Michael Jackson made a rare appearance in court last week in a $21 million breach-of-contract lawsuit, but it wasn’t the case that had everyone talking; it was his face. Reuters reports when Superior Court Judge Zel Canter told the pop oddity to remove his surgical mask, his bizarre appearance prompted gasps from the courtroom audience. Photos of Jackson, who sported eyeliner, lipstick, a spotty goatee and bandage over his nose, caused a brouhaha on the Internet and now plastic surgeons are weighing in. “He is almost a fantasy figure or a cartoon character,” Dr Edward Domanskis, a Newport Beach, Calif., plastic surgeon, told Reuters. “At the age of 40, people don’t…look that way.” Chicago plastic surgeon Dr. Laurie Casas added, “You have to wonder how someone has gotten in a situation where they look very abnormal. He’s got kind of a shrunken skin, but it’s impossible to speculate on how it happened.”
Jason Alexander, best known for his portrayal of George Costanza on Seinfeld, has a new gig. The actor, who dropped out of Boston University in his junior year, is teaching undergraduates at the University of Southern California as the School of Theatre’s first George Burns Visiting Professor, The Associated Press Reports.
A wad of Elvis Presley‘s hair sold at auction Saturday for $115,120 to an anonymous bidder, the AP reports. Presley‘s former hairstylist Homer “Mr. Gill” Gilleland collected the hair, about the size of a baseball. Before Gilleland died, he gave the hair to friend Tom Morgan, who sold it through the auction house MastroNet Inc.
The anti-smoking lobby is outraged that James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan agreed to smoke cigars in the latest film Die Another Day because it is set in Cuba. According to Britain’s Sunday Times, critics have dubbed the film Buy Another Day, saying it is littered with blatant plugs for a variety of brand names. Britain is expected to outlaw the use of cigarettes in films and TV dramas next year.
Denzel Washington will reprise Frank Sinatra‘s role in Paramount Pictures’ remake of the 1962 political thriller The Manchurian Candidate, Variety reports. No director is attached to the project, which was penned by Sum of All Fears scribe Dan Payne. The film, based on the 1959 novel Candidate by Richard Condon, is about a Korean War veteran brainwashed into trying to assassinate the president.
Cable TV’s Sci Fi channel sent a team of archeologists to conduct a study on the southern New Mexico desert to find out whether a UFO actually crash-landed there in 1947. According to Reuters, the program promises never-before-seen eyewitness interviews, late-breaking revelations and a “smoking gun bombshell.” Viewers will have to wait until the channel airs The Roswell Crash: Startling New Evidence on Nov. 22 for answers.
ABC News anchor Peter Jennings has formed an independent production company that allows him to make documentaries for other networks, the AP reports. The deal gives Jennings ownership of his series and allows him and his executive producer, Tom Yellin, to sell documentaries to other networks, with the exclusion of competitors NBC and CBS. ABC has agreed to pay for and air at least four reports in primetime each year.
Astute TV viewers may have noticed an influx of Elton John songs in their favorite shows lately, including NBC’s Scrubs, UPN’s Enterprise and HBO’s Six Feet Under. According to Variety, Universal Music Enterprises offered extended terms and dramatically lower-than-usual licensing costs to networks in a bid to market last week’s release of Elton John: Greatest Hits 1970-2002.
Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell said her latest album, Travelogue, may be her last. Mitchell, 59, blasted music industry executives in the December issue of W magazine, saying, “They’re not looking for talent. They’re looking for a look and a willingness to cooperate. And a woman my age, no matter how well-preserved, no longer has the look.” She added, “What would I do? Show my tits? Grab my crotch? Get hair extensions and a choreographer? It’s not my world.”