By People Staff
April 01, 2002 12:00 PM

Rock of Ages

Is the Hall of Fame running out of suitable candidates?

Focus

Amid the tweaked black tie and street glam at the 17th-annual Rock and Rock Hall of Fame induction ceremony in New York City on March 18, Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder looked strangely appropriate in his threadbare T-shirt and Mohawk. The evening’s honorees were an eclectic bunch indeed: punk pioneers the Ramones, new wavers Talking Heads, R&B singer Isaac Hayes, rockers Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and ’50s and ’60s teen songbird Brenda Lee. Vedder, 37, recalled the first time he saw the Ramones. “It was terribly frightening and terribly blissful at the same time,” he said. “The Ramones were our Beatles.”

Perhaps, but with iconic bands like the Beatles, Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin already coronated, who’s left? “The more exciting years are passing quickly,” says the Wallflowers’ Jakob Dylan, 32, whose pops, Bob, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1988. “This is maybe the last year that this feels like a big event. I don’t know who’s next.” (Can we hear it for Motörhead?) Not to worry, says Michael Devlin, spokesman for Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, which attracted 575,000 visitors last year: “In the next few years artists like Prince, U2 and the Clash become eligible.”

Yipes! Snipes Caught in IRS Fracas

A word to celebrities this tax season: Watch your greenbacks. On March 14 the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit accusing Florida accountant Douglas P. Rosile Sr. of plotting a “bogus tax-refund scheme” that could have swindled the government out of $36 million. The biggest of Rosile’s 188 known filings: Wesley Snipes, 39, for whom the tax preparer filed an amended federal income tax return requesting a $7.3 million refund for taxes paid in 1997, claiming the actor had no taxable income that year (published reports estimate Snipes’s 1997 earnings were at least $18 million). The Blade II star recently told Howard Stern that he’s merely a bystander. “Man, I honestly do not know,” Snipes, who never received the refund, replied when Stern asked if the story was false. “I am hearing about it, and it’s unfolding right before my eyes.” A fervent anti-income-tax advocate, Rosile, who has been stripped of his CPA license in two states, has made only one remark to the press throughout: “I hate the IRS.”

Nicole’s Oscar Picks?

When Hollywood beauty and Best Actress nominee Nicole Kidman, 34, complained recently that she couldn’t find a date for the Oscars, eyes rolled. On the other hand, Tom Cruise is a tough date to duplicate. Touched by her dilemma, Scoop enlisted experts to examine her options. Bachelor No. 1: Billy Joel, 52, who noted wistfully at a charity event last month that Kidman “is single, and I’m single.” Scott St. John, executive producer of Change of Heart, believes the odd couple could work: “She is an uptown girl.” Blind Date creator David Garfinkle disagrees. “She needs someone whose career is on the upswing,” he says. Perhaps Oscar favorite—and Bachelor No. 2—Russell Crowe, 37? “He’s not a nice guy,” says Garfinkle. “And he looks like he doesn’t change his underwear.” (We never said this was scientific.) Our proposed Bachelor No. 3, the comic Carrot Top, 35, also got nixed. “His hair is too red,” says Garfinkle. So what now? “She should go out with a costar,” says St. John. “It worked for her ex.”

A Big Top Breakup

Lions and tigers and clowns, goodbye! Nearly a year after running off with the circus, Princess Stephanie of Monaco, 37, has returned to court (on March 16 she attended the annual Rose Ball on the arm of her father, Prince Rainier, 78). The perpetually rebellious princess has apparently ended her romance with Switzerland’s national circus director and renowned elephant trainer Franco Knie, 47, reportedly frustrated by the fact that Knie is still married. It also appears life on the road was a royal pain: Stephanie and her three young children lived in a 40-ft. caravan trailer that circus folk dubbed “the palace.”

Dude, It’s Really Not Funny

Dude, Where’s My Car? was a lark for Erik Aude, 21, who played a small role in the 2000 teen flick. His latest role, however, is dead serious: On March 16 the actor was arraigned in Pakistan and charged with drug smuggling. Local police allege that authorities at Islamabad airport found nearly 8 lbs. of opium in the lining of his suitcase on Feb. 15. If convicted, Aude, who has also appeared on TV’s Reba, could face the death penalty, though Pakistani officials have told the State Department he is more likely to face 10 years to life in prison. Although Aude’s mother, Sherry, 50, who runs a small casting agency, insists that her son is the victim of a setup, a U.S. official said it can do little if Aude is found guilty.

Museum Says No to Sex

The WWII aircraft carrier Intrepid may be permanently anchored on Manhattan’s Hudson River as a floating sea-air-space museum, but the ship can sure steer out of troubled waters fast. When the producers of Sex and the City approached the museum’s president and chief executive, retired Marine Lt. Gen. Martin R. Steele, to ask if a scene could be filmed onboard, Steele refused—although he did say the series was his wife’s favorite show. Alas, Sex‘s racy content clashed with the battleship’s dignified image. The episode in question, “Anchors Away,” depicts Sex stars Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall and Kristin Davis fraternizing with sailors during Fleet Week, an annual event that draws thousands of seamen to New York City.

The scene, which is part of the June 2 season premiere, was eventually shot on land, in Times Square, says an HBO spokeswoman.

Britney & Justin: From a Distance?

For a couple who—according to at least one on-the-record member—are still a couple, Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake haven’t spent much time lately in the same zip code. Last weekend Timberlake, 21, partied at the Hard Rock in Las Vegas, while Spears, 20, spent time with girlfriends at a Manhattan club, according to local papers. Before that, Timberlake toured the West Coast with ‘N Sync, while Spears promoted her film Crossroads in Europe. Again, both made the local club scene with friends. Still, Britney told MTV Italy March 11, “Me and Justin did not split up.”

POP QUIZ

with Will Smith

“Fresh Prince” sounds jazzy, but these days Will Smith seems to prefer the honorific “Oscar nominee.” Why not? His leading role in the film Ali brought him good notices—and, after his Best Actor nomination, some updated wisdom from his dad. Scoop caught up with Smith, 33, at the ShoWest movie industry convention in Las Vegas, where he received the Male Star of the Year award.

How does it feel to be the world’s first Oscar-nominated actor who is also a rapper?

I never thought about that. It’s kinda cool.

How did your family react?

My dad, Willard, called me when he heard. He was excited. He said, “Son, do you remember when I told you there was no such thing as luck?” And I said, “Yeah, Dad.” “And do you remember when I told you that all you have to do is work hard, only then can you have anything that you want?” And I said, “Yeah, yeah, Dad.” Then he said, “Man, that is bull[bleep]. You are just the luckiest guy I ever met.”

Does the ShoWest award compare?

I was in Sydney, Australia, with my 3-year-old son [Jaden], who really hasn’t experienced any of my work. We are in this mall, and this woman comes up to me, asks for an autograph, I sign, and she walks away. My son stops and looks at me and says, “Who are you, Daddy?” So I really needed this now—for my ego.

Does your older son, Trey, want to follow in your footsteps?

I think he sees how hard it is. He’s 9, and he enjoys going to the premieres and all of that, but he’s been on a set before and he knows that it isn’t fun. I don’t think he has any lack of clarity about the difficulty of what Daddy does. I don’t know if he’s willing to put the work in.

Did Muhammad Ali like your Ali performance?

Yeah, but he always tries to pretend that he’s better than me. At the premiere he turned around in the middle of the movie and said, “Man, you almost as pretty as I was.”

ON THE BLOCK

ROBINSON’S RETREAT

Back in the ’60s when he sang with the Miracles, Smokey Robinson’s mama told him he’d better shop around. Recently, he did just that, buying a new L.A. home and putting his five-bedroom Encino, Calif., mansion on the market for $2.5 million. Along with a 6,200-sq.-ft. colonial-style main house, there’s a guest house, pool, spa, gym, putting green and gazebo. Why move? “With his busy schedule, it was paramount for Smokey to have a tranquil home environment,” says his agent. We second that emotion.

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