Stephen M. Silverman
September 22, 2004 09:00 AM

DIVERTED: The former Cat Stevens, the ’70s pop singer now known as Yusuf Islam, was denied entry into the U.S. on Tuesday and his United Airlines Flight 919 from London was diverted to Maine, after his name turned up on a watch list, a U.S. transportation security official tells Reuters. In Maine, Islam was questioned and detained by federal authorities who planned to put him on a return flight early Wednesday, the official said. United spokesman Jeff Green said the carrier was asked by the Transportation Security Administration to divert the plane to Maine for security reasons.

WON: Chip and Kim McAllister, of California’s Orange County, took the $1 million prize on CBS’s Emmy-winning The Amazing Race 5, beating three other teams in the season finale, which aired Tuesday. Chip, 46, who runs a Web technology company, and Kim, 44, who owns a recruiting company, covered more than 72,000 miles over six continents and 11 countries to earn the top prize. “This is just a blessing … this is like surreal right now,” said Chip. Colin Guinn and Christie Woods, a dating couple from Corpus Christie, Texas, finished second.

SUED: Two New York courtroom artists – Andrea Shepard and her mother, Shirley – are suing Rosie O’Donnell, 42, for copyright infringement, accusing her of trying to pass off photographs of their sketches of her (rendered during her $100 million breach-of-contract trial last year) as work she produced, Reuters reports. The Shepards’ suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan earlier this month and made public on Monday night, seeks as much as a $1 million in damages and accuses the former TV host of selling their work as if she had created it.

DIED: So-called “King of the Nudies,” groundbreaking moviemaker Russ Meyer, 82, died of complications of pneumonia Saturday at his home in the Hollywood Hills, says a spokeswoman. Movies by Meyer, known for his love of buxomy leading ladies, included Faster Pussycat, Kill! Kill! and Vixen, as well as the 1970 X-rated Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, which helped bring down the reigning corporate regime of 20th Century Fox.

SCATTERED: The ashes of acting icon Marlon Brando, who died of lung failure at age 80 on July 1, were spread in Tahiti and Death Valley, reports the Los Angeles Times. Brando cherished California’s Death Valley, his son Miko Brando tells the paper. (The ashes of Brando’s late friend Wally Cox, who died in 1973, were also poured onto the desert landscape as part of the same ceremony.) Brando also owned an island in Tahiti, purchased in the early 1960s while filming an ill-fated remake of Mutiny on the Bounty.

SCHEDULED: Usher, Mary J Blige, Norah Jones, Mos Def, Quincy Jones, Elton John, B.B. King, Al Green and Stevie Wonder are among the artists set to perform at the Oct. 8 “Genius: A Night for Ray Charles” tribute concert at Los Angeles’s Staples Center, to be hosted by Jamie Foxx, who stars in the Charles biopic Ray, opening next month. CBS plans to tape the concert for broadcast at a later date, according to organizers. Charles, 73, died in June of complications from liver disease.

VOICED: This year’s Mystic River Oscar winner actor Sean Penn, 43, will narrate his first audiobook, and it’s a doozy: Bob Dylan’s Chronicles: Volume One, to be published Oct. 12 by Simon & Schuster Audio. “We knew he would be perfect for the material,” said Chris Lynch, executive vice president and publisher of Simon & Schuster Audio, in a statement.

HONORED: The Hollywood Film Festival will salute Mel Gibson, 48, as Hollywood Producer of the Year at an Oct. 8 ceremony to be held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. “Mel Gibson’s career exemplifies extraordinary ability, craftsmanship and determination,” festival founder Carlos de Abreu said. “He is an excellent example of a highly talented filmmaker whose work and creative vision are to be honored.”

PLANNED: Miramax plans to finance and distribute Michael Moore’s upcoming documentary, which is tentatively called Sicko and is about the American healthcare system, reports Variety. Production is expected to begin next year. Moore’s controversial Bush-whacking documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 has grossed some $120 million domestically and is to be released on DVD before the Nov. 2 presidential election.

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