How would you like Elvis Presley's 1976 blue Cadillac El Dorado Biarritz parked inside your garage? Lovely thought isn't it? Dream no further--the car can be yours if you bid on eBay, and you have enough money in the bank.
The online auction house eBay Motors is offering a stable of celebrity-touched cars to the highest bidder in the "Cars of the Stars" auction, which closes on Thursday.
"The eBay Motors category is the fastest growing category on eBay," said Kevin Purseglove, a PR representative for eBay. "People who have sold their cars online have gotten more traffic than anywhere else."
Along with Presley's Caddie, John Lennon's 1970 Mercedes-Benz limousine, Tim Allen's 1960 Chrysler 300F convertible, Reggie Jackson's 1970 Chevrolet Nova and Jerry Garcia's custom 1994 Dodge van are also on the auction block.
Other auction houses are jumping on the celebrity bandwagon. According to the Associated Press, the Barrett-Jackson auction house in Los Angeles also auctions celebrity cars. Currently on auction are Wonder Woman Linda Carter's 1984 Jaguar XJ6, a 1975 Lincoln Continental once owned by Elvis Presley and a 1999 Chevrolet Suburban driven by The Sopranos' Tony Soprano during the first series of the HBO mobster series.
Elton John auctioned off 20 classic cars from his personal collection last Wednesday at Christie's auction house in London. The singer received $2.75 million dollars for his cars and released a statement claiming he was surprised at the results. "When the bidding kept going up and up way above the estimates, I was both thrilled and surprised. There's obviously a lot of money to be made from second-hand cars!" John said in the statement.
"Bidders have the chance to drive away in a car from some of our most beloved icons," Simon Rothman, vice president of eBay Motors told the Associated Press.
Purseglove adds that most of the cars auctioned off are listed on eBay by the estate, the celeb's next of kin, or automobile collectors who buy cars because of the individual who owned it or because of their passions for cars.
Since the birth of eBay in 1996, users have found themselves bidding on items ranging from clothing to music to antiques. Three years ago, cars were included on eBay.
According to Purseglove, celebrities are finding that they can get a great deal of attention by selling their items on eBay, simply because it's a flexible marketplace. It's easy to sell merchandise, and it attracts a lot of media attention.
Many sell their goods for a charitable cause. Tiger Woods is auctioning a 2001 Buick Regal he drove during the week of his Masters golf win. According to the Associated Press, the buyer will also receive an autographed plaque, a Buick Nike golf bag and clubs. All proceeds benefit the Tiger Woods Foundation.
Talk show host Rosie O'Donnell, who regularly sells her show memorabilia to benefit the For All Kids Foundation, has gained significant recognition for her organization, Rosie's Charity Auctions, founded in 1997 to help support the intellectual, social and cultural development of at-risk children across the U.S. According to O'Donnell's Web site, the Foundation has awarded over 500 grants to nonprofit organizations for children and families across the country.
" [eBay] has a pretty good relationship with Ms. O'Donnell," Purseglove said. "Sometimes guests that go to her show will bring autographed items for her to sell online."
O'Donnell, whose eBay seller name is "4allkids," is currently selling a pair of size 9½ Nike sneakers, an I-Zone camera, autographed pictures of herself and guest Martin Short, and her notes from Thursday's show.
The National Trust in London is selling off the house where ex-Beatle John Lennon lived with his aunt for 18 years before he achieved stardom in 1963. The four-bedroom property, valued at 150,000 British pounds is expected to sell for a higher sum. Ron Burkey, the son of Ernest Burkey, who owned the house, told London's Sunday Mirror on June 11 that the house was for sale because his father hated the fans who turned at the gates of his home. "We'll advertise it on the Internet," he told the publication. "There are a lot of fans in Japan and America who are incredibly passionate about John Lennon."
In a departure from its traditional programming, which has focused on live sporting events and sports-related news, ESPN has green-lit two new series designed to attract a new audience. The first, Sidelines (yet another reality TV show), is scheduled to air in September and will follow a college football team during the fall season. Reuters reports that the network hasn't yet decided which team the series will focus on. ESPN will also launch The Season, a monthly series of behind-the-scenes documentaries featuring various well-known athletes. The first installment of The Season will premiere on June 26 and will feature Tiger Woods at the U.S. Open.
It's payback time for picket-crossers.
Leaders of the Screen Actors Guild have vowed to pursue disciplinary action against union members who performed struck work during the 25-week stoppage, Daily Variety reported today.
SAG member Steve Barr expressed a popular sentiment among strike captains when he told Variety, "We will make sure that the people who think they got away with crossing a picket line during a strike are held accountable for their actions."
This announcement comes after the tentative agreement reached Monday between advertisers and the committees for SAG and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists. The boards of directors for both unions are expected to approve the contract in a plenary session this weekend, ending the strike that began in May. The boards will also determine how vehemently to pursue punishment of the "scabs."
"Members who broke rank will go before a trial board and may face a combination of fines, volunteer work and suspension of membership rights," SAG spokesman Greg Krizman told Hollywood.com. "Expulsion is a possibility, but that's at the extreme end of the scale."
Variety reported that union activists have logged the names of more than 500 strike-breaking actors. Of those, probably best known is model/actress and "Bedazzled" beauty Elizabeth Hurley, who appeared in a non-union Estée Lauder perfume ad. Hurley has since apologized and donated $25,000 to the SAG Strike Relief Fund.
"There were the Tiger Woods incidents and some other athletes, but to our knowledge, Elizabeth Hurley is the only high-profile performing member who has done struck work," Krizman said. "But she's a member like anyone else, and she'll go before a trial review board."
For non-union actors who crossed lines, the punishment might be more career crushing. A SAG committee has recommended that they be permanently denied union membership. That issue is also likely to be discussed at the SAG meeting this weekend.
Elizabeth Hurley can now have a clear conscience.
The "Bedazzled" starlet was slapped with a $100,000 fine by the Screen Actors Guild for shooting an Estee Lauder cosmetics commercial during the six-month-long actors strike against the ad industry, the actress disclosed today.
"Although I am deeply disappointed that the Trial Board disregarded the evidence showing that I never received notice of the strike, I will abide by their decision," the 35-year-old supermodel turned actress said in a statement.
"I apologize most sincerely to all of the people throughout the industry who were hurt by the strike. ... I certainly never would have appeared in the commercial had I been aware of the strike," she continued.
Along with other strikebreakers, Hurley was labeled a scab in October for doing struck work. Her last film, "Bedazzled," was picketed by angry union members at the film's premiere.
For her part, Hurley has already donated $25,000 to the SAG strike relief fund as a gesture of atonement. But the union has asked the actress to pay $75,000 more, which would make up the rest of the $100K fine.
Champion golfer Tiger Woods was similarly fined $100,000 in November for doing a non-union Nike ad during the work stoppage. But Woods is only required to pay half of the fine up front, with the remaining amount suspended as long as the golfer doesn't violate his five-year-probation period.
Overall, the monetary fines -- however steep it might seem -- are comparatively a small prize to pay given that the strikebreakers could well face union expulsion as a penalty, which would disallow them to work again in the industry.
Tiger Woods isn't roaring now.
The champion golfer went before the Screen Actors Guild trial board Monday to apologize for doing a non-union Nike ad -- which is considered struck work -- during the recently ended work stoppage against the ad industry.
"The decision to shoot a commercial during the SAG strike was a difficult one," Woods said in a statement issued Thursday. "I was facing the impossible task of trying to live up to my obligations to my sponsors while at the same time honoring my commitment to other SAG members. Now, more than ever, I understand how serious SAG's situation was, and I apologize for any pain I may have caused.
"I value my Screen Actors Guild membership and I hope this result will further strengthen the value of my membership."
The SAG trial board imposed a $100,000 penalty on Woods last month, and the golfer will pay half of the amount, with the remaining fine suspended as long as Woods does not recommit the offense during a five-year probation period.
Woods is one of the more high-profile members to appear before the review board. Several less spotlighted cases have already gone through the process, and actress-supermodel Elizabeth Hurley, who did a cosmetics ad for Estee Lauder during the strike, is expected to get a hearing in the near future.
"[With the trial boards,] we hope to hear the reason on why [the strikebreakers] did what they did. We never have a history with these things being punitive," SAG spokesman Greg Krizmann told Hollywood.com. "More vocal members have been saying that we should expel the [strikebreakers], but that has never been a part of the Guild's history."
"We want to educate them. We want better members," Krizmann said.
However, Krizmann does not rule out the possibility of revoking the membership of those who violated the strike code.
"It's up to the three-member trial board to determine what the type of punishment should be," Krizmann said.
Punishments for performing struck work range from fines to performing community services to the most severe, expulsion.
HOLLYWOOD, Aug. 21, 2000 - Traitors, be warned.
The striking Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists began their first "scab trials" today. The hearings will determine whether or not 12 actors and athletes violated the strike code by working on commercials during the unions' ongoing strike against the advertising industry.
The alleged scabs include golfer Tiger Woods, model-actress Elizabeth Hurley, track stars Marion Jones and Michael Johnson and football players Eddie George, Terrell Davis and Keyshawn Johnson. If found guilty, they could be fined, suspended or expelled from SAG and AFTRA.
Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal and teen queen Britney Spears, who had also worked on commercials during the strike, were spared trial board hearing because they have already settled the issue with the unions.
If your vision of Hollywood is that of actors strutting up and down the Walk of Fame, that was at least the case here this week.
Boasting picket signs, rhyming slogans and matching steps, about 100 actors from the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) gathered on McCadden Place in the heart of Hollywood on Wednesday. Their mission: to thwart a Nike commercial shoot that was slated to roll at 4:00 p.m. that afternoon.
And we were there. Because (a) Tiger Woods wasn't (he pulled out of the gig in support of the union actors); and, (b) we wanted to know what the deal was in Hollywood's first major walkout since 1988.
Though the protesters might not have been famous, known or even remotely recognizable, their collective effort was still greeted with shows of support from onlookers and passerby. Cars tooted their horns, pedestrians pumped their fists, and the building across from the demonstration had opened up their bathroom facilities for the marching actors.
The demonstration was not the first of its kind this week. Since Monday, striking actors in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and San Francisco have come together in protest of what they say are unfair wages against the advertising industry. In theory, the work stoppage should halt all commercial productions involving SAG and AFTRA members. Except it hasn't -- because the ad agencies have been hiring non-union members to fill in on commercial shoots.
"That's the reason why we're here right now," said Coleen Maloney, a 25-year SAG member. "The production trucks for this commercial are going to come here and park. And if enough of us are here, they're going to turn their trucks around."
Her husband Bill Hollis, a 25-year union member himself, explained, "[That's] because Teamsters people are driving those trucks, and Teamsters won't cross the picket line. We are not picketing the product. We're picketing the ad agency that's hiring non-union people."
The labor dispute between the two actor unions and the advertising industry pivots on the issue of residual pay, or the money actors receive each time their commercials air on the tube. And as of now, the so-called "pay-per-play" residual system applies to network and syndicated stations -- but not cable, where a onetime flat rate is paid instead.
Therein lies the crux of the struggle: the ad industry wants the flat-rate scheme instituted for network gigs; union actors want the pay-per-play system to be extended to the areas of cable and the Internet.
As it stands now, SAG, AFTRA and the ad industry aren't even at the bargaining table. With no resolution in sight, how are the striking actors plan to support themselves in the meantime?
"Well, we still have the opportunity to do film and television, although right now it's a very down time. We're still able to pursue educational films and industrial films," Maloney said. "In the meantime, we've got to work out everyday, we've got to vocalize everyday, we've got to keep ourselves strong....
"....And we have to work our civilian jobs," her husband wryly concluded.
As for the Nike shoot? Producers say they got the job done -- union actors or no, Teamster drivers or no.
And the beat -- or, chess game -- goes on.
It's amazing how one hit pop song and an electronic gizmo that makes your voice sound like a robot can lead to global domination.
Forbes magazine released its annual "Celebrity 100" list Thursday, power-ranking the world's greatest actors, entertainers, athletes, authors and other notables according to how much moola they made last year and how much media attention they received making said moola. Most of the names in the Top 10 were no-brainers, given their recent successes: Julia Roberts is the world's No. 1 omnipotent celeb (with estimated 1999 earnings of $50 million), followed by people like George Lucas (No. 2 -- $400 mil), Oprah Winfrey (No. 3 -- $150 mil), Tom Hanks (No. 4 -- $71.5 mil), golfer Tiger Woods (No. 7 -- $47 mil) and Steven Spielberg (No. 10 -- $60 mil).
But then there's No. 9. One word: Cher.
According to the magazine, Cher only made a measly $40 million last year (peanuts compared to Lucas' league-leading $400 million haul). Cher's take presumably came from sales of her chart-topping "Believe" album, and from copies of her terribly thoughtful book, "The First Time," in which she observed that Jackie Kennedy was better looking than Mamie Eisenhower.
Perhaps based on the power of such ideas, Cher's Forbes "power rank" was higher than that of Spielberg, Bruce Willis (No. 11 --$54.5 mil), Jim Carrey (No. 19 -- $45.5 mil) and Tom Cruise (No. 20 -- $27 mil).
Although Cher's 1999 earnings were less than those of other celebs in the Top 10, Cher's rank was bolstered by the number of Web site hits, press clips, magazine covers and TV/radio stories she generated. All this from a woman whom Sonny Bono once said was so stupid, she thought the moon was the backside of the sun.
Here are some other notable story lines to emerge from the Forbes list:
BOY POWER: While most members of the "Celebrity 100" are well past puberty, the Backstreet Boys are representin' the teen crowd (even if they aren't exactly teens anymore themselves) at No. 8, with 1999 earnings of $60 million.
THE POWER OF THE PRINTED WORD: Most of the celebrities named by Forbes are of the short-attention-span variety (i.e., TV stars, music stars, movie stars and athletes). But lest you think that America doesn't read anymore, think again. Bestselling authors making the list include Stephen King (No. 14 -- $65 mil), John Grisham (No. 21 -- $36 mil), "Harry Potter" creator J.K. Rowling (No. 25), Dean Koontz (No. 53 -- $34 mil) and poet Maya Angelou (No. 81 -- $3.3 mil). Then again, most of these guys, save for Angelou, are makin' the big bucks off film rights.
WHO? So, we know who Michael Jordan (No. 5 -- $40 mil) and Harrison Ford (No. 15 -- $46.5 mil) are, but who the heck are Anna Kournikova (No. 58 -- $11 mil), Gerald Cassidy (No. 69 -- $18 mil), The Rock (No. 83 -- $3 mil), Reed Hundt (No. 89 -- $2 mil), Edgerrin James (No. 75 -- $15 mil), Jean-George Vongerichten (No. 91 -- $3 mil) and Jim Romenesko (No. 96 -- $60,000)? Answers: A tennis player, an artist, a pro wrestler, an ex-chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, a football running back, a chef and a Web site guy. (But we cheated and looked 'em up.)
FLASH IN THE POWER PAN? Somebody tell "Mambo No. 5" guy Lou Bega (No. 87) to savor the moment. He's not likely to be included in this list ever again. Of course, with a $6 million haul on the strength of one novelty hit, does he really need to be?
YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE PHOTOGENIC: These days, you can become a powerful celebrity even if you've got a face for radio -- or the Internet. That helps explain the lofty rankings of the likes of Howard Stern (No. 30 -- $18 mil), Rush Limbaugh (No. 40 -- $22 mil), Dr. Laura Schlessinger (No. 70 -- $13 mil), Dr. Joy Brown (No. 90 -- $2 mil) and Internet movie-rumor guru Harry Knowles (No. 95, with an estimated 1999 income of a whopping $100,000).
GONE, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN: Taking a year off, quitting your hit sitcom or breaking up the band isn't healthy for your power ranking. Three celebrities who made the Forbes Top 10 just one year ago fell entirely off the 2000 edition of the "Celebrity 100" list. Notable MIAs include: Leonardo DiCaprio (No. 3 in 1999 with $37 million in earnings); Jerry Seinfeld (No. 4 in 1999, with $267 million); and ex-supergroup Spice Girls (No. 6 in 1999 with $49 million).
FORGOTTEN, BUT NOT GONE: Will someone please tell the Rolling Stones (No. 6 -- $50 mil), Mike Tyson (No. 17 -- $33 mil), surname-free Roseanne (No. 74 -- $8 mil), George and Barbara Bush (No. 76 -- $6 mil),and unfunnyman Don Imus (No. 77 -- $10 mil) to give it up?
HOW'D THEY DO THAT? What have Penn & Teller (No. 88), that early 1990's comedy/magician duo, been up to lately? Whatever it is, it's lucrative: They made $3 million last year.