Sunday, April 5, 2009

Michael Phelps Suspended for Three Months, Loses Kellogg Gig

Michael Phelps has been suspended from swimming and dropped from Kellogg's cereal boxes following his controversial pot pics.

U.S. swimming officials announced Thursday they were barring Phelps from competing for three months and withdrawing financial support from him for a period of "reprimand," CNN reports.

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"This is not a situation where any anti-doping rule was violated, but we decided to send a strong message to Michael because he disappointed so many people, particularly the hundreds of thousands of USA Swimming-member kids who look up to him as a role model and a hero," USA Swimming announced in a statement.

"Michael has voluntarily accepted this reprimand and has committed to earn back our trust," the statement continued.

Meanwhile, Kellogg Co. announced that the Olympian's behavior is "not consistent with the image of Kellogg," and that it would not renew his contract, which expires at the end of February.

The swimmer appeared on Frosted Flakes and Corn Flakes cereal boxes after winning a record eight gold medals over the summer at the Beijing games.

Relive Phelps' glory moments.

A rep for Phelps, 23, did not comment.

Most of the swimmer's sponsors have said they're sticking by Phelps, including Visa, Speedo, luxury Swiss watchmaker Omega and athletic drink PureSports.

On Wednesday, Phelps told the Baltimore Sun that it "definitely wasn't easy" explaining those pot pics to his mom, Debbie -- especially after he'd already gotten in hot water with her when he was arrested in 2004 for DUI at age 19.

He added: "This was stupid, and I know this won't happen again."

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Fast and Furious Movie Makes 72.5M at Opening

LOS ANGELES - "Fast & Furious" left the competition in the dust with a $72.5 million opening weekend, the best so far this year.

That topped last weekend's $59.3 million debut for DreamWorks Animation's "Monsters vs. Aliens," which slipped to second place with $33.5 million, raising its 10-day total to $105.7 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.

Universal's "Fast & Furious" also raced to a record for April debuts, easily passing the previous best of $42.2 million set in 2003 by "Anger Management."

It was a blockbuster opening more customary to summer. But Hollywood has been extending its busy season more and more by placing summer-style flicks earlier in the year.

"It's summer time in April," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box office tracker Media By Numbers. "We've seen the summer season stretch from what used to be Memorial Day through Labor Day, then the first of May through Labor Day. Now maybe with 'Fast & Furious,' it's going to be early April as the beginning of summer."

The weekend's other new wide release, Miramax's 1980s nostalgia comedy "Adventureland," debuted at No. 6 with $6 million. The movie stars Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart as summer workers at a second-rate theme park in the late '80s.

The fourth installment of the "Fast and the Furious" street-racing franchise brings back the four stars of the 2001 original — Vin Diesel , Paul Walker , Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster. The new movie has Diesel's fugitive driver and Walker's undercover cop reteaming for more illegal races as they take on a murderous drug lord.

The reunion paid off for distributor Universal, which also pulled in $30.1 million in 32 other countries where "Fast & Furious" was playing.

The original was a surprise hit, but the franchise was slowly running out of gas after the sequel "2 Fast 2 Furious," which starred Walker. Part three, "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift," had a new cast and took in a solid but unremarkable $62.5 million over its entire run.

But "Tokyo Drift" ended with a cameo by Diesel, sparking interest in reviving the series with the "Fast & Furious" reunion.

"The marketing campaign let everyone know it's not what you've seen before. It's the original cast," said Nikki Rocco, head of distribution for Universal. "For the audience, the first main reason to see the movie was the action, then the car racing, then Vin Diesel ."

"Fast & Furious" paced Hollywood to another huge weekend, with overall revenues at $160 million, up 68 percent from the same period last year.

For the year, domestic revenues are running at a record pace of $2.57 billion, up 14.5 percent from 2008's, according to Media By Numbers. Factoring in 2009's higher ticket prices, movie attendance is running 12.8 percent ahead of last year's.

"The title of this movie perfectly describes the box office year of 2009. Fast and furious," Dergarabedian said.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Media By Numbers LLC. Final figures will be released Monday.

1. "Fast & Furious," $72.5 million.

2. "Monsters vs. Aliens," $33.5 million.

3. "The Haunting in Connecticut," $9.6 million.

4. "Knowing," $8.1 million.

5. "I Love You, Man," $7.9 million.

6. "Adventureland," $6 million.

7. "Duplicity," $4.3 million.

8. "Race to Witch Mountain," $3.4 million.

9. "12 Rounds," $2.3 million.

10. "Sunshine Cleaning," $1.9 million.

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Madonna Fails in Adoption Bid in Malawi

LILONGWE, Malawi -- Madonna has left the African nation of Malawi after being rejected in her bid to adopt a young girl, the UK's Telegraph reported.

Air traffic officials reportedly told the newspaper that Madonna left on her private Gulfstream jet heading for London. Madonna 's adoption of Chifundo "Mercy" James, reportedly between 3 and 4 years old, was rejected in a closed-door session on the grounds of a residency rule that requires a person to spend 18 to 24 months in the country prior to the adoption.

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Peter Baneti, the uncle of Mercy, told the paper he was disappointed in the judge's ruling.

"We don't understand the judge's reasoning," he said. "We as a family discussed this and agreed that it is in the best interests of Mercy to have her adopted, so why should the judge stop this if the family is OK with it?"

VIEW THE PHOTOS: Madonna - Music's Royal Madgesty!

Mercy is currently living in a Kondanani orphanage, a situation Baneti said should've taken precedence over residency rules.

"Does she know what it means to be poor? Does she know life in an orphanage? How can she say Mercy is better off at Kondanani?" he said of the judge. "We are very disappointed. We hope that the Supreme Court will overturn her ruling."

For Madonna , who spent the week in Malawi, the trip was also a homecoming for her adopted son, David Banda, who she adopted from the country in 2006.

VIEW THE PHOTOS: Celebs Who Opt To Adopt

" Madonna is committed to maintaining an ongoing relationship with David's Malawian roots," the singer's rep said in a statement to The Associated Press last week.

And the singer has committed more than that to Malawi, giving charitable aid and filming a documentary on the nation, "I Am Because We Are."

" Madonna has been good to us. She is supporting over 25,000 orphans in this country," the country's Information Minister, Patricia Kaliati, reportedly said earlier in the week. "We support her adoption process."

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Farrah Fawcett hospitalised with reoccuring cancer

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actress Farrah Fawcett , who has been battling cancer for almost three years, has been admitted to a Los Angeles hospital, according to news reports.

The 62-year-old former star of "Charlie's Angels," was hospitalized on Thursday, according to People magazine.

Celebrity gossip Web site Radaronline, which broke the news, quoted sources as saying the actress was unconscious.

The hospital was not identified. A Fawcett spokesman did not return a call seeking comment on Sunday.

Fawcett was diagnosed with anal cancer in September 2006. Four months later, she declared herself cancer-free, only to have the disease return in May 2007. Fawcett traveled to Germany for alternative treatment and documented her experiences, footage of which she shared with entertainment television shows in early 2008.

The Texas native rose to fame through an iconic pin-up poster for which she posed flirtatiously in a red bathing suit. In 1976, TV producer Aaron Spelling cast Fawcett for "Charlie's Angels," in which she played Jill Munroe, the tanned, glamorous undercover detective with tousled blonde hair.

Starring alongside brunette actresses Jaclyn Smith and Kate Jackson, Fawcett was the hit show's top attraction, but she quit at the end of its first season. After being sued for breach of contract, she made a few guest appearances in subsequent years.

The actress sought to downplay her sex-symbol status through meatier roles in the 1980s. She earned critical acclaim for her performance as a domestic violence survivor in 1984's "The Burning Bed," for which she received the first of three Emmy nominations.

Separately, her son with former long-time boyfriend Ryan O'Neal was arrested on Sunday for allegedly trying to smuggle drugs into a Los Angeles-area jail. Redmond O'Neal, 24, who has a long history of drug arrests, was detained at a facility in Santa Clarita, while about to visit an inmate, said the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department. He was being held on $25,000 bail.

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Paul McCartney and Ringo Star

NEW YORK - An all-star concert on meditation brought Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr

together for their first performance together in seven years.

The reunion of McCartney and Starr, the surviving members of the Beatles, was the highlight of the "Change Begins Within" concert on Saturday night. The event was held at Radio City Music Hall to benefit the David Lynch Foundation, which aims to teach at-risk youth meditation techniques.

"Ladies and gentlemen, Billy Shears," McCartney told the crowd, referring to the fictional character on the classic Beatles' album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," as Starr emerged and immediately launched into his part in the Beatles' classic "With a Little Help from My Friends."

McCartney and Starr last performed together in 2002 at the Concert for George, which honored former Beatles George Harrison at London's Royal Albert Hall a year after Harrison's death.

Saturday's concert, which also featured Sheryl Crow , Eddie Vedder , Donovan and others, ran for about four hours. But McCartney had thousand of fans on their feet as he hit the stage near the show's end. Opening with a spirited version of "Drive My Car," he went through a generous selection of Beatles and Wings classics, from "Can't Buy Me Love" and "Let It Be" to "Jet" and "Band on the Run."

McCartney remembered John Lennon by playing "Here Today," a song he wrote for the former Beatle, slain in 1980.

For the encore, McCartney was joined on stage by Donovan, Crow, Mike Love (of the Beach Boys), Vedder, Paul Horn, and of course, Starr on drums. After an epic version of "Cosmically Conscious," he launched into the crowd-pleasing "I Saw Her Standing There."

Other key moments of the night included an energetic cover of Queen's "Under Pressure" by Vedder and Ben Harper , while Crow paid tribute to Harrison with a harmonious version of his "My Sweet Lord."

Between the music, the night's stars talked about the power of meditation to overcome problems. Howard Stern said he has meditated for 37 years, told the crowd that he credits meditation for saving his mother from depression.

He was followed by Starr's three-song set. Starr introduced the Beatles song "Boys" by saying: "I've been playing this next song longer than Howard Stern has meditated."

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Redmond O'Neal Caught with Drugs Again

Redmond O'Neal, it seems, can't shake his personal demons.

The troubled son of Oscar-nominated actor Ryan O'Neal and actress Farrah Fawcett was arrested Sunday morning for possession of narcotics and for bringing narcotics into a jail facility, Los Angeles Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore confirms.

"At about 9:30 a.m., our deputies did a routine security check on a car in the parking lot of one of our jails," Whitmore says. "Redmond was driving the vehicle, and admitted to deputies he was in possession of drugs."

Whitmore adds that O'Neal, 24, was accompanied by a friend "who wanted to visit someone" at the facility located about 40 miles north of L.A. While he wasn't actually caught passing drugs onto any inmates, "the parking lot is considered part of the jail and is a secure area," Whitmore explains.

O'Neal, who's currently serving probation for a June 2008 DUI and drug possession conviction, is also facing drug charges in another case that involved his father to which he pleaded not guilty

O'Neal remains in police custody, and is being held in lieu of $25,000 bail. A court hearing for this latest arrest has been set for April 7.

A lawyer for O'Neal wasn't immediately available for comment.
less than two weeks ago.

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Brad Pitt Goes to Cannes Film Festival-Brad Pitt Awards

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- Angelina Jolie made quite a splash at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival - but this year, her partner Brad Pitt will have the spotlight.

According to Variety, Quentin Tarantino 's WWII epic "Inglourious Basterds," starring Brad, is headed to the annual film festival. Cannes sources told the entertainment trade that Tarantino has accepted an offer to have the film's world premiere at the festival in May.

VIEW THE PHOTOS: Then & Now: The Lovely Angelina Jolie!

Cannes organizers could not be reached for comment when contacted by Variety. The Weinstein Co. and Universal pictures, who are producing the movie, would not comment either.

The film festival's official lineup will be announced on April 23.

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Madonna Confirms Second Adoption Try for a Malawian Girl

Megastar Madonna has finally confirmed that she'll try and adopt another baby from the African nation of Malawi, E! Online reported today.

The "Like a Virgin" singer is trying to bring 4-year-old Chifundo "Mercy" James back to her Hollywood digs, where the African toddler would join Madonna's other kids, Lourdes, 12, Rocco, 8, and David Banda, 3.

Madonna first jumped on the Angelina Jolie international adoption bandwagon in 2006 when she adopted Banda from Malawi.

"Madonna is committed to maintaining an ongoing relationship with David's Malawian roots," the singer's spokeswoman Liz Rosenberg said.

"Madonna is currently awaiting a judge's ruling regarding the adoption of Mercy James. She is following all standard procedures that are required," she said.

Malawian adoption officials spoke out against Madonna's adoption hopes this week and last, saying the Material Mom's flings with New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez and twenty-something model Jesus Luz made her an irresponsible choice for parenthood.

Madonna's divorce from director ex-hubby Guy Ritchie also played a part - Malawian officials said the pop diva lived in a "broken home" that could be unfit for a child.

"Mercy James is a child who has her extended close family members alive and we urge Madonna to assist the child from right here," a statement from a Malawi adoption-rights coalition said.

Madonna rocked a $2,800 Chanel sweatsuit in David Banda's native village in Malawi this morning as she toured impoverished neighborhoods in the area. She and her children paid a visit to David's native orphanage, where she saw where the little boy grew up before she adopted him several years ago.

"It was an emotional moment," the orphanage's director said.

Madonna closed her first adoption hearing this morning, but the judge adjourned the case until Friday.

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Rihanna in Hawaii-Will Rihanna Recover from Chris Brown Assault-Rihanna in a Traffic Accident-Fender Bender

Fresh off her quick trip to Hawaii, Rihanna went out to dinner at Da Silvano's in NYC last night (get her look here) and was already arriving in Barbados today. Her driver in NYC got into a minor car accident after their meal, which marks her second traffic incident in as many weeks, but Rihanna just flashed a smile and switched cars. For now, her dad is happy to have her home whether or not she heads back to LA for Chris's Monday hearing.

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Lindsay Lohan Denied entry into Samantha Ronson's Big Bash

Los Angeles (E! Online) – The Lindsay Lohan/Samantha Ronson relationship drama may have just gotten a family-values twist...of the knife. But the most surprising part might be that it isn't the Lohan family doing the twisting.

OK! magazine reports that Sam's designing sister Charlotte Ronson had Lindsay banned from her I Heart Ronson party Friday Night at Bar Marmont—where Sam was deejaying. OK! says that when Lindsay tried to enter, she was reportedly "held back at the door by five bouncers," because they were apparently under strict instructions to "look out for Lindsay" and "not to let her in under any circumstances."

The magazine's source says that before the show, the Ronson family had gone out of their way to keep the actress out: "Unless Lindsay rams a truck through the red carpet or skydives in, she won't be here."

And a source at the party confirms to E! that the Ronsons had asked Lohan not to attend.

While LiLo couldn't enter, other celebs including Nicole Richie, Molly Sims, Sting, Jewel and even Paris Hilton reportedly had no problem getting into the event.

Maybe Charlotte was just worried that she might get Lohan'd, as Lily Allen had been earlier this week by the spotlight-seeking actress. Samantha, meanwhile, seemed oblivious to the LiLo drama and continued spinning well after the gig's official 11 p.m. finish. Is something else officially finished? Stay tuned.

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Lindsay Lohan Needs To Eat... and so do you!

Why is it that when a waifish celeb is called out for looking a little thinner than normal, their first line of defense is name dropping Mickey D's? A quick look back in history shows this trend with Nicole Richie, Paris Hilton, and now Lindsay Lohan. She says:

"I eat. I had my Big Mac yesterday from McDonald's. I eat just as much as I always have."

The pin-thin Lohan might want to adjust her Big Mac consumption a bit. It takes more than one double-patty meal deal to keep a girl going. This isn't the first time that people have called her health into question when she's shown up looking a little pinched. She also blames "working a lot," and "stress," as factors for her current slight frame.

I think a Bacon Log might be just what the doctor ordered.

I don't know about you, but we've had our fill of celeb-weight-obsession for the month. If La Lohan isn't engaging in fisticuffs with her ladylove, or perhaps acting in that newfangled picture show business, I don't want to hear a word about it.

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Movie Stars as Sponges Edit Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt in Scotch Brite Ads

Jennifer Aniston must be laughing at how Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are used in these new Scotch Brite ads from Egypt. Yeah, they are used as sponges!

The ads use the characters of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt from the movie ‘Mr & Mrs Smith’ as the green and yellow sides of Scotch Brite.

Brad Pitt is uses as the green (rough to clean) while Angelina Jolie is the yellow (soft to dry).

The campaign also uses Tom & Jerry and Laurel & Hardy to highlight their green & yellow scrubbing sponges.

The ads were created by Lowe Egypt, Cairo with creative directors Hisham Kharma & Hesham Ellabban, and art director Montasser Khalil.

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Was John Mayer singing about Jennifer Aniston Heart Break?

The song is called "Heartbreak Warfare". Sigh.

John Mayer just takes breakups so well. The singer debuted his new song "Heartbreak Warfare" on March 28, a mere week after breaking up with on-again, off-again girlfriend Jennifer Aniston. According to US Weekly, right before performing the song, John told the 3,000 fans aboard the Mayercraft Carrier 2, "It's miserable being around someone who's negative."

Other rumors that have been circulating that America's Sweetheart, Jen Aniston, is acting like quite the diva on the set of her new movie "The Baster". Reports are saying that she held up filming because her hair wasn't done and that she is isn't interacting with anyone on set.

Hmmm, maybe she is just tired of everyone asking her about John and whether his pathetic cries for attention are indeed about her. Yeah, maybe he wrote the song about her, but he is the one who sounds bitter. John, no need to trash someone after it's over!

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Jennifer Aniston And Sean Avery Affair Exposed In New York And Boston

Sean Avery of the New York Rangers has been lambasted repeatedly in recent games and in the media even though he has changed his role from third line agitator to first line scorer and performed with Zen-like calm on and off the ice.

A story out of Boston today, where the Rangers will play the Bruins in a game which could be a preview of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, called Avery "A very disruptive force", "hockey's biggest little pain in the dasher", and a character who should have been suiting up with the Hanson Brothers and the rest of the Charlestown Chiefs in "Slap Shot".

Glen Farley, writing for Gatehouse News Service, with a story in the Patriot Ledger, said, "Hide the women and children."

At the same time, reports out of New York City claim former Friends star Jennifer Aniston, 40, has Avery, 28, on a list of sports stars to date, along with David Wright, 26, of the New York Mets, and Derek Jeter, 35, captain of the New York Yankees, while she is in New York filming The Baster.

Jennifer Aniston is reportedly considering starting a family right away as she feels her “biological clock ticking.” The Baster is about a disturbed and unstable man who finds out that his best friend is planning on having a child through artificial insemination.

The movie called The Baster is adapted from a short story by Jeffrey Eugenides that was published in the New Yorker. Avery has a movie in the works called Puckface, based on an article he wrote for Men's Vogue about his time working at Vogue magazine.

Avery has not commented on anything except hockey since February when he started playing his way back into game shape with the Hartford Wolf Pack of the AHL. At that time, he was described as Zen-like.

More recently, he was called a Zen master by Greg Wyshynski and other hockey writers.

He has made no comment about Rachel Hunter's plans to marry Jarret Stoll of the Los Angeles Kings. He has not responded to any comments Elisha Cuthbert has made about him in People magazine while doing publicity for her new movie, a remake of Re-Animater.

Despite his changing role on the ice, on the Rangers first line, getting points, other teams still expect him to fight. It looks like other teams line up to hit Avery, night after night, for big hits and cheap shots, but he has refused to fight.

It is rumored Avery will be one of the surprise guests on stage at Radio City Music Hall on Saturday night when Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and others perform at a concert called Change Begins Within.

The concert is a benefit for a foundation that wants to teach meditation techniques to one million at risk youths.

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