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Been There

As singer Jessica Simpson turns 20, teen queens past offer up a little advice


It was her party, and bubblegum popster Jessica Simpson celebrated just like she wanted to—with waterskiing, a trampoline and cake in Athens, Texas. The July 10 birthday bash also marked a milestone: Simpson, who turned 20, became the first of the current crop of pop princesses—hello, Britney, Christina and Mandy—to say goodbye to teendom. With that in mind, Scoop asked some of their famous predecessors—singers who had already made the passage from idol to adult—for tips on how to survive the transition.

Tip No. 1: “You’re allowed to say no if you’re exhausted,” advises Deborah (formerly Debbie) Gibson of Electric Youth fame. Adds Lesley Gore, 54, who hit it big with “It’s My Party” in 1963: “Don’t treat yourself like a show horse.”

Tip No. 2: “It helps to have good people around you,” counsels ’80s sensation Tiffany (no last name, please), now 28 and a married mother of one.

Tip No. 3: “Acting like a diva is a huge pitfall,” warns Gibson, 29. “I’ve seen artists get too big for their britches too soon, and they fade.”

Tip No. 4: “Try to enjoy [stardom] while it’s happening,” says Gore. “It goes very quickly.”

“While those tips have remained constant, the teen-queen uniform hasn’t. Today’s stars “are wearing wardrobes I couldn’t have gotten away with!” says Tiffany. Indeed, Simpson confirms that despite her advancing age, “I will still show my navel.” As for the advice from pop stars past, she notes, “I really don’t know anything about them.” Which may, in a way, be the most important lesson to remember.

Ross Tossed

When we last left the Diana Ross and the Supremes tour, concert promoters insisted that the show would go on despite poor ticket sales. Then they canceled three performances. Then Ross, on July 10, said the entire tour was finito, although the promoters told Scoop, “It’s a day-by-day kind of thing here.” Left unsettled is whether the diva will collect her reportedly $500,000-per-show paychecks for the canceled concerts.

Three-Piece Suit

Our story so far: When Mike Myers backed out of a $20 million deal to write and star in Dieter—a film based on his late-’80s Saturday Night Live sketches about a monkey-petting German television host—Universal sued for $5 million. Then on July 6, Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment (Dieter’s producer) followed suit, seeking…30 meeellion dollars! Myers, Imagine claims, “acted maliciously and oppressively” for “selfish and ego-maniacal reasons.” So what’s a star to do but counter-sue? Seeking $20 million, Myers has charged that Universal and Imagine sent a “stalkeresque, thuglike” process server who chased after him in a car, “nearly causing Myers to crash his vehicle into his garage.”

Romanian Holiday

This year Armand Assante spent part of his summer vacation in Romania, judging a beauty pageant. Last year Assante spent part of his summer vacation in Croatia, attending a beauty pageant. It appears that the Mambo Kings star has an affinity for the babes of the Balkans, no?

“He is in fashion here,” says Ion Mirea, who invited Assante to judge the Miss Authentic Art Romania 2000 beauty pageant on July 1. “He became famous with [the 1996 HBO movie] Gotti, which was a very popular movie in Romania.” Mirea, owner of the Authentic Art company, which co-sponsored the pageant, insists that Assante “didn’t come here only for the girls—he liked the beauty of Romania.”

Assante, who costars with Benjamin Bratt in the upcoming TV movie After the Storm, also enjoyed last year’s Croatian pageant. “In Croatia I noticed that Eastern Europe has very sexy women,” the Irish-Italian actor told the Romanian daily National, adding, “I like this part of the world.”

An American Fox

Last summer Canadian-born actor and hockey fanatic Michael J. Fox told reporters that after 20 years of living south of the Canadian border, he wished to become a United States citizen. The Edmonton, Alta., native noted that he had “never been able to vote” in a U.S. election, adding, “It bothers me a lot.” Now the star, whose wife and three children are all American citizens, will be able to cast his ballot in the upcoming presidential election: A source close to Fox confirms that he quietly took the citizenship oath sometime during the past year. Exactly when and where is classified info, and Fox, for now, isn’t saying.

A Lighter Luther Lives!

Fact: Luther Vandross has lost a lot of weight. Fiction: Luther Van-dross is dead. Following recent rumors of his untimely demise, the soulful singer—and longtime yoyo dieter—took the stage at the Essence Music Festival on July 1 in New Orleans and set the record straight: “I exercise five days a week, I eat 1,000 calories a day, I lost 124 lbs., and there ain’t nothin’ wrong with me.” The crooner was the subject of poorly sourced radio and Internet reports, suggesting he had taken his final encore. The rumors continued even after Vandross called a Chicago radio station and chatted on the air. At the festival the newly svelte Vandross declared, “I sound real good for somebody who’s dead.”


with Gloria Estefan

The nominees for the inaugural Latin Grammy Awards were announced on July 7 in Miami, but the show itself will take place Sept. 13 in Los Angeles. Why did Miami, the Latin music industry’s capital, miss out? Blame a Miami-Dade County ordinance that banned any involvement with any group doing business with Cuba—including the Latin Grammys, which are open to Cuban artists. The ban was eventually overturned in court but too late for the show. Scoop asked Gloria Estefan, who helped announce the nominees, about the controversy.

They say you’re the godmother of these awards.

Better than grandmother, that’s for sure.

Why all the politics?

It’s such a complex issue. I just wish we knew the will of the people. All we ever know is the will of the politicians, and to me that’s not good. I wish art wouldn’t be mixed with politics. But I’m Cuban, so that’s a whole other issue.

Should the Latin Grammys be held in Miami?

Quite honestly, it’s probably better that they’re in L.A. this year, because the first show is going to require a lot of experience, and, really, in L.A. they’ve done every show there is to do. In the future we’ll see what happens. Miami is a beautiful city, and it’s a wonderful place to have Latin artists come.

How accepted are Cuban artists elsewhere in the States?

It’s happening. The Buena Vista Social Club is enjoying an incredible success. I’m happy because they can enjoy on a worldwide level the freedom that they don’t enjoy in their own land, to express themselves musically. As a Cuban I am proud and very happy whenever anything Cuban—except Fidel, of course—gets all that publicity, because it’s part of my culture. We’re a musical culture.

Is art going to lead politics in establishing a better rapport between Cuba and the U.S.?

Well, I think you’ve been seeing a lot more interest in Cuban music and Cuban things just because of the wave of tourists that have gone down there. Politically, really, I don’t know what’s going to happen there. Fidel Castro is really a megalomaniac. So there’s no way to second-guess what can happen there.


It looks as if former quarterback Dan Marino hopes to be as successful in real estate as he was in football. The NFL’s most prolific passer, who retired from the Miami Dolphins in March, is selling his 9-bedroom, 10-bathroom Mediterranean-style home in Weston, Fla., for $8 million. That would be quite a profit, considering he paid $350,000 for 4.3 acres of Everglades swamp in 1994 and spent $2 million building the 13,278-sq.-ft. home, which is located in the Windmill Ranch Estates development, near Fort Lauderdale. The residence comes with a pool, jogging trail, master bedroom suite with fireplace, dining room with hand-painted ceiling and a fully stocked fishpond. But no dolphins.