General News

NEWSMAKERS: Whoopi, Alone

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Mar 19, 2001 | 11:50am EST

Looks like Whoopi Goldberg's single again.

The Oscar-winning thespian turned "Hollywood Square" queen has split with her boyfriend of five years, actor Frank Langella, today's Daily Variety says.

The two have been an item since the mid-1990s when they met on the set of one of Goldberg's cinematic opuses: "Eddie" (the one where she plays the limo driver who -- oh, my! -- gets hired to coach basketball's New York Knicks! Hee, hee.)

Goldberg's last high-profile romance was with "Cheers" star turned "Becker" guy Ted Danson. That one hit the skids shortly after Danson's black-faced tribute to Goldberg at a Friar's Club Roast in 1993.

Though Goldberg, 50, and Langella, 60, never wed, Variety says the ex-couple intends to stay "close friends" just like real-live Hollywood husbands and wives who haul each other into divorce court.

CODA: Dennis Danell, a guitarist for the Southern California-bred punk band Social Distortion ("Ball and Chain"), died Tuesday of natural causes, the group's Time Bomb Recordings says. Some reports peg the cause of death as an aneurysm. Danell was 38. In a statement, Social Distortion frontman Mike Ness said: "I am saddened beyond any possible form of expression." The band's roots date back to 1979.

STERN TALK? Can't anybody just quit anymore? Does everybody have to talk about how they're thinking of quitting, and then talk and talk and talk about it for months, making their eventual act of quitting an anti-climax? In short: Does everybody have to be like Kathie Lee Gifford?

Yes.

On the very same day the Hamlet-esque Kathie Lee finally dropped anchor on her morning talk-show gig, the equally Hamlet-esque Howard Stern told reporters that he was -- ugh -- undecided about his future on the radio.

"I have a couple months left on my contract," Stern said a press conference hyping his new FX sitcom "Son of a Beach" premiering March 14, "and I don't know what I want to do."

We hereby terminate this item until Stern decides what he wants to do.

OFF THE ROAD: It's the bus (or limo) for Eric Clapton in Britain, where the 54-year-old guitar god has been banned from driving for six months per a speeding conviction.

According to reports, Clapton was dinged by authorities for driving his Jeep at 45 mph in a 30 mph zone in October. In addition to the no-driving thing, the rocker also was ordered to pay a $569 fine.

OSCAR WATCH: "Austin Powers" star Heather Graham has been tapped to join the presenters lineup for the 72nd Annual Academy Awards on March 26 at the Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium.

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