HIRED: Samaire Armstrong, who has appeared on The O.C. and Entourage, is teaming up with Lindsay Lohan for an untitled movie comedy being developed by How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days director Donald Petrie, according to the Hollywood Reporter. She will play the best friend of Lohan’s character, who is described as the luckiest lady alive until she meets the unluckiest man. Armstrong recently played Anna Stern on The O.C., the blond former flame of Seth Cohen (Adam Brody).
ENGAGED: Denver Nuggets hoops star Carmelo Anthony is engaged to MTV veejay La La Vasquez, sealing the proposal with a nine-carat ring on Christmas Day, he said. No wedding date is set, the Associated Press reports. The engagement follows a tough few months for Anthony. In October, he was slapped with misdemeanor drug possession charges, but they were later dropped after a friend told police that the marijuana found in a backpack was his. Anthony also recently sat out several NBA games due to an injured ankle.
ANNOUNCED: Popular humorist Dave Barry said Sunday’s column for The Miami Herald was his last – in all likelihood. Barry, who has written humor columns for three decades, including 22 years at the Herald, says, “I want to stop before I join the horde of people who think I used to be funnier. And I want to work on some other stuff.” Barry says he will write occasional pieces, weighing in “from time to time if something really important happens, such as a cow exploding in a boat toilet.”
DISPLAYED: Tennis stars Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova rode elephants before playing an exhibition match in Thailand as part of preparations for the Jan. 17 Australian Open, AP reports. Said Williams: “I’ve never had this kind of experience because we don’t have things like this back home in California.” Not that the pachyderm ride brought good luck: Sharapova downed Williams 6-4, 6-3 in the TAT Tennis Invitational Exhibition at the 700th Anniversary Stadium on Sunday.
DIED: Shirley Chisholm, 80, the first African American woman elected to Congress and, later, the first black politician to seek a major party’s nomination for President, died in Florida Saturday after a series of strokes, say reports. Chisholm, from New York, took her seat in the House in 1969 and was an outspoken champion of women and minorities during her seven terms. She was also was a staunch critic of the Vietnam War. After hearing of her death, Rev. Jesse Jackson called her a “woman of great courage.”
OFFERED: Eddie Murphy’s seven-bedroom, 25,000-sq.-ft. New Jersey mansion that includes a bowling alley, theater and recording studio, is on the market for $30 million. But a warning: The mansion, known as “Bubble Hill,” carries a hefty annual property tax bill, totaling nearly $200,000 this year, tax data shows, according to the Bergen County Record newspaper.
SUED: Debbie Reynolds and her son, Todd Fisher, are being sued by a shopping center’s former owner, TrizecHahn Hollywood, in a lawsuit that claims the two breached a June 2001 leasing agreement to house a $30 million collection of Hollywood memorabilia on the property. The “Unsinkable Molly Brown Star,” 72, and her son replied in their legal papers that structural limitations at the shopping center prevented them from building the museum.
RENEWED: Bob Barker, who turned 81 on Dec. 23, will come on down for a 34th season as host of CBS game show The Price Is Right, the network announced. “I was considering retiring this year and going into bodybuilding with the thought in mind of becoming governor of California,” Barker quipped in a statement, “but I decided instead to stay with the body I have and the job I have.”
EXPECTED: Talent manager Brad Grey, 47, is in line to replace Paramount Pictures chief Sherry Lansing, who announced she will be stepping down at the end of this year, reports The New York Times. Grey has guided the careers of Jennifer Aniston, Adam Sandler and Brad Pitt, and his producing credits include The Sopranos. An official announcement of Grey’s appointment is expected within the next two days, the paper says.
QUIT: Mercer, Pa., Mayor Chris Portman, who was 19 when he took his job running the suburban Pittsburgh town three years ago, has resigned from his post without completing his four-year term. Portman’s father says the young mayor wanted to pursue opportunities outside of Pennsylvania. Officials say Portman also missed most City Council meetings over the past year.