Sunday, September 21, 2008

Woman revises lawsuit over Ledger tape

By ANTHONY McCARTNEY, AP Entertainment Writer

Heath Ledger

The revisions come less than a month after a Los Angeles Superior Court judge frequently cited her profession in dismissing most of the woman's claims.

The lawsuit focuses on a tape that was allegedly made hours after the 2006 Screen Actors Guild Awards, which Ledger had attended as a nominee in a best actor category for his role in "Brokeback Mountain."

The revised suit is seeking unspecified damages, destruction of the video and the profits of the tape's sale. The new complaint alleges fraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence and six other claims; the original lawsuit featured 12 claims, 11 of which were dismissed.

Judge John S. Wiley Jr. cited the woman's assignment in his reasoning for invalidating several of the initial claims. He said the woman, identified only as "Jane Doe," rented a hotel room at the Chateau Marmont as part of her job. She was on assignment for People magazine.

The amended lawsuit filed Thursday, however, states that the woman's assignment was only to observe the "Brokeback Mountain" and "Capote" after-parties at the hotel that night. The suit claims she was not authorized to conduct one-on-one interviews with any celebrities.

According to the amended suit, Ledger agreed to go back to the woman's hotel room after he was befriended at the after-party by two men who worked for Splash News & Picture Agency. The freelancer had brought one of the men to the party as her date but did not invite the other Splash employee, the lawsuit states.

The woman was "excited and almost could not believe that she was going to 'hang out' with the person who was nominated for a SAG award," the lawsuit states.

The woman did not identify herself as a reporter to Ledger, nor did the Splash News paparazzi, according to the lawsuit.

Ronald Makarem, an attorney representing the photographers and Splash News, said Friday he had not seen the revised lawsuit and declined to comment.

The existence of the tape was not revealed until after Ledger's death from an accidental prescription drug overdose earlier this year. "Entertainment Tonight" and its sister show "The Insider" scrapped plans to air the footage, but it later surfaced online.

The lawsuit states it may have generated more than $1 million in revenues.

Ledger — who has been celebrated this year for his role as the villainous Joker in "The Dark Knight" — was already an established actor when the tape was made.

The reporter's likeness is blurred on the video.

Wiley tentatively dismissed several of the lawsuit's claims on Sept. 3, saying that the woman's brief appearance on the video did not make it valuable.

The judge also sided with defense attorneys, who argued that the woman could not make many of her claims on behalf of Ledger. "The tape's valuable because of Heath Ledger, not because of Jane Doe," Wiley said.

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Hollywood deals proceed despite Wall Street drama

By Sue Zeidler

Wall Streetdisaster movie

This week, J.P. Morgan, considered to be the entertainment
industry's top banker, finalized two film-related financings
totally nearly $1 billion, showing how resilient movie magic is
to the gloom and doom on Wall Street.

"People will continue to go to movies, buy or rent DVDs and
watch pay-per-view," said Eileen Burke, a managing director at
investment firm D.B. Zwirn & Co.

"In terms of entertainment companies' ability to access
capital, I think if you have a good company with a good asset
base, you can still borrow money. Well-structured deals are
getting done," she said.

J.P. Morgan led a $700 million debt financing for India's
Reliance ADA Group to help fund its new venture with Steven
Spielberg and the DreamWorks SKG team, sources close to the
deal said on Friday.

The investment bank also is expected to close on Friday a
$295 million financing for Media Rights Capital, the company
behind a new Cameron Diaz movie called "The Box," said banking
sources with knowledge of the deal. Comerica Inc was another
underwriter, they said.

"Every banker I talk to right now is pretty grumpy and say
the markets are as bad as they've ever seen," said Bill
Johnson, a partner with Inferno Distribution LLC in Beverly
Hills, California.

However, he said that there was still healthy interest in
Hollywood deals, albeit of a smaller scale.

"When the wave of fear subsides, I think the smarter
bankers and investors will see the film class as recession
proof and a good investment," he said.


To be sure, Hollywood has taken a hit from the credit
crunch. Months ago, hedge funds that had poured $15 billion
into film deals over the last three years started to retreat.

Those funds, partnered with big banks, had backed slates of
movies from studios like Sony Corp's Sony Pictures, Viacom
Inc's Paramount and Time Warner Inc's Warner Bros., shouldering
some of the risks usually absorbed by studios in return for a
share of box office sales.

Paramount recently ditched efforts to raise up to $450
million in a slate deal with Deutsche Bank and is said to be
now planning to co-finance films on a picture-by-picture basis.

"We've seen hedge funds pull back to some extent, as a
number of deals done in the last two years haven't met
expectations," said Burke.

But while slate financings are no longer popular, Hollywood
insiders say plenty of well-structured deals are still getting
done for middle market film and entertainment companies.

These financings are typically $100 million to $300 million
bank loans for films in production, with collateral such as
receivables, film libraries and inventory credits.

Walt Disney Co recently said it sees no problem finding new
investors in a down market but may not want to share profits or
ownership going forward and has not yet decided whether to turn
to outside film financing again when its Kingdom Films LLC deal
runs out in mid-2009.

Suisse First Boston
AramidOliver Stone

(Additional reporting by Gina Keating, Los Angeles; editing
by Carol Bishopric)

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McCartney's ex donating $1M in vegan food to Bronx

Paul McCartneychicken cutlets

Heather Mills is set to announce the donation just before the Hunts Point Back to School Fair kicks off Saturday afternoon. The vegan animal rights campaigner is an honorary chairwoman of the nonprofit that organizes the event.

She tells the New York Post that she wants to make sure children in the neighborhood "have as many nutritional advantages as anyone else."

Children in Hunts Point have some of the highest obesity and asthma rates in the city.

Mills and McCartney were granted a divorce earlier this year.


On The Net:

Heather Mills:

Hunts Point Alliance for Children: http://huntspointallianceforchildren.wordpress /

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J.K. Rowling backs Labour Party with big check

By GREGORY KATZ, Associated Press Writer

Labour Party

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling made a rare foray into Britain's bruising political battles Saturday, donating $1.8 million to the struggling Labour Party and accusing the rival Conservatives of discriminating against poor parents trying to work their way out of poverty.

In a statement that referred back to the days when she was struggling to feed and cloth her family, Rowling said Prime Minister Gordon Brown has worked hard to reduce child poverty while Conservative chief David Cameron has proposed tax changes that would hurt working single parents.

"I believe that poor and vulnerable families will fare much better under the Labour Party than they would under a Cameron-led Conservative Party," said Rowling, who has become one of the world's richest and most successful authors with the unprecedented appetite for Harry Potter stories.

The Labour Party opens its annual conference trailing the resurgent Conservatives by more than 20 points in most opinion polls with an election due within two years.

Brown, who is trying to quash a rebellion from some members of his own party, thanked Rowling for the donation, which comes at a time when the Labour Party is saddled with extensive debts. He said he was "delighted" with her help.

Rowling has generally stayed out of the political frays, but she appears to have been upset by Conservative tax plans that she said would increase benefits for married couples without helping single parents.

"David Cameron's promise of tax perks for the married is reminiscent of the Conservative government I experienced as a lone parent," she said. "It sends the message that the Conservatives still believe a childless, dual-income, but married couple is more deserving of a financial pat on the head than those struggling, as I once was, to keep their families afloat in difficult times."

British newspapers this year estimated Rowling's wealth at $1 billion.

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Oprah picks novel of boy and his dog for book club

David Wroblewskiovernight successOprah Winfrey

Oprah on Friday named "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle" by
Wroblewski as the 62nd pick for her book club, saying the debut
novel was "right up there with the greatest American novels
ever written."

"It's everything you want a book to be," Oprah said in a

The novel is set on a northern Wisconsin farm in the 1970s
and was described as tale of a mute boy named Edgar and the
special bond he shares with his dog Almondine, interweaving
mystery and family intrigue into a coming-of-age story.

Oprah's book club is the biggest in the world with 2
million online members and books chosen for Oprah's book club
invariably skyrocket to the top of U.S. bestseller lists.

The author, who was born in 1959, was raised in rural
central Wisconsin, not far from where "The Story of Edgar
Sawtelle" is set. He now lives in Colorado with his partner,
writer Kimberly McClintock.

Wroblewski said he was "proud and excited" that his book
had been chosen for Oprah's Book Club.

"My highest hope is that it does for you the simple work
novels were meant for: to create, for days or weeks, that
delicious doubled life of the here-and-now folded back upon the
there-and-then," he said in a statement.

"The Story of Edgar Sawtelle" was first published this year
by Ecco, an imprint of Harper Collins that is owned by News

(Writing by Belinda Goldsmith, editing by Todd Eastham)

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Poll: Got Leggings & She Knows How to Use 'Em

Jefferson Reid

Lindsay LohanArnold Schwarzenegger

But whatever her acting challenges (I Know Who Killed My Career, er, Me), she appears to be flourishing in the fashion niche. Not only did her overpriced leggings sell well, but now she's coming out with a more moderately overpriced version.

And, as Access Hollywood reported yesterday, her status as one of the most fashion-savvy stars was reinforced by her selection as the guest judge on next season's premiere of Project Runway.

Which got us to wondering, will LiLo's future fame be more as a movie star or fashion maven? Take the poll below and let us know what you think, or add your two cents in the comments section.


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'Sopranos' actor's murder trial set for October

SopranosLillo Brancato JrNew York police officer

A judge ruled Friday that Brancato and co-defendant Steven Armento would be tried separately. Prosecutors wanted them tried together.

Authorities say they broke into an apartment to look for prescription drugs in 2005. Officer Daniel Enchautegui (en-chow-TAY'-gee) confronted them and was killed in a shootout. Armento is accused of firing the fatal shot.

Brancato, who played an aspiring mobster on HBO's "The Sopranos," says he didn't know Armento had a gun.

Brancato's murder trial is set for Oct. 28. Armento goes on trial Sept. 29.


Information from: Daily News, http://www.nydailynews

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Eddie Vedder pens song for Chicago Cubs die-hards

Eddie Vedder

The Pearl Jam front man has released a song for the Chicago baseball team at the request of Cubs great Ernie Banks. It's called "All the Way."

Vedder made the song available on Pearl Jam's Web site this week. It's been buzzing on radios in Chicago and in bars near Wrigley Field.

The lyrics pay homage to a team that hasn't won a World Series for 100 years. The Cubs defeated the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday to clinch the NL Central title.

"Someday we'll go all the way," the refrain goes. "Yeah, someday we'll go all the way."

Though Vedder became synonymous with the Seattle grunge sound in the '90s, he was born in the Chicago area and is a longtime Cubs fan.

"When you're born in Chicago you're blessed and you're healed the first time you walk into Wrigley Field," Vedder writes.

Vedder's Grammy-winning band is known for such songs as "Alive" and "Evenflow."


On the Net:

Pearl Jam: http://www.pearljam/

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George Michael cautioned for drugs: British police

British pop star George MichaelLondon

"A 45-year-old man was arrested on 19 September on suspicion of possession of drugs in the Hampstead Heath area," a Metropolitan Police spokesman said.

The singer was taken to a police station and given the caution for possessing class A and class C drugs, police said.

Under British law, class A drugs can include crack cocaine.

Michael, 45, has admitted using drugs in the past.

In 2006, he was found slumped over the wheel of his car and last year he was given a two-year driving ban after pleading guilty to driving while unfit through drugs.

Michael has sold more than 100 million records worldwide, with seven US number one singles, 11 number one singles in Britain and six number one albums.

Last month he wrapped up his first tour for 15 years with concerts in London and Copenhagen and said they were his last ever arena and stadium shows.

On the tour, he wore a police uniform to perform his number one hit "Outside" which refers to his arrest in 1998 when he made lewd advances to an undercover male police officer in a public toilet in Beverly Hills, California.

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Actress Mia Farrow visits Haiti storm victims

Actress Mia FarrowHaiti

Farrow visited a mud-filled cathedral on Saturday in Gonaives, where hundreds of storm victims have been living since early September.

The storms killed at least 425 people, destroyed thousands of homes and razed 60 percent of the island's agriculture.

Farrow, a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, will also visit sites in Port-au-Prince and the hard-hit town of Cabaret during a five-day tour.

The United Nations has distributed food and water to some 240,000 people, but raised only 2 percent of its US$108 million aid goal.

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Crashed Jet's Flight Records Reveal No Prior Problems

Ken Baker

Federal Aviation Administration flightLearjetSouth CarolinaTravis Barker

We have learned that the 11-seat jet, which was registered with the FAA out of Irvine, Cali., had recently been housed in a hangar in Teterboro, N.J., that is used mostly by corporate clients.

According to flight records, the jet made a routine one-hour, 26-minute flight from Teterboro to Columbia (S.C.) Metropolitan Airport Friday night, arriving at 11:08 p.m.

Less than an hour later, shortly before midnight, the plane attempted takeoff en route to Van Nuys and crashed before taking flight.

"Something must have gone wrong on the ground," says an FAA source. "It appears the plane had no mechanical issues."

The jet had made several flights recently in California, Arizona, New Jersey and Kansas.

Global Exec Aviation LLC, which operated the doomed jet, said in a statement today that it is working with FAA officials to determine exactly what led to the crash:

"We wish to express our deepest condolences to the passengers and families affected by this tragic accident that occurred last evening in Columbia, South CarolinaOur thoughts and prayers are for a complete and speedy recovery for the surviving passengers, Mr. Barker and Mr. Goldstein.

"The focus of our efforts at this time is to support and attend to the needs of our passengers, our crews and their families and work with the [National Transportation Safety Board], FAA and local public safety officials to determine the cause of this accident."

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Lindsay, Sam Blog About "Horrible News"; DJ AM's Club Partners, Rep Speak Out

Natalie Finn

tragic plane crashTravis Barker

"horrible news [sic]," began a blog post written by Lindsay Lohan today in response to the tragedy, which killed four and left Adam "DJ AM" Goldstein and Barker seriously injured.

"please send your prayers out to adam goldstien [sic] and travis barker—along with the others lost in the plane crash...

"it's so scary to think that life can end so fast...we must all treasure each and every moment—and be thankful for what we have...all my love..xoxo...L"

In her own post, Lohan's gal-pal Samantha Ronson, who spins for the same Hollywood scene that made DJ AM a celebrity, had a similarly shocked reaction to what happened to Barker and her "good friend Adam."

"i don't really know what to say, it's such horrifying news, but i was hoping you guys would please send him your best wishes/prayers because I don't really know what else to do," Ronson wrote. "

"also for travis barker, who was on the plane. four other people were on the plane and did not survive, i can't even imagine the pain their families must be in. soooooo sad and i'm so sorry."

Lohan and Ronson, of course, are not the only ones reeling from the accident.

Meanwhile, in an exclusive statement to E! News, Pure Management Group, which operates DJ AM's Hollywood club LAX, extended its condolences to everyone involved.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to both Adam and Travis," said Michael Greco, Pure's VP of Entertainment.

"The PMG family is deeply saddened by the news of this unfortunate event and we wish Adam and Travis a speedy recovery and send our sincere condolences to the families who lost loved ones."

DJ AM's rep also confirmed reports that the celebrity spinner and Barker are in critical but stable condition and paid its respect to those who lost family members last night.

"Both Travis Barker and Adam Goldstein (DJ AM) are in critical but stable conditon and are being treated at Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta, Georgia after surviving a plane crash late last night in Columbia, South Carolina," the statement read. 

"The hospital will issue a statement with an update on their condition at 9:00 am eastern time tomorrow. Due to the nature of the injuries and the evolving course of treatment no further information on their condition is available at this time. The accident claimed the lives of four people on board, two of whom, Chris Baker (Lil Chris) and Charles Stills (Che), were close friends of the injured. 

"On behalf of Travis Barker and DJ AM, deepest sympathy is expressed to the loved ones of all who perished in the crash.  As the two recuperate and mourn this loss, privacy for them, their families, and friends is requested at this time."

—Additional reporting by Matt Donnelly

(Originally published Sept. 20, 2008 at 6:51 p.m. PT)

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Rep: Wife of Barker Pal Chris Baker Not Expecting

EOL Staff

Travis Barker

"In regards to [inaccurate reports], Lil Chris Baker did not ask for a jet to meet his wife in delivery because she's not even pregnant. A private jet had always been chartered as DJ AM had a private engagement today in Los Angeles."

Baker and his wife are parents of a 2-year-old son.

The 29-year-old Studio City, Calif., resident managed Barker's L.A. punk-fashion boutique Fast Life and was frequently seen on the drummer's MTV reality series Meet the Barkers.

EDITOR'S NOTE: E! Online's earlier report about Baker was based on information received from a friend of DJ AM. We regret our error.

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Emmy nominees pause to party before big night

By SANDY COHEN, AP Entertainment Writer

60th Primetime Emmy Awards


CALM BEFORE THE STORM: Work hard, party right.

Emmy nominees Chandra Wilson, Sandra Oh, Sarah Silverman, Jon Hamm and Don Rickles were among the stars at a luxe party held in their honor Friday, where many said they needed the breather in a frantic week.

The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences feted nominated performers at a private soiree at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood.

In a sunny room filled with yellow roses and orange daisies, a five-piece band played on the patio while guests munched on mini meat loaves, mac 'n' cheese and wild salmon "Wellington." They sipped martinis and a special wine vintage bottled just for the Emmys.

Guests also had a chance to try on pricey diamonds and make their own chocolate gift bags, and each took home a mini makeup kit for the big day.

For the nominees, it was a rare chance to relax in an otherwise busy week.

"I can't keep everything straight from day to day," said Hamm, up for his first Emmy for "Mad Men." "It's been very busy, but it's been busy for a good cause and an exciting cause."

Kathryn Joosten, who won an Emmy last week for her guest appearance on "Desperate Housewives," said she was all about enjoying the week's festivities.

"I already got my Emmy, so I'm just chilling now," she said.

Jon Cryer, who's enjoying his third Emmy nod for "Two and a Half Men," said he's just as happy for his colleagues as he is for himself.

"The excitement for me this year is seeing people like Jon Hamm get nominated," he said. "He and I did a pilot together years ago and it's like, 'Oh my God, he's nominated! This is fantastic!' (The Emmys) are like going to a huge great party with everybody you ever cared about professionally."

Though it's Hamm's first Emmy show, he said he won't make a big deal out of getting ready: "I'm probably going to watch some football, take a shower, put on my suit and go to the thing."

The show airs at 8 p.m EDT on ABC.


A MAJOR MASHUP: Josh Groban has raised us up, and now he's going to mix it up.

Golden GirlsThe JeffersonsSouth ParkGrammysGreg PhillinganesHeidi Klumred carpetfilm producerArnon MilchanJason AlexanderStaples CenterEmmy AwardsWalt Disney Co


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4 killed in SC plane crash; drummer, DJ injured

By JIM DAVENPORT, Associated Press Writer

South Carolina college studentsdrummer Travis Barkerdisc jockey DJ

Officials said the plane carrying six people was departing shortly before midnight Friday when air traffic controllers reporting seeing sparks. The plane hurtled off the end of a runway and crashed through antennas and a fence. It came to rest a quarter-mile away on an embankment across a five-lane highway and was engulfed in flames, said Debbie Hersman, a member of the National Transportation Safety Board.

Barker and DJ AM, whose real name is Adam Goldstein, were in critical but stable condition at a burn center in Augusta, Ga., on Saturday afternoon, hospital spokeswoman Beth Frits said. Augusta is about 75 miles southwest of Columbia.

Two other passengers — Chris Baker, 29, of Studio City, Calif., and Charles Still, 25, of Los Angeles — died, as did pilot Sarah Lemmon, 31, of Anaheim Hills, Calif., and co-pilot James Bland, 52, of Carlsbad, Calif., according to the county coroner. Baker was an assistant to Barker and Still was a security guard for the musician.

The plane was headed for Van Nuys, Calif. It is owned by Global Exec Aviation, a California-based charter company, and was certified to operate last year, Hersman said. The company expressed its condolences in a statement and said it was working with investigators to determine the cause of the crash.

At the crash site Saturday, the air was still heavy with the odor of jet fuel. A trail of black soot led off a runway. The nose of the aircraft was gone and the roof was missing from two-thirds of the charred plane.

Hersman said officials recovered the cockpit voice recorder Saturday but had yet to analyze it or determine whether the recording was in good condition. She said the weather was clear when the plane took off, but said no factors had been ruled out.

"We're working as fast as we can to document all the evidence," Hersman said. "We have not yet found anything but we are looking at everything."

Barker and Goldstein had performed together under the name TRVSDJ-AM at a free concert in Columbia on Friday night. Event sponsor T-Mobile said their hourlong set ended at about 7:15 p.m.

The show, which included performances by former Jane's Addiction singer Perry Farrell and singer Gavin DeGraw, drew 10,000 people into the streets of Five Points, the neighborhood near the University of South Carolina, Coble said.

Peter Kastis, Farrell's manager, said he and Farrell didn't find out about the crash until they arrived at the airport Saturday morning to find it closed.

"I just hugged them hello less than 24 hours ago. I wish I could hug them now," Kastis said.

Columbia's airport stayed closed Saturday and spokeswoman Lynne Douglas said she was unsure when it would reopen.

A longtime friend of Bland, the co-pilot, said he flew anti-smuggling missions 20 years for the U.S. Customs Service and also flew missions for the Santa Ana Police Department and U.S. Border Patrol.

"He was such an experienced pilot, it had to be something beyond their control," said Tim Ferrill, a Huntington Beach, Calif., pilot. "He was an absolutely meticulous pilot, very thorough and not a risk-taker at all."

Bland was survived by his wife and teenage daughter, Ferrill said.

On Saturday afternoon, several people gathered where the musicians performed the night before. Some of Barker's fans said they felt drawn to the spot.

punk rock bandEnema of the StateMeet the BarkersShanna MoaklerNicole RichieMandy Moorehouse bandMTV Video Music AwardsNew YorkThomas WatkinsLos Angeleshttp://www.djam/http://www.gavindegraw/


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