A.J. McLean of the Backstreet Boys revealed on Jan. 13 that, “for personal reasons,” he has checked himself into an unspecified rehab clinic. In a statement the singer, 33, said, “With 2011 being a busy year for Backstreet, I want to be healthy and at my very best and happiest.” McLean was treated in 2001 for depression and alcohol abuse.
In a Jan. 17 e-mail to employees, Apple CEO Steve Jobs, 55, announced that he was taking a medical leave of absence “so I can focus on my health.” No reason for the leave was given, and the computer giant’s founder said he would still be “involved in major strategic decisions.” Jobs, a pancreatic cancer survivor, underwent a liver transplant in 2009. • On Jan. 14 a California judge authorized the release of $60,000 to Artis Mills to cover medical expenses for his wife, singer Etta James, 73 (inset, right). The legendary vocalist has been battling dementia and leukemia and requires round-the-clock care. Mills is engaged in a legal dispute with James’ children, who have challenged Mills’ petition to have $1 million of his wife’s funds declared community property so he can pay for her health care. Another hearing is scheduled for Feb. 24.
Zsa Zsa Gabor, 93, underwent surgery Jan. 14 in Los Angeles to have most of her right leg amputated. Doctors decided the operation was necessary because of a serious infection that would not heal. The actress’s husband, Prince Frédéric von Anhalt, said that upon learning she had lost her leg, the Queen of Outer Space star joked, “I’m gonna die anyhow.” After falling in her home last summer, Gabor had hip replacement surgery and has been hospitalized several times since.
Playwright Romulus Linney, 80, succumbed to lung cancer on Jan. 15 at his home in Germantown, N.Y. Aside from teaching in the Ivy League, Linney was the author of more than 30 plays that ran in regional theater and Off-Broadway. The day after he died, his daughter Laura Linney, 46, won a Golden Globe for her work on the TV series The Big C but was not on hand to receive the award. • David Nelson, 74, who was a familiar face on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet from 1952 to ’66, died of cancer on Jan. 11 in Los Angeles. Nelson, whose teen idol brother Ricky died in a 1985 plane crash, was the last surviving member of the wholesome TV clan and worked as a director and producer.
REGIS SIGNS OFF
After more than 40 years on television, Regis Philbin announced his plans to retire from Live with Regis and Kelly. “This will be my last year on the show,” the cohost told his audience—and a teary Kelly Ripa—on Jan. 18. “It was the biggest thrill of my life.” Philbin, 79, got his break on national TV as singer Joey Bishop’s talk-show sidekick in 1967. The Emmy winner and game-show host is best known for trading barbs with former cohost Kathie Lee Gifford for 15 years, and in 2004 he was recognized by Guinness World Records for the most hours on-camera.