News Roundup: Aug. 22


Top Story

Pop oddity Michael Jackson has a not-so-new bouncing baby boy. In its latest issue, People magazine reports that Jackson brought the 6-month-old baby backstage at Siegfried and Roy’s Las Vegas show on July 30, along with his two other children, Prince Michael, 5, and daughter Paris, 4. The mother’s identity remains a mystery, but a source tells the magazine the child was conceived the old-fashioned way, and added, “(Jackson) said, ‘This is my third child.” Jackson, 43, has reportedly been introducing the tot as “Prince Michael II” and “No. 3.” Friends of the singer told People that Jackson‘s ex-wife Deborah Rowe, a former dermatologist’s assistant and mother of his two other children, is possibly the baby’s mother. The two were married in 1996 and divorced three years later.


The 2002 Venice Film Festival, which runs Aug. 29 through Sept. 8, is shunning the paparazzi. According to The Associated Press, celebs will no longer have to strut past photographers and eager fans when heading to premieres and will instead arrive by car. Organizers say they did away with the 60-yard walk because it proved embarrassing for lesser-known film figures, plus the festival has a new sponsor providing spiffy cars for the new entrance.

Hugh Grant really does have a soft side, after all. In an interview with Hello! magazine, Liz Hurley said her ex-boyfriend and one of several godfathers to her son Damian has been a regular visitor to her home in South Kensington, west London. “Hugh has never really been familiar with any children,” she said, “But yeah, he does a little bit of coochy-cooing, and he tickles him. He’s great with him. He’s sweet.”

Veteran metal rocker Ozzy Osbourne said he feels like his “spirit’s dead” since learning that his wife and manager, Sharon, has cancer, Reuters reports. Osbourne recalled feeling apprehensive after the success of his MTV show The Osbournes in an interview on On the Record with Greta Van Susteren. “I remember saying to Sharon, ‘This is too good right now, we’re getting so much good stuff, nothing gets that high without coming down with a bang,'” he said. The interview airs this week on the Fox News channel.


Taye Diggs has been added to the ensemble cast of A Midsummer Night’s Rave, Variety reports. The film, a Shakespeare-based romantic comedy about twentysomethings influenced by a drug dealer named Puck, also stars Andrew Keegan, Sunny Mabrey, Corey Pearson, Chris Owen, Jason London, Greg Zola, Ted Stryker, Carrie Fisher, Lauren German, Chad Lindberg, Matt Czuchry and Will McCormack.


Producers of ABC’s upcoming remake of the TV cop show Dragnet said Wednesday actor Danny Huston will play the lead character–a Los Angeles police detective, Reuters reports. Huston, 40, is the son of John Huston, who directed film noir classics like The Maltese Falcon, and the half-brother of actress Anjelica Huston.

CBS said Wednesday that 60 Minutes reporter Lesley Stahl will replace Dan Rather as anchor for 48 Hours Investigates. According to Reuters, Rather will focus more time on 60 Minutes II and his current position as anchor for the CBS Evening News.


Singer Cyndi Lauper tripped onstage and fell about 5 feet while performing to a sell-out crowd in Oklahoma City, hurting her shin and ankle. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lauper–opening for Cher’s farewell tour–continued with her set but later had to be carried off by a stagehand. She was taken to a hospital, where she was treated and released a few hours later.

Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons has joined forces with the NAACP and the Rock the Vote campaign to relaunch Rap the Vote, a project aimed at getting people ages 18 to 24 to vote, the AP reports. Developed two years after Rock the Vote was launched in 1990, Rap the Vote is aimed at reaching those more into hip-hop than rock. The public-service announcements, featuring Sean “P. Diddy” Combs and Rosie Perez, are intended to increase voter registration for the 2004 presidential race.