Roy Horn publicly describes attack for the first time
Roy Horn, one-half of the illusionist duo Siegfried & Roy, described for the first time his memories of being mauled by a tiger in an interview with Maria Shriver that aired Wednesday on the NBC special, Siegfried & Roy: The Miracle. Asked by Shriver what he was thinking at the time, Horn answered: "Dear God, let this be just a bad nightmare." Horn also told Shriver he remembers having a near-death experience on the operating table. "I saw a bank of white light, and then I saw all my beloved animals ... For a moment I stepped out of my body," said Horn, who now uses a motorized wheelchair. The magician was attacked by a 380-pound tiger named Montecore during a live performance at The Mirage hotel-casino in Las Vegas. The 7-year-old tiger bit into Horn's neck and dragged him off stage--until a show employee broke the animal's grip using a fire extinguisher.
Walters exits 20/20
Barbara Walters is giving up her role as co-host of the ABC newsmagazine show 20/20 after 25 years--and 740 interviews. Walters, 72, became a fixture on 20/20 in 1979 when she joined forces with then-host Hugh Downs. She has since interviewed the famous and infamous, including Richard Nixon, Michael Jackson, Erik and Lyle Menendez, Margaret Thatcher, Moammar Gadhafi, Monica Lewinsky, Bing Crosby, Robin Givens and Mike Tyson, Elton John and Ronald Reagan. But the veteran anchor says she is not retiring. "I'll be doing specials that I can pick and choose. I might even do an interview for 20/20 from time to time," Walters tells The Associated Press. "But in terms of anchoring 20/20--I'm done." Elizabeth Vargas will step in to replace her at the anchor desk next to John Stossel. On Friday, Walters will host a two-hour retrospective of many of her past interviews with 20/20. Then on Sept. 24, ABC will air Walters' last interview, a conversation with Mary Kay Letourneau, the former sixth-grade schoolteacher who went to prison for having sex with a student.
Johnny Ramone dies at 55
Ramones' guitarist Johnny Ramone died today following a five-year battle with prostate cancer, Reuters reports. He was 55. According to the group's Web site, Ramone died in his sleep at 3:03 p.m. at his Los Angeles home, surrounded by his wife, Linda Cummings, relatives and friends. Ramone, whose was born John Cummings, performed with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame punk band from its initial concert at New York City's Performance Studio March 30, 1974 to its 2,263rd and final show at the Lollapalooza festival at the Irvine Meadows Amphitheater Aug. 6, 1996. Ramone is survived by his wife and his mother. His body will be cremated during a private ceremony.
Zeta-Jones' stalker to stand trial
Superior Court Judge Patricia M. Schnegg yesterday ordered a woman accused of stalking actress Catherine Zeta-Jones to stand trial, the AP reports. Dawnette Knight, 33, was arrested June 3 at her Beverly Hills, Calif., home and pleaded not guilty to one account of stalking and 24 counts of making criminal threats. The judge ordered Knight held on $1 million bail and to return to court Sept. 27 for arraignment. The charges involve more than 24 letters sent to Zeta-Jones's husband, actor Michael Douglas. In one letter, Knight said: "We are going to slice her up like meat on a bone and feed her to the dogs." In another letter, she allegedly apologized, claiming she had been in love with Douglas. Dwight's case had been halted July 30 pending a psychiatric evaluation after she suffered from an overdose of barbiturates, but a judge found her mentally competent to stand trial.
Madonna goes to Israel for spiritual guidance
Following her concert tour Re-Invention, Madonna (or should we say Esther, her given Hebrew name) is heading to Israel for a little spiritual cleansing, Reuters reports. The pop diva, whose itinerary was kept under wraps for security reasons, arrived at a luxury hotel in Tel Aviv late Wednesday to join about 2,000 fellow Kabbalists from the Los Angeles-based Kabbalah Center to celebrate the start of the Jewish New Year. The Catholic-bred singer's interest in the religion has raised some controversy among some ultra-Orthodox Jews who are afraid the growing popularity of the movement among non-Jews is nothing more than a trend that demeans their religious beliefs. But Madonna has said she takes the belief in Jewish mysticism very seriously and is irritated by accusations. Madonna's schedule was to also include a visit to graves of Jewish sages in northern Israel as well as shrines such as the flashpoint Rachel's Tomb on the edge of Bethlehem, traditional burial place of the biblical matriarch Rachel, Reuters reports.
Bobby Brown heads to Bravo
Cable network Bravo has ordered 10 one-hour episodes of Being Bobby Brown, a reality series about the troubled singer. The show, set to debut in the second quarter of next year, will chronicle the R&B singer's efforts to clean up his life after his numerous run-ins with the law. Brown's wife Whitney Houston will appear, as well as his children from their marriage and previous relationships. "Being Bobby Brown will allow the public to see Brown outside the context of a pop icon and bad boy, rather, they'll witness an artist striving to clean up his life for his future and the future of his family," Bravo president Lauren Zalaznick said.
John Lennon musical in the works
Lennon, a musical about the former Beatle John Lennon's life, is set to open on Broadway next summer, in time for the 25th anniversary of his murder at the hands of a crazed fan, Variety reports. The project will include such post-Beatle songs as "Imagine," "Instant Karma," "Give Peace a Chance," "(Just Like) Starting Over" and "Whatever Gets You Through the Night." The play was written and will be directed by TV veteran Don Scardino. No cast is set as yet.
Kennedy Center honors John, Beatty
Elton John and Warren Beatty will be among six entertainers to receive the annual Kennedy Center honors this year, the center told Reuters on Wednesday. The other recipients will be the husband-and-wife team of actors and producers Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, soprano Joan Sutherland, and composer and conductor John Williams. The 2004 honorees will be feted at a gala performance in the Kennedy Center's Opera House on Dec. 5.
Kit Bowen contributed to this report.
Top Story: Courteney Cox and David Arquette Expecting
Friends star Courteney Cox, who has spoken openly about having difficulty conceiving, is expecting her first child with actor husband David Arquette, Reuters reports. Cox's publicist said Tuesday the 39-year-old actress is expecting a baby but gave no other details. Cox's pregnancy conveniently coincides with the 10th and final season of Friends, as her character Monica and onscreen husband Chandler (played by Matthew Perry) are having difficulty conceiving and are looking into adoption. Cox told Barbara Walters in an interview for ABC's 20/20 in October that she has had "many miscarriages" but that she and Arquette were still trying with in vitro fertilization. At the time, Cox and Arquette, who were married in 1999, said they'd consider adopting a child, but she added, "I do want his genes, and I would try probably a surrogate before that ... but then, absolutely, adoption."
Hatfield's Death Caused by Cocaine
According to the official autopsy report, Righteous Brothers singer Bobby Hatfield's death last November was caused by cocaine and not just heart failure. Hatfield, 63, died Nov. 5 just hours before a Righteous Brothers concert. According to the AP, chief medical examiner for Kalamazoo County Dr. Richard Tooker told the Kalamazoo Gazette Tuesday that Hatfield's death was triggered by acute cocaine intoxication. "This is a shock to me," his partner Bill Medley told The Orange County Register from his home in Newport Beach, Calif. "I never saw him (use cocaine). I knew absolutely nothing about it. If I had known, I would have said something to him."
Croc Hunter Still in Running for Australian of the Year
Steve Irwin, the host of the TV wildlife program Crocodile Hunter, remains in the running for Australian of the Year despite a rash of criticism over his feeding of a 13-foot crocodile while holding his one-month-old son. According to The Associated Press, Queensland Premier Peter Beattie said Tuesday he wouldn't retract Irwin's nomination for the top national award, adding: "He has been one of the best ambassadors for Queensland in the modern era. He is known internationally." The Australian of the Year award is decided by the Australia Day Council, a non-governmental citizens group that promotes celebrations for the country's national day Jan. 26.
No Babies for Jessica Simpson--but Maybe a Dog
Singer-turned-reality star Jessica Simpson, who is married to singer Nick Lachey, is in no hurry to become a mother. Simpson, 23, told People magazine in its Jan. 12 issue that she is not even sure she would want her pregnancy chronicled on her hit MTV reality show Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica. "Brandy did that, but I see our show just being the `Newlyweds,'" she tells the magazine. "I don't think I am going to get pregnant. I am trying not to. But we might get a dog."
Shriver and NBC To Discuss Dateline
NBC News president Neal Shapiro is denying a New York Daily News report that the network asked California first lady Maria Shriver to resign over concerns about maintaining a reporter's objectivity while involved in the administration of her husband, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. But according to the AP, Shapiro is expected to meet with Shriver next week in California about an extended leave from her Dateline NBC job. Shriver, who took a leave last August to work on Schwarzenegger's campaign, has since made two appearances as an anchor on the newsmagazine program, but has reported no stories.
Jackson Special Fails To Crack Top 10
CBS and ABC dominated the Top 10 in primetime viewership numbers compiled by Nielsen Media Research for the week of Dec. 29-Jan. 4. Conspicuously absent from the list, however, is CBS' Michael Jackson special, Number Ones, which came in 26th for the week with only 10.5 million viewers. The Top 10 shows were: AFC/NFC Showcase, ABC (25.1 million viewers); NFL Playoff: Dallas at Carolina, ABC (24.7 million viewers); Sugar Bowl: Oklahoma vs. LSU, ABC (23.9 million viewers); AFC Wildcard Postgame Show, CBS (19.1 million viewers); Rose Bowl Postgame Show, ABC (17.9 million viewers); Sugar Bowl Pregame Show, ABC (17.4 million viewers); CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS (16.2 million viewers); 60 Minutes, CBS (15.8 million viewers); Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS (15.1 million viewers); CSI: Miami, CBS (15.1 million viewers).
Duvall Says Money Was Issue With Godfather III
In an interview to air Wednesday on CBS' 60 Minutes II, actor Robert Duvall says money was the reason he didn't appear in Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather, Part III. "If they paid (Al) Pacino twice what they paid me, that's fine, but not three or four times, which is what they did," Duvall, 73, tells 60 Minutes II correspondent Charlie Rose. Duvall, who starred in 1974's The Godfather, Part II, was nominated for a Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as Tom Hagen in 1972's The Godfather.
Celine Dion Gets Hollywood Star
Celine Dion received a star Tuesday on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in front of the Kodak Theater. The 35-year-old French-Canadian singer broke down in tears before nearly 1,000 fans as she thanked her late father for being her "No. 1 fan" during a ceremony. Her father, Adhemar Dion, died late last year at the age of 80 after a lengthy illness. "How often do natural blondes from Quebec make it big in Hollywood?" Tonight Show host Jay Leno joked in introducing Dion, who thanked the comedian for inviting her to perform on his show 13 years ago, giving her a big break on American TV.
Top Story: Paltrow, Martin Secretly Wed?
According to a New York Daily News report, Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin have quietly exchanged vows at a Santa Barbara, Calif., hotel. The paper reports that after the 10-minute ceremony, which was devoid even of friends and family members, the newlyweds hopped on a plane to the Las Ventanas resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, for a two-week honeymoon. Sources said the couple may bring close friends and family down to Mexico to share in the celebration. When asked about the rumors of the Paltrow-Martin nuptials, a spokeswoman for Paltrow said only, "We can neither confirm nor deny the story."
Whitney Houston Claims Domestic Abuse
Alpharetta, Ga., police considered filing charges on Tuesday against Bobby Brown, husband of Whitney Houston, relating to domestic abuse allegations Houston made Sunday, according to the Associated Press. When officers arrived at the couple's suburban home, they found Houston with a cut upper lip and a bruised cheek, said Fulton County Police spokesman Kurtis Young. Houston alleged that Brown struck her during an argument. By the time police made it to the residence, Brown had already left to catch a flight to California. As of yet, no arrests have been made. In recent years, Brown has served brief jail sentences of seven and 26 days respectively for probation violations, one of which stemmed from a 1996 drunken driving conviction.
Ozzy Expected To Recover from ATV Accident
Following an accident riding an all-terrain vehicle at his Buckinghamshire, England, estate in which he sustained several serious injuries, 55-year-old rocker Ozzy Osbourne is reportedly faring well and is expected to make a steady recovery, AP reports. On Wednesday, doctors at Wexham Park Hospital hope to take Ozzy off his ventilator, allowing him to breathe on his own. Once Osbourne is awake and off the ventilator, doctors will be able to get a much better idea of how the rocker is feeling. According to Wexham medical director Dr. Dick Jack, "[Ozzy's] doing very well. He's comfortable and the vital signs are perfectly normal." On Tuesday, Ozzy's wife Sharon and daughter Kelly arrived from Los Angeles to be by the rock star's side during his recovery. In the accident, Ozzy sustained a fractured left collarbone, eight broken ribs, and a broken neck vertebra. On Monday, he underwent emergency surgery to restore blood flow through a major artery.
Gov. Schwarzenegger Will Not Investigate Allegations
On Tuesday, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said that he would not order his own investigation into the allegations that he sexually harassed women on various movie sets over the years, according to Reuters. In an interview on CNN Tuesday, the Hollywood icon-turned-politician said, "I've been here for 35 years in this country and I have never had any complaints filed against me nor any complaints made to me…It was rather odd, I would say, that just a few days before the election that all of a sudden there was 16 (women) that had, you know, complaints." Before the Oct. 7 gubernatorial election, Schwarzenegger said that he would allow a probe to look into the allegations, but then called the issue "old news" after the election. He changed his mind again in November when State Attorney General Bill Lockyer urged him to acknowledge the allegations. At that time, Schwarzenegger pledged to hire investigators to look into the issue. The action star/politician is known for going back and forth on important decisions; close advisors say that he didn't decide to run for governor until the last minute, and Hollywood insiders have said that the actor often takes plenty of time to decide on acting roles.
California First Lady Shriver Returns to NBC
In more Sacramento celebrity news, Reuters reports that on Tuesday, First Lady of California Maria Shriver announced she had returned to her job in the NBC newsroom two weeks ago after taking an extended unpaid leave to be with her husband, Arnold Schwarzenegger, during his successful run for governor. "I felt relieved, I felt centered, I felt at home when I went back into the newsroom," Shriver said. "I love my job, I love journalism and it's my job and I wanted to go back there. I have more stories that I wanted to tell." Amidst criticisms stating that Shriver should focus solely on her duties as First Lady, former First Lady of California and the United States Nancy Reagan offered advice to the journalist. "Nancy Reagan gave me some great advice. Shriver said, 'No matter what you do you'll get criticized so do exactly what you want to do."'
L.A. Film Critics Association Reinstates Awards
Following the lift of the Motion Picture Association of American's ban on screeners, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association has decided to reinstate their film awards, according to Reuters. The group, which consists of about 50 L.A.-area critics, awards its picks of top actors, actresses, and films in mid-December. With the MPAA's screener ban this year, the L.A. group sided with many independent film studios, calling the ban unfair to smaller studios and canceling its awards. Now, with the screener ban lifted, L.A. Film Critics Association president Jean Oppenheimer said that a date on which the awards will be announced has not yet been set, but that some screeners have already begun to show up in critics' offices.
CBS Continues To Dominate the Top 10
On the strength of hits like Survivor: Pearl Islands and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS went on to take seven of the top 10 spots for last week's top shows. Though it enjoyed a surprisingly strong debut, Fox's The Simple Life failed to break into the list of top shows, coming in at No. 19. For the week of Dec. 1-7, the top shows were Survivor: Pearl islands, CBS, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, ER, NBC, 60 Minutes, CBS, CBS Sunday Movie: Undercover Christmas, CBS, Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS, Law & Order, NBC, NFL Monday Night Football: Tennessee at N.Y. Jets, ABC, CSI: Miami, CBS, and Cold Case, CBS.
Role Call: Holme