FAREWELL, JOHNNY: As fans of the late Johnny Carson placed flowers on his Hollywood Boulevard star and at a makeshift memorial in Times Square Monday, his onetime home base, NBC’s Tonight Show, paid tribute in beautiful downtown Burbank. “As a performer, I never wanted to impress anyone more than Johnny Carson,” said Jay Leno, who took over for Carson in 1992. “Johnny had that special quality of grace, charm and dignity in the public arena. He was an incredibly polite man and when you were invited into his house, this show, you knew you were an honored guest.” Carson, 79, died Sunday after battling emphysema.
WEDDING TRUMP-STYLE: Donald Trump, 58, tied the knot with his girlfriend, model Melania Knauss, 34, in a lavish celebration last Saturday. The two exchanged vows before guests who included Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, Today show hosts Katie Couric and Matt Lauer, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, and TV personalities Star Jones, Barbara Walters, Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa. The event’s extravagant reception was held inside a 17,000-sq.-ft. ballroom built at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Palm Beach, Fla., estate.
RICE RECALLS: Newly confirmed Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, 50, started her first day on the job Thursday by recalling how 28 years ago she entered the same Washington, D.C., building – as an intern in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. “Well, this is a little different welcome than the first time that I came to work at the State Department,” said Rice, the first African-American woman to serve as the country’s top diplomat. “Now, there’s a lesson in that: Be good to your interns.” Although there was little doubt that Rice, a trusted adviser to President Bush, would be confirmed as secretary, she received the most nay votes since anyone who has taken that office in 180 years, in a Senate vote of 85-13.
AVIATOR SOARS: The Oscar race is officially on, and the toughest competition looks to be between Martin Scorsese‘s epic Howard Hughes biography The Aviator – with 11 nominations – and Clint Eastwood‘s stark boxing drama Million Dollar Baby, with seven. The story of Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie’s story, Finding Neverland, starring Best Actor nominee Johnny Depp, also got seven nods. Taylor Hackford‘s Ray Charles bio, Ray, starring Best Actor favorite Jamie Foxx, followed with six. Comic Chris Rock will host the Oscars Feb. 27.
PHOTOGS NICKED: Nicole Kidman won a her request for a temporary restraining order against freelance photographers Jamie Fawcett, 43, and Ben McDonald, 32, after saying she had been a virtual prisoner in her Sydney, Australia, home on account of them. The request followed the discovery of an electronic listening device outside the Oscar-winner’s residence. Kidman, 37, and the photographers were not in court for Thursday’s hearing.
PETTY PARIS: Paris Hilton, 23, is said to be under investigation for suspicion of petty theft allegedly involving her taking her own sex video from a West Hollywood newsstand. “There was an incident, and she is alleged to have taken something,” sheriff’s Deputy Steve Suzuki told the Associated Press. As depicted in film footage obtained by TV’s Celebrity Justice, the star of The Simple Life took her video, One Night in Paris, and walked away with it. The infamous video depicts Hilton with former boyfriend Rick Solomon. Hilton and her reps have not commented on the story.