BUSTED: Eight-time Olympic medalist swimmer Michael Phelps, 19, has been charged with driving under the influence, the Baltimore Sun reports. The swimmer, who made a major splash at the Athens Summer Games, was stopped Thursday at 11:30 p.m. by a Maryland State Police trooper in Salisbury, authorities said Monday. The trooper pulled Phelps over after he failed to halt at a stop sign. He was arrested and later charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, driving while impaired by alcohol, violation of a license restriction and failure to obey a traffic-control device. Two other passengers were in the car with Phelps when he was stopped. Police say the swimmer was cooperative during the entire process.
PIRATED: Illegal versions of U2’s highly anticipated new album, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, appeared on online file-sharing networks Monday. A spokeswoman for the rockers tells Reuters that no decision had yet been made on whether to move up the album’s release date, which is currently Nov. 23. Over the summer, a tape of some of the band’s rough tracks disappeared from the studio where they were recording. At the time, they said that they might shift the release date if illegal copies of the album surfaced. Last week, the release dates for albums by Eminem and Snoop Dogg also were bumped up due to piracy concerns.
DECLARED: Blaming the movie series’ producers, Pierce Brosnan, 51, has confirmed that he will not play James Bond for a fifth time. He told the BBC this weekend: “They invited me back, and they changed their minds half-way through negotiations. It’s hard to find the truth. … so you’ve got to let it go.” He says his decision leaves him with “great sense of liberation,” adding, “I thought they did me a favor, really… leave while you’re on top.” In an interview last week, Brosnan suggested a worthy replacement would be fellow Irishman Colin Farrell, 28, whose upcoming movie, Oliver Stone’s Alexander, is generating less-than-positive word-of-mouth.
VOTED: Eminem, 32, voted for the first time in last Tuesday’s election, though he did it absentee — and had a bodyguard deposit the ballot to the rapper’s Michigan polling place. “This guy was huge. I’d hate to run into him in a dark alley late at night,” township clerk Dennis Tomlinson told The Macomb Daily of Mount Clemens. No word on who Eminem voted for, though he has been critical of President Bush both in interviews and his new single, “Mosh.”
RATED: The second-season debut of FOX’s The O.C. gave the network some of its best ratings in years on Thursday (TV’s most-watched night), and was FOX’s highest-rated among adults ages 18 to 49 on a Thursday night in nearly seven years, according to preliminary data from Nielsen Media Research. Among young adults, ages 18 to 34, The O.C. was the highest-rated Thursday show in almost 8 years for FOX. The sun-soaked drama played against such established hits as CBS’s Survivor: Vanuatu, NBC’s Joey and Will & Grace and ABC’s Extreme Makeover.
DIED: Actor Howard Keel, 85, the MGM musical star (Show Boat, Kiss Me Kate, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers) and costar of TV’s Dallas, died at his Palm Desert, Calif., home on Sunday after a long battle with colon cancer, says his son, Gunnar, one of the star’s four children (from three marriages). Keel, whose real name was Harold Leek, played Clayton Fallow on the Texas-based late ’70s primetime soap. His first MGM role was as Frank Butler, love interest of Annie Oakley, in 1949’s Annie Get Your Gun.
CANCELED: HBO confirmed Friday that the upcoming fifth season of Six Feet Under will be the last for the ensemble drama revolving around the trials and tribulations of a family that runs a mortuary, after series creator and executive producer Alan Ball told the pay-cable network that he felt the show will have run its creative course by the end of the upcoming 12-episode season.
FILED: James Belushi, 50, has sued Brentwood, Calif., next-door neighbor Julie Newmar, 71 (best remembered as Catwoman on TV’s Batman), for $4 million in damages, accusing the actress of a “campaign of harassment” designed to drive him from his home, AP reports. Belushi claims in the lawsuit filed Nov. 2 that Newmar destroyed a fence and landscaping at the home in the posh neighborhood and repeatedly made defamatory statements about him to neighbors and friends. Newmar has not commented.
SETTLED: Just before going to trial, Gary Busey, 60, and his landlord have settled a lawsuit filed against the star after he stopped paying the $6,000-per-month rent on his Malibu home, court officials tell AP. Busey’s lawyer, Vicki Roberts, said Saturday the actor handed over a check for $30,000 in back rent. Under the settlement, the landlord must make repairs to the home, including fixing problems with the ventilation system.
CITED: Liam Neeson, 52, who stars in the upcoming Kinsey, will receive the Desert Palm Achievement Award for Best Actor at the 2005 Palm Springs International Film Festival in January, fest organizers have announced. Kevin Spacey, Laura Linney, Samuel L Jackson and Kirk Douglas also will be honored.
LAUDED: “Forrest Gump” and the new “The Polar Express” director Robert Zemeckis received the 2,268th star on the Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame. “He is, to film, a visionary,” frequent collaborator Tom Hanks said at the ceremony on Friday. “He is what Paul McCartney is to music.”
ADDED: SpongeBob Square Pants will be full of hot air this Thanksgiving, as part of the Macy’s Parade in New York, the store has announced. The cartoon character, who has his own movie this holiday season, will be one of the new balloons in the annual holiday rite. Among the other new “faces” braving the chilly Nov. 25 parade route: Chicken Little, M&Ms and Weebles.