Stephen M. Silverman
January 16, 2004 01:00 PM

CAST: “Coming Home” and “Klute” Oscar winner Jane Fonda, 66, absent from the silver screen for the past 14 years (since 1990’s “Stanley & Iris,” with Robert De Niro), will make her comeback in a movie comedy with Jennifer Lopez, 34, to be called “Monster-in-Law,” reports Variety, which calls the actresses J.Fo and J.Lo. The latter will play the fiancee of a man she finds perfect, until she meets his awful mother (Fonda). The film is slated for release in 2005.

ENGAGED: Piano Man Billy Joel, 56, proposed to girlfriend Katie Lee, 26, while the two were vacationing in St. Bart’s, his rep has confirmed to New York’s Daily News. No wedding date has been set. Lee was working in a fish shop and as a restaurant hostess in the Hamptons when she met Joel last summer, says the News. This will be his third marriage. His first, from 1973-82, was to his business manager, Elizabeth Weber. He and supermodel Christie Brinkley were married from 1985-94 and have a daughter, Alexa, 17.

QUOTED: “To say it’s not nerve-racking is ridiculous. Once I say, ‘Yes,’ I have a headache until I say, ‘Good night, everybody.'” — Billy Crystal, 55, who will host the Feb. 29 Oscar ceremony, on what the job is like, as quoted by the Associated Press

SENTENCED: Grammy-nominated rapper Mystikal (real name: Michael Tyler), 33, pleaded guilty to sexual battery and was sentenced to six years in prison in Louisiana Thursday, reports AP. The victim accused Tyler and two bodyguards of forcing her to perform oral sex after they accused her of stealing $80,000 worth of his checks. She denied stealing any money. The bodyguards also pleaded guilty to sexual battery. Leland “Pokie” Ellis, 37, received three years in prison, and Vercy “V” Carter, 35, got four.

DIED: Legendary Broadway actress Uta Hagen, 84, whose roles ranged from Shakespeare to creating Martha in the original 1962 production of Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,” died Wednesday at her Manhattan home after having been in ill health since suffering a stroke in 2001, reports the Associated Press. Albee issued a statement saying, “Uta Hagen was a great teacher, a great actress and a great cook. Also, she was nobody’s fool and I both admired her and cared for her deeply.” Broadway theaters dimmed their lights Thursday before the evening performance in honor of Hagen. She is survived by a daughter, Leticia Ferrer (from Hagen’s first marriage, to actor Jose Ferrer), a granddaughter and a great-granddaughter.

WON: Former “Baywatch” star Carmen Electra, 31, has won control of the Internet name in a ruling by a United Nations panel in Switzerland, says the U.N. An arbitrator for the World Intellectual Property Organization ordered the transfer of the domain name to actress, who had complained that it was being used in bad faith to divert Internet traffic to a commercial site. Electra, who was born Tara Leigh Patrick, said she’d adopted the name Carmen Electra 10 years ago.

APPEALED: Hello! magazine has won the right to appeal damages against it for publishing wedding pictures of Catherine Zeta-Jones, 34, and Michael Douglas, 59, reports the BBC. The couple had signed an exclusive $1.6 million photo deal with rival magazine OK! to publish photos of their Nov. 2000 wedding, but in April, London’s High Court ordered Hello! to pay more than $1.6 million in damages after it published six unauthorized shots. Hello! is disputing whether it should pay damages to the magazine or the stars.

HOSPITALIZED: Grammy-winning dancehall rapper Beenie Man (real name: Moses Davis), 30, underwent successful surgery in Kingston, Jamaica, Thursday after puncturing his lung and breaking two ribs in an early morning car accident, his manager tells AP. Davis is in serious but stable condition at St. Joseph’s Hospital, manager Patrick Roberts said, and worried fans converged on the hospital as word of the accident spread.

JOINED: Former “Just Shoot Me” star David Spade, 39, has been permanently added to the cast of ABC’s “8 Simple Rules,” reports The Washington Post. He initially had been signed only to guest star in three episodes (as Cate Hennessy’s nephew), but he’s now on as a regular. Earlier this season, veteran TV star James Garner was permanently added to the show, which suffered the tragic loss of its star, John Ritter, last September.

REVIVED: First it was Astro Boy. Now the cartoon character set to make a comeback is Popeye the Sailorman, who turns 75 on Saturday. (So, eating spinach does lead to longevity.) Among the festivities planned is lighting the top of New York’s Empire State Building green (like spinach) and an upcoming 3-D animated TV special, to be written by former “Mad About You” star Paul Reiser, 46, reports AP.

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