Royal Budget Cuts for the King of Pop
For Michael Jackson, 39, the days when he could buy a fancy pair of gloves and blithely toss one away are HIStory. Two disappointing albums and bad press from a child molestation allegation in 1993 have shrunk royalties, hindered plans for an American tour and scared off sponsors, even as his personal and professional expenses remain, well, Jacksonian. He’s not broke, but the singer has lately slashed overhead and drastically scaled back charity work.
Jackson’s income hit $65 million in 1989; last year, says Forbes, Jackson made $20 million, while his HIStory album cost his label, Sony, a reported $30 million in marketing expenses.
Now, says comanager John McClain, Jackson is “getting rid of some of the crazier spending.” Already downsized is the entourage, or as McClain calls them, “the people who take advantage of Michael and use his money.” The budget for Jackson’s next, untitled, video is $1.5 million, down from the $7 million spent on ’95’s Scream.
Jackson’s Heal the World Foundation shows the most strain. Last June a British TV show alleged the charity’s UK arm hadn’t made a donation since ’95. In California, authorities wonder why HTW is two years late in filing its financial data. “If they continue not to respond, we have the option to revoke their status as a nonprofit organization,” says Matt Ross of the California attorney general’s office. HTW’s head, Richard Fowler, says, “We’re spending less than initially, that’s true, but we are moving forward.”
Out and Running
Rosie isn’t the only O’Donnell in the limelight this week. The talk show host’s brother Daniel, 37, announced he will run as a Democrat—an openly gay one—for a seat in the New York State senate, representing Manhattan’s Upper West Side and part of The Bronx.
Rosie, 36, has long known about her brother’s sexual orientation and, says Daniel, is “fine with it.” He showed his political colors early. “The tip-off came when he was 8,” Rosie says. “He founded a free legal clinic for the dolls he claimed I illegally evicted from my Barbie Dream House.”
The five O’Donnell kids had a tough time growing up in Commack, N.Y. Their mother, Roseann, died of breast cancer in 1973 when the oldest, Edward, now 38 and a marketing exec, was 13. Rosie has said that their father, also Edward, an engineer, was emotionally unavailable for the kids, including Maureen, 34, a homemaker, and Tim, 32, an accountant.
While Rosie was winning Star Search competitions, Daniel was working his way through City University of New York law school. He did a seven-year stint in the Brooklyn public defender’s office, and he continues to work for the rights of the underprivileged.
Now, as he preps for the Sept. 15 primary, Daniel acknowledges his family connection is a double-edged sword. “People have said, ‘You’re only going to run because your sister’s Rosie O’Donnell.’ I say, ‘It’s not relevant that my sister happens to be famous.’ ” Rosie agrees. “He’s one of the most selfless and dedicated people I know. He’ll make a fantastic legislator.”
What’s to become of the Unabomber’s cabin? Last December, Ted Kaczynski’s crude shack was trucked from Montana to Sacramento to be Exhibit A in his mental-defect defense. But then Kaczynski, 55, pled guilty to all federal charges. While he’s waiting to be sentenced May 4, the government is wondering what to do with what’s essentially a dirty wooden box in which a crazed killer holed up for 20 years. Now who wouldn’t want one of those?
The house now sits in a warehouse at the defunct Mather Air Force Base near Sacramento. It could be sold and the proceeds given to victims’ families, but how much would it bring? That’s tough to say, notes appraiser Bill Middlebrook. “It’s a one-of-a-kind thing.” The house might have value to a museum or a collector—or someone who wants to see it destroyed. In 1996, Jeffrey Dahmer’s refrigerator and tools were sold at auction for $400,000—to a group of businessmen from Dahmer’s onetime home of Milwaukee who buried the items in a landfill, hoping to put an end to Dahmer’s ugly legacy.
Maybe it was his tale of having no place to lay his head or a hairdo that looked as if he had laid that head too close to a nuclear reactor, but MTV viewers have spoken, and Jesse Camp, 18, is the winner of the music network’s first I Wanna Be a VJ contest. Camp was one of 4,000 hopefuls who waited outside MTV’s New York City studios to compete for the $25,000 gig. He auditioned his way into the finals and on April 18 took on-air trivia tests, conducted a mock interview with actress Kathy Griffin and was interviewed himself by MTV News anchor Kurt Loder while viewers voted via telephone and the Internet.
Victory was as timely as it was sweet for the Hartford, Conn., native, who, after wandering the U.S. for over a year, has been crashing on the floor of a pal’s Manhattan pad. “I can buy a waterbed!” Camp exulted. His long-range goal is “to leave my own unique mark, so people will remember me when I’m gone. But I hope that won’t be for a long time.” More immediately, the veejay job he won is described by MTV as temporary, with details to be worked out.
Mary Green WANTS TO KNOW
Please complete: Jerry Springer’s No. 1 daytime TV ratings are a sure sign that…
“…there are more trailers with television sets in America than we realized.”
“…people who argue and fight generally look like idiots.”
“…people miss Mike Tyson.”
Party Animal Tommy Boy
“I am the father of Jodie Foster’s baby!” Dustin Hoffman confided in jest, but the night belonged to Tom Cruise. The actor, 35, who spent a year and a half in England with wife Nicole Kidman, 30, filming Eyes Wide Shut, was honored April 17 by the Artists Rights Foundation in Beverly Hills. Cruise said he was “baffled” by all the attention. If so, the 1990 Sexiest Man Alive must spend his life in a state of befuddlement. And if he wasn’t looking to stand out at the formal affair, what was he doing in a jacket and tie?
Hip-hop impresario Sean “Puffy” Combs shelled out $2.45 million to buy an East Hampton, N.Y., beach house. According to the brokers at Tina S. Fredericks, Inc., his new digs have three bedrooms, two fireplaces, a pool and a hot tub.
NOW PLAYING AT THE REAL NAME MULTIPLEX
Slick packaging still rules in Hollywood, even in the age of Uma Thurman, Calista Flockhart and Ben Affleck. Imagine if all stars had held on to their actual handles
Margaret Hyra (1) falls for Nicholas Coppola (2) in City of Angels!
Winona Horowitz (3) joins forces with Susan Weaver (4) in Alien Resurrection!
Sofia Scicolone (5) finds Walter Matuschanskavasky (6) in Grumpier Old Men!
Thomas Cruise Mapother IV (7), Christian Hawkins (8) and William Bradley Pitt (9) star in Howard Allen O’Brien’s (10) Interview with the Vampire!
The voices of Demetria Guynes (11) and Jay Scott Greenspam (12) animate The Hunchback of Norte Dame!
1. Meg Ryan (Ryan is her mother’s maiden name.) 2. Nicolas Cage (He didn’t want to trade on his uncle Francis Ford Coppola’s fame.) 3. Winona Ryder 4. Sigourney Weaver (At 14, she took a minor Great Gatsby character’s name.) 5. Sophia Loren (A producer renamed her in 1952.) 6. Walter Matthau 7. Tom Cruise 8. Christian Slater (Slater is his mother’s last name.) 9. Brad Pitt 10. Anne Rice (Named after her father, she began calling herself Anne in first grade.) 11. Demi Moore (She jettisoned first husband, musician Freddy Moore, but kept his name.) 12. Jason Alexander