News Roundup: Aug. 26

Top Story

The Backstreet Boys, that is. Band member A.J. McLean returned from treatment for depression and alcohol abuse, resuming the popular boy band’s “Black & Blue World Tour 2001” Friday night. The tour was put on hold July 9 when McLean entered an undisclosed treatment center. The group has 23 concert dates left on the tour.


French actor Philippe Leotard, who worked with many top French directors, died Saturday in a Paris clinic at age 60. The cause of death was not confirmed, although he has spent many years battling alcohol and drug abuse. Leotard won the prestigious Cesar award for best actor, the French equivalent to the Oscar, for his 1983 film The Balance.

In General

The Venice Film Festival, which kicks off this Wednesday, will for the first time highlight not only top Hollywood films but more innovative, fringe cinema with two competitions–the Golden Lion and Cinema of the Present awards. Nicole Kidman, Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese will be among the celebrities attending.

Irish band U2 played in its home country Saturday to the biggest audience ever in Ireland. In an emotionally charged concert, the 80,000 adoring fans packed a huge field north of Dublin. U2 had not played in Ireland since 1997.

A publicist for Warner Bros. Television denied reports in British newspapers that British pop singer Sophie Ellis Bextor was set to join the popular sitcom Friends. The original report said Bextor would be replacing British actress Helen Baxendale in the role of Ross Geller’s (David Schwimmer) former wife Emily.

Chris Tucker, co-star of the recent hit Rush Hour 2, will be joining a congressional delegation that will visit Africa next week. Tucker will join six members of Congress and about 30 business leaders during a stop in Nigeria. The delegation is visiting four West African nations to promote business, trade, improved health care and democracy.