Christie Brinkley is taking ex-husband Billy Joel to task over the safety of their 17-year-old daughter, Alexa Ray, after Joel wrapped his car around a tree in Sag Harbor, Long Island, last weekend. In a statement released to the press by her publicist, Brinkley said, "The seat Alexa was sitting in only hours before this latest crash was completely decimated. I'm worried about Billy, but like any mother would be, I am alarmed and concerned about my child's safety by this frightening pattern of accidents." Joel was also involved in a similar car crash last June in East Hampton, whereupon he checked himself into a substance abuse and psychiatric center for treatment of depression. Sag Harbor officers insist Joel was not DWI, although he was not tested.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences might want to give him an honorary Oscar, but Peter O'Toole doesn't want to take it--at least, not just yet. Variety reports after AMPAS announced Monday the intent to salute him, the 70-year-old veteran actor wrote an open letter to the organization saying that while he was "enchanted" by the gesture, he is "still in the game and might win the lovely bugger outright," and asked the Academy if it would "please defer the honor until I am 80." Academy president Frank Pierson intends to award the actor anyway, saying in his own letter to O'Toole, "As to being 'in the game,' nobody ever thought you were out of it. The award is for achievement and contribution to the art of the motion picture, not for retirement."
In more Oscar news, the deadline for submitting Academy Award nomination ballots ends at 5:00 p.m. Wednesday. The nominations will be announced Feb. 11.
Variety reports Matt Damon will join his Ocean's Eleven director Steven Soderbergh once again to star in The Informant, based on a book by New York Times investigative reporter Kurt Eichenwald. The real-life story focuses on Mark Whitacre, a high-level mole who wore a FBI wire for two years to uncover corrupt dealings and prize-fixing scams at the corporation Archer Daniels Midland, the self-declared "supermarket to the world." ADM pleaded guilty in 1996 and paid a $100 million fine.
Product placement is the name of the game. According to Variety, Heineken beer bottles featured in Miramax Films' upcoming View From the Top, starring Gwyneth Paltrow, had to be digitally replaced with the Coors label, due to the seven-year agreement Miramax has with the beer company.
Three's Company star and television veteran John Ritter will host the first-ever TV Land Awards: A Celebration of Classic TV on March 2 and will air on the cable networks TV Land and Nick at Nite March 9. The kudos-cast will recognize TV shows that have withstood the test of time, Variety reports.
For now, the bar has been closed on Jimmy Kimmel's new late-night talk show. After a raucous premiere show early Monday, when guest George Clooney passed around a bottle of vodka and an audience member threw up, ABC execs decided to shut down a bar which served drinks to audience members, AP reports. Daniel Kellison, the show's executive producer, told AP, "They just said, 'Let's chill out on it and take it away for now' and we said fine."
Grammy nominees Bruce Springsteen and Norah Jones are among some of the artists who will perform live at the 45th annual Grammy broadcast Feb. 23 at Madison Square Garden. Others joining them include nominees Faith Hill and rapper Nelly (featuring Kelly Rowland).
Singer-songwriter Billy Joel was released from the hospital Sunday morning after crashing his Mercedes-Benz into a tree next to a Long Island freeway Saturday night, Reuters reports. Firefighters had to extricate the musician from the totaled vehicle. A hospital spokeswoman would not comment on Joel's injuries. Police said Joel was not issued any citations nor was he given a Breathalyzer test.
In a poll conducted by the magazine Total Film, fans chose British actor Jude Law as the next incarnation of James Bond. Coming in a close second was Scottish Moulin Rouge star Ewan McGregor followed by Reign of Fire's Christian Bale.
Pop princess Britney Spears' troubles with a Japanese businessman against whom she is seeking a restraining order are due to a "cultural misunderstanding," according to the man's lawyer. Masahiko Shizawa, 41, who was extradited from the U.S. when his visa expired, had sent the singer photos of himself and a love note saying, "I'm chasing you," Reuters reports. Shizawa, reportedly a millionaire computer programmer, is "a VIP in Japan" and had "no intent" to disturb Spears, his lawyer says.
Veteran thesp Peter O'Toole will receive an honorary Academy Award for his nearly four decades in the film industry. The actor has been nominated seven times for Best Actor, including for his performances in Lawrence of Arabia and My Favorite Year, but has never taken home the prize. "He has appeared in some of the most unforgettable roles in the history of the medium," Frank Pierson, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, told the Associated Press Friday in announcing the award.
Cedric The Entertainer will host the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Image Awards ceremony, despite some of the backlash he received from the character he portrayed in the film Barbershop. The character makes disparaging remarks about civil rights icons Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. and has caused some controversy in the black community, getting complaints from Rev. Jesse Jackson, among others. The 34th annual NAACP Image Awards is set for Mar. 8 and will be broadcast Mar. 13 on Fox.
Three's Company star Suzanne Somers got her own Hollywood Walk of Fame star Friday. "And the nuns in Catholic school said I'd never get to heaven," AP reports Somers joked during the ceremony. "This is heaven and I'm just floating in it."
Zsa Zsa Gabor, who was injured in a traffic accident nearly two months ago, has been moved from a hospital to a luxury suite at the Motion Picture and Television Hospital in Los Angeles, Calif., AP reports. On Nov. 27, the 85-year-old actress was in the passenger seat of a car when it struck a light pole. Gabor suffered from broken bones and received stitches in her head, arm and legs.
Screenwriter Norman Panama, who co-wrote with partner Melvin Frank such classics as White Christmas and the hit Broadway musical Li'l Abner, died Jan. 13 of complications from Parkinson's disease. He was 88.
After the success of Chicago and Moulin Rouge, Columbia Pictures is now jumping on the musical bandwagon by bringing an updated version of Bye Bye Birdie to the big screen. No cast or director has been set as yet. The original 1963 film starred Dick Van Dyke, Ann-Margret and Janet Leigh.