News Roundup: Jan. 8

Top Story

There’s just no accounting for taste, especially from a culture whose sole culinary invention is fish and chips.

The British, in a poll conducted by Heat magazine, named singers Robbie Williams and Kylie Minogue the world’s sexiest man and woman, respectively.

Williams won for the second year in a row, besting footballer–their football, not ours–David Beckham and genuine sexy Hollywood star Brad Pitt.

The ubiquitous J.Lo (Jennifer Lopez, to you people not in the know) finished a disappointing second behind Minogue in the voting, with British TV soap star Jessie Wallace in the show position.

In General

Russell Crowe may have A Beautiful Mind, but he sure doesn’t have a beautiful body. According to The Daily Star, Hollywood bigwigs have told the 37-year old porker to get himself back into the gym and into shape. Crowe “bulked up” 40 pounds after his split with pixie actress Meg Ryan.

Bruce Willis is still Moonlighting after all these years–as a rocker. The Hollywood hunk and his band The Accelerators are speeding their way through the U.S. on a 13-city tour, which begins in Atlanta on Friday and will include appearances in New Orleans, Austin and Dallas, USAToday reports.

Despite his off-color jokes last week, boxing legend Muhammad Ali is being honored for “illuminating our shared values of freedom, tolerance and democracy” and will be awarded the Broadcast Film Critics Association’s inaugural Freedom Award. Bill Maher will emcee the BFCA’s Jan. 14 event.

Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy’s and star of many, many Wendy’s commercials, passed away Tuesday, Reuters reports. Details of his death were not immediately forthcoming.

In an exceptional move, the Screen Actors Guild has thrown out the election results from November’s election, invalidating Melissa Gilbert‘s win over Valerie Harper, Eugene Boggs and Angel Tompkins. If only the Supreme Court would have shown the same integrity and resolve with the November 2000 presidential elections… The new voting period will run from March 15 to April 10.

What’s in a name? The Cannes International Festival of Film has officially changed its name to the Festival de Cannes, or Cannes Film Festival, which is what everyone in the English-speaking world has been calling it anyway.

The mummy, she lives! Or, rather, the technology pioneered in the pair of recent Mummy movies will be reused to reanimate the Greek pantheon of gods and monsters in the upcoming movie The Argonauts. (We can’t wait to see the Cyclops!)

It’s court time for Michael Jordan, and we’re not talking about NBA hardcourts. Jordan’s wife Juanita filed for divorce last Friday, citing those ever-present “irreconcilable differences,” after 12 years of marriage. Juanita is seeking permanent custody of the couple’s three children, their mansion north of Chicago and–what else?–half of the family assets.

The bad boy of tennis is taking up television. John McEnroe, winner of 17 Grand Slam tennis titles, will host ABC’s upcoming game show The Chair. We can only hope some of the contestants yell at McEnroe for being blind or missing a call.

CNN has pulled ads that called new anchor Paula Zahn “just a little sexy.” (Of course, we think Paula is more than just a little sexy.) Walter Isaacson, CNN’s chairman and CEO, said he was “outraged” by the piece and that Zahn has proved her credibility with her 20 years of experience. (We still think she’s sexy.)

India.Arie says she “wasn’t expecting [seven Grammy nominations] at all.” Which is OK: we didn’t expect her to spell her name with a period in the middle. India’s nominations include album of the year, record of the year, song of the year and best new artist.

It’s easy being green: Shrek has now pulled in $420 million in DVD and VHS sales after just two months on the shelves, DreamWorks reports. Add that to its global box office take of $472 million, and the green ogre (and DreamWorks) has to be feeling jolly about life.

Gagster Avery Schreiber (Robin Hood: Men in Tights, TV’s The Ed Sullivan Show) died Monday of a heart attack. He was 66. Schreiber was a fixture on TV in the ’60s and ’70s, in a career that spanned four decades and covered TV, film and stage. His wife, Rochelle Isaacs Schreiber, survives him.