October 29, 2004 08:00 AM

APOLOGIZED: Pop star Elton John is ready to eat crow over a statement he made about Madonna earlier this month, he tells Entertainment Weekly. While presenting the prize for Best Live Act at the Q awards in London, John accused the former Material Girl of lip-synching. However, he now characterizes those statements as made during “a very drunken lunch.” John told the magazine, “I don’t want to escalate it because I like Madonna.” But he didn’t retract his lip-synching charges against all contemporary performers. “It applies to all those bloody teenage singers,” he said.

FILED: Actor Jeffrey Jones is in more hot water, charged in a civil suit with sexually abusing a young man, the Smoking Gun Web site reports. Jones is already on probation for photographing the underage victim in the nude. Jones, best known for his role as the uptight principal in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and more recently for appearances on the HBO hit Deadwood, pleaded no contest to charges of “using a minor for prohibited acts” in July, New York’s Daily News reports. The civil suit, filed in Los Angeles on Monday, seeks unspecified money damages for the boy, now 19.

ACQUITTED: Actor Rip Torn was acquitted of drunk-driving charges relating to a fender-bender in New York’s Greenwich Village in January, the Associated Press reports. A videotape taken at the police station showed an irate Torn cursing at officers, but an attorney for the 73-year-old actor-comedian said Torn was just upset at the way he was treated. Torn personally thanked the members of the jury after they returned a not-guilty verdict.

BANNED: Don’t look for comedian George Carlin’s new book at Wal-Mart. The retail giant won’t be stocking the perennially best-selling author’s recent title, When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops, according to Reuters. A spokesman for Carlin said that the store had declined to carry the book because the cover parodied the painting the Last Supper. A representative for the store said the decision was made because the retail outlet did not believe the majority of its customers would be interested in the book. However, Wal-Mart does plan to sell book through its Web site. The superstore also recently declined to stock comedian Jon Stewart’s best-selling title America (the Book).

STARRED: Veteran entertainer Wayne Newton was the first person to receive a star on the Las Vegas Walk of Stars during a ceremony that took place Tuesday, AP reports. Newton’s star, which will be placed on Las Vegas Boulevard, was dedicated in front of the New Frontier Hotel where “Mr. Las Vegas” previously performed for nearly 15 years.

IMPROVED: British singer Marc Almond has been moved out of intensive care following a motorcycle accident last week, AP reports. The former front man of the duo Soft Cell, who hit the top of U.S. charts with 1982’s “Tainted Love,” was a passenger on a motorcycle that collided with a car on Oct. 17. Almond, 48, is reported to have suffered head injuries in the accident.

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