In the final steps of his transition from a woman to a man, Chaz Bono, 41, filed a petition on March 24 in L.A. to legally change his gender to male. Not only has Cher’s oldest child successfully undergone an “irreversible surgical procedure for the purpose of altering Chaz’s sex characteristics from female to male,” according to his doctor, the writer and gay-rights activist also wants to change his name from Chastity Sun to Chaz Salvatore, Salvatore being the real first name of his late father, Sonny Bono.
Rocker Axl Rose, 48, was sued on March 25 in Los Angeles Superior Court for nearly $1.9 million in unpaid fees. Front Line Management, founded by Irving Azoff, claims it was entitled to 15 percent of the Guns N’ Roses frontman’s earnings, and the fees remained unpaid for performances outside the U.S. Rose’s rep did not comment. • On March 26 a Dublin judge said that pop musician Prince, 51, must pay $2.95 million to Irish concert promoters for canceling a 2008 show 13 days before the show was to go on. Around 55,000 seats had been sold for the performance in Dublin’s Croke Park when the Purple One bowed out with no explanation. High Court Justice Peter Kelly said he revealed the details of a confidential settlement reached on Feb. 26 because Prince had not yet paid anything to Dublin’s MCD Productions Ltd.
Less than a week before the trial was to begin, Oprah Winfrey, 56, settled a defamation suit filed against her by the former headmistress of the media mogul’s Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa. Nomvuyo Mzamane had accused Winfrey of damaging her reputation during a 2007 investigation into abuse charges at the school. On March 23 attorneys announced that “the two parties met woman to woman, without their lawyers,” and they had “peacefully” resolved the dispute. No details of any kind were revealed about the settlement.
Barbara Bush, 84, was admitted to a Houston hospital March 27 after complaining of not feeling well for a week. Her husband, former President George H.W. Bush, drove her to Methodist Hospital where, a family spokeswoman said, doctors performed “a battery of tests.” Mrs. Bush was expected to remain in the hospital for a few days.
Johnny Maestro, 70, lead singer for the Crests, the Del-Satins and the Brooklyn Bridge, died of cancer March 24 in Cape Coral, Fla. After early rock and roll hits such as “16 Candles” and “The Angels Listened In,” Maestro struck gold with the Brooklyn Bridge’s “Worst That Could Happen,” songwriter Jimmy Webb’s ode to lost love.
HOORAY FOR HOPPER
Hundreds of fans cheered as ailing actor Dennis Hopper, 73, received a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame March 26. The screen legend, who revealed last fall he has prostate cancer, was joined by family, his Easy Rider costar Jack Nicholson and his Blue Velvet director David Lynch. “Everything I learned, I got it all from you, so this has been my home and my schooling,” he said. Two days earlier Hopper’s lawyers explained that he was terminally ill and too weak to give a deposition in his ongoing divorce case.