." The poor dear!
Gest's complaint also takes (unrelenting) pains to point out that, while he was a "world renown event and concert producer-promoter" at the time of his marriage to Minnelli, Liza herself was "an alcoholic, overweight, unable to be effectively merchandised" with a career that "had been eclipsed." Eclipsed by what, he doesn't say.
But he does say this: During one visit to London, Minnelli downed two bottles of vodka and began "running erratically from room to room" in their London hotel suite, pausing to hurl a lamp at her husband and begin hitting him "about the head and face" with alarming force, causing him to cross his arms over his face and repeat, "Liza, stop it, stop it!" After one of the couple's security guards got into the action and tried to tell Liza he was her friend, the singer replied, "I have no friends. My husband is using me to be star [sic]. I am the star. Next he will start a singing career on stage and record albums." To which Gest claims he replied ("in substance"), "With my voice, baby, I don't think you'll have to worry about any competition. I can't sing, ask James Ingram, Michael Jackson, or Luther Vandross, I'm not becoming a singer."
I think the "baby" was a nice touch, don't you?
Best of the Rest
Page Six: David Lynch trying to raise $1 billion to build Transcendental Meditation centers in 3,000 cities, saying, "This is all about establishing peace. Right now, we gotta get peace back in the world. Peace is a real thing ... It's kind of important to have peace on earth"; Pamela Anderson said to be seeing both Tommy Lee and Kid Rock; book about Caroline Kennedy claims that her mom, Jackie Kennedy, got prescription diet pills for her when she was just 16.
Rush and Molloy: Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez rumored to be planning a small wedding "sooner rather than later" at Affleck's house on Hamton Island, Ga.; Hilary Swank, in red evening gown with long train, forced to run and hide from paparazzi after party at the Whitney Museum; Chevy Chase fends off allegations that he was being unpatriotic by making an ad for a Turkish cola during the war in Iraq, saying "What do I know? I just filmed a commercial"; President Bush voted "weasliest" person by "Dilbert" comic strip fans ... Michael Moore comes in distant second, trailed by Al Franken and Bill O'Reilly; former G.E. CEO Jack Welch working on book with his mistress-turned-girlfriend Suzy Wetlaufer.
Boldface Names: At premiere of "Beyond Borders," Angelina Jolie says she now has "a purpose as a human being. I think I really didn't have one before. I was an artist and I, you know, I'd wake up with little things I'd complain about. I had no idea, really, how unbalanced the world was and how fortunate I was, and how rare my life is in comparison to the amount of people that really know suffering and really know pain, and I'll never be self-destructive again." Adds, "When I say self-destructive, I don't mean tattoos."