News Roundup: March 22

Top Story

A robber attacked Liza Minnelli Thursday while she was honeymooning in London with her new hubby David Gest, Reuters reports. Minnelli had just finished doing an interview at a TV studio and was in her car at a traffic light when the incident occurred. Three young robbers approached the car and one of them reportedly reached inside and tried to steal a diamond necklace she was wearing. When the driver of the car realized what was going on and closed the windows, the robbers tried to open the doors. The driver sped off before they could get inside. The newlyweds escaped unharmed. Police, however, said the incident had not been reported to them.

In General

In a bid to revitalize Lower Manhattan’s cultural life which was devastated by the September 11 attacks, Robert De Niro has started the Tribeca Film Festival. The festival will run from May 8 to 12, and will feature films made in the New York City area, CNN reports.

Martin Scorsese‘s trouble-plagued Gangs of New York may not be ready for its July release date, reports. The $85 million epic about Irish immigrants was originally slated for release in September 2001, but bad weather and union squabbles disrupted shooting in Rome. Now it seems Scorsese is having a hard time slashing the film down to under three hours. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day-Lewis and Cameron Diaz.

Imax Corp. will convert the 1995 blockbuster Apollo 13 for its giant screens this summer, Reuters reports. This marks the first time Imax has redistributed a live-action film from a major motion picture studio, but the Toronto-based company hopes to eventually release as many as six live-action film a year.

Steven Seagal has been slapped with a $60 million lawsuit by his partner of 15 years, Julius Nasso. The suit claims that Seagal failed to fulfill his commitments to star in four feature films–Blood on the Moon, Genghis Khan, Smash and Grab and Prince of Central Park. The complaint alleges that Mukara, Seagal‘s Buddhist spiritual advisor, and an unorthodox Tibetan sect known as Nying-Mo caused the breach by convincing the actor to disassociate himself from Nasso, Seagal‘s children from two previous marriages and his movie production companies.

A woman is suing Celine Dion‘s husband and manager Rene Angelil, claiming he fondled her in a Las Vegas casino elevator in March 2000 and then sexually assaulted her in her hotel room. At the time, Angelil had agreed to settle the claims for an unspecified amount of money because he was battling cancer and Dion was undergoing fertility treatments but now says he is ready to battle it out in court, calling the allegations an “absurd fabrication,” Reuters reports.

A study released Thursday by the Center for Media and Public Affairs finds that although television has become less infused with sex and violence in recent years, movies remain unchanged, The Associated Press reports. The most violent movies of 2000 were The Patriot, which had 159 violent scenes, followed by Gladiator with 110, Mission Impossible 2 with 108 and Shanghai Noon with 99.

NBC is canning its new sitcom Watching Ellie starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Variety reports. The series will wrap its spring run on April 2 and be replaced with repeats of Will & Grace. Network officials however say that the schedule shift has nothing to do with ratings, but that they had planned to save seven of the 13 episodes from the show’s original order all along. Apparently, Louis-Dreyfus has agreed to produce only 15 episodes of her show each year.

Following her short-lived ABC sitcom What About Joan?, Joan Cusack has turned her attention to daytime television. According to Variety, Buena Vista Television is close to signing the actress to a series development deal. The show, a weekday comedy, would include celebs and be taped from her hometown of Chicago. It’s set for a fall 2003 debut.

British supermodel Kate Moss and her 30-year-old publisher boyfriend Jefferson Hack are expecting their first child in October, Britain’s Mirror reports. The couple began dating over a year ago after being introduced at a party for the magazine Dazed And Confused of which Hack is editorial director.

A survey conducted by BriteSmile has confirmed what has already been known for years: British celebrities have some of the worst teeth in the world. BriteSmile is one of the sponsors of this weekend’s Oscar ceremonies, giving each presenter a teeth-brightening treatment worth about $800. According to the survey posted on, Julia Roberts was judged to have the best teeth while Britons Ken Dodd and Frank Skinner were in the top five for worst teeth.