News Roundup, Dec. 16: Russell Crowe to Wed Longtime Girlfriend

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Gladiator star Russell Crowe has officially announced his engagement to his longtime Australian girlfriend, singer Danielle Spencer. Reuters reports the 38-year-old Oscar winner, armed with a dozen white roses, proposed to Spencer after returning to Australia in November. Crowe made an impassioned declaration of love to Spencer last month when he announced he was taking an extended hiatus from Hollywood, telling the press: “Let me clarify something. I am in love with Danielle Spencer but I don’t get to spend nearly enough time with her…I feel a great need to wake up with her as many days of my life as I can.” The couple plans to tie the knot in mid- to late 2003, Reuters reports.


Rocker Tommy Lee has put his upscale 7,400 square foot Malibu home up for sale for $3 million, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday. In July 2001, a 4-year-old boy accidentally drowned in Lee‘s pool during a birthday party. Lee, who has two sons, Brandon, 6, and Dylan, 4, with ex-wife Pamela Anderson, said he wants to buy a new home with his fiancée, singer and dancer Mayte Garcia.

Elton John is ditching his trademark flashy frames, Reuters reports. The singer said Sunday he had decided to have laser eye surgery and told BBC TV’s Breakfast with Frost program, “I was just fed up with looking for my glasses by the side of the bed and having to squint to see the newspaper,” he said. “I’ve had all the preliminary tests … I’m going to do it.”

Comic book guru Stan Lee has inked a deal with Endeavor, which will also represent his budding production company Pow! Entertainment, Variety reports. Lee‘s comic book creations have launched several major film franchises, including Spider-Man and X-Men. Pow! has set up close to a dozen film and TV projects, including Stripperella, an animated series on TNN starring Pamela Anderson.


Arnold Schwarzenegger and Cedric the Entertainer are in negotiations to star in Joe’s Last Chance. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film centers on a hit man (Schwarzenegger) who travels to a tropical paradise to terminate his “mark,” played by Cedric the Entertainer. A tentative spring start date is being eyed for the project, to be directed by Andrew Bergman.


NBC is developing a remake of the 1970s cop show CHiPs, which starred Larry Wilcox and Erik Estrada as two Los Angeles motorcycle cops. According to Variety, the updated version will be set in San Francisco. The Bourne Identity director Doug Liman is helping develop the action classic.

Former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, whose affair with president Clinton made headlines in 1998, has been banned from the daytime Italian TV show Domenica In (Sunday In), Reuters reports. Lewsinsky was to have been the star guest on the talk show but some politicians were outraged that RAI, a publicly funded state broadcaster, planned to pay for her expenses using taxpayers’ money.


R.E.M. is launching their first major tour since 1999. According to The Associated Press, the tour opens June 27 at England’s Glastonbury Festival and will continue through July, with stops in Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Austria, Poland, Scotland, Ireland, France and Italy. The tour will come Stateside in the fall. The band is currently working on their new album scheduled for release in 2004.

Former Lovin’ Spoonful guitarist Zal Yanovsky died Friday of a heart attack at his home in Kensington, Ontario, six days before his 58th birthday, Reuters reports. The Lovin’ Spoonful, named after a Mississippi John Hurt song, formed in 1965. Their hits included Do You Believe in Magic, You Don’t Have To Be So Nice and Summer in the City. Yanovsky later traded in his rock star life for a quiet existence as a restaurateur.