Olivia Abel
April 12, 2004 12:00 PM


Fitness guru Richard Simmons, 55, was cited for misdemeanor assault March 24 at a Phoenix airport after he allegedly-slapped a man who made a remark about one of his exercise videos. Chris Farney said he intends to file charges. Simmons could not be reached for comment.


On March 25 in L.A., Maverick Records sued Warner Music Group for more than $200 million for breach of contract. The record label, formed by Madonna and Warner in 1992, also wants to terminate the business relationship with Warner, claiming that the company failed to pay for services, including marketing and promotion to support Maverick artists. Maverick has also sued Time Warner Inc., (the parent company of PEOPLE), which owned Warner Music Group until November. A Time Warner rep said the company does not comment on pending litigation. A spokesman for Warner Music said, “We look forward to resolving this issue.”


23 in Fall River, Mass., rapper Busta Rhymes (born Trevor Smith Jr.) received six months probation and paid $350 in court fees after pleading no contest to assaulting a woman during a December 2002 concert. Celine Giguere, 22, claimed Rhymes, 31, grabbed her by the hair and threatened to kill her after she touched his face. Rhymes said he grabbed Giguere’s hand to keep her from touching him again.


On March 19 in Ann Arbor, Mich., a federal appeals court reversed a 2001 verdict that found 20th Century Fox had stolen the script for the 1996 movie Jingle All the Way, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. In the latest decision, the court ruled that the movie could not have been based on a Detroit schoolteacher’s script and overturned the $19 million judgment against the film studio.


Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin, 62, was released from a Detroit hospital March 24, four days after being admitted (PEOPLE, April 5,2004), reportedly to be treated for an allergic reaction to antibiotics. The Grammy Award-winning singer is doing well.


Jan Berry, 62, half of the duo of Jan & Dean that had a string of hits in the 1960s, including “The Little Old Lady from Pasadena,” died March 26 after suffering a seizure at his L.A. home. Berry had been in poor health from the lingering effects of brain damage suffered in a 1966 car crash….

On March 19 in Brooklyn, Rose Sumner, 86, the grandmother of Jesse Englander, 16, Sumner’s caregiver who is profiled in this issue’s “Power of People” section (see page 154), died after having a heart attack.

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