News Roundup, Feb. 4: Whitney Houston’s Dad Dies

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Whitney Houston‘s father John Houston died of cardiac arrest early Sunday morning in New York after struggling many years with diabetes and heart disease. He was 82. He and his famous daughter were recently embroiled in a lawsuit in which the elder Houston’s theatrical management company claimed the pop diva owed the company $100 million for helping her through financial difficulties and securing a record contract. In December, he publicly urged his daughter from his hospital bed to “pay the money you owe me.” The dispute did not keep Whitney away, however, as Reuters reports the singer flew to New York Sunday from Miami, where she was doing a shoot for a magazine cover, to be with her family.


Ben Affleck will not be marrying his fiancee Jennifer Lopez on Valentine’s Day after all. Reuters reports the actor quelled the rumor by telling Vanity Fair in an interview published Monday that he and Lopez “don’t have time!” and added they are shooting for the nuptials to take place sometime next summer.

Jude Law doesn’t like rumors either. According to, Law, who is married to actress Sadie Frost, insisted to Australia’s Syndey Morning Herald that the rumor he and Nicole Kidman had an affair on the set of their movie Cold Mountain is categorically untrue and “to suggest otherwise is malicious, hurtful and libelous.” It was reported by a few tabloids that Frost, who recently had to be treated for postnatal depression after giving birth to the couple’s son, may have been also upset about the alleged affair. Law added, “I have been on to my lawyers and will follow all legal action necessary to ensure that these kind of vicious lies are put to a stop.”

Pop star Michael Jackson, who allowed a British interviewer access to his personal life over an eight month period for a special television documentary, reveals, among other things, that he picked a surrogate mother to give birth to his third child, Prince Michael II. Jackson also told ITV1 reporter Martin Bashir having children sleep in his bed is perfectly innocent and admitted he had plastic surgery on his nose–twice. Riiight. The 90-minute TV-special aired on British television Monday and will air on ABC’s 20/20 Thursday.

Meryl Streep doesn’t buy into all the Oscar hullabaloo. The Oscar-winning actress told London’s Daily Telegraph, “I find it alarming that all the campaigning for Oscars is getting like a political campaign. It really is distasteful…..It won’t be long before they start paying for television commercials for best picture, best actor and all those things.” The 53-year-old actress has been nominated 12 times, winning twice, and shares the nom record with Katharine Hepburn. Heavily touted this year for her performances in The Hours and Adaptation, Streep will most likely break that record when the Academy announces the nominations next week.


Russell Crowe is set to reunite with his A Beautiful Mind director Ron Howard for the boxing drama Cinderella Man. Variety reports the film focuses on Depression-era fighter and folk hero Jim Braddock, who defeated heavyweight champ Max Baer in a 15-round slugfest in 1935.


The Directors Guild of America has announced their nominees for the best television movie direction for 2002, including nods for the late John Frankenheimer for HBO’s Path to War, Julie Dash for CBS’ The Rosa Parks Story and Mick Jackson for HBO’s Live From Baghdad.

NBC’s new drama Kingpin has drawn criticism from the League of United Latin American Citizens, the Associated Press reports, for its depiction of Hispanics as “drug dealers, murderers and unpatriotic American citizens,” the group said in a statement. They added the show “opens the door to more negative feelings towards Latinos in our community.”