DIAGNOSED: Law & Order star Jerry Orbach, 69, has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, his manager, Robert Malcolm, tells New York’s Daily News. “We expect he’ll be fine. He’s been playing golf, shooting his episodes and doing real well.” Added series creator Dick Wolf: “We expect him to make a full and swift recovery, and while he is receiving treatment, we will work around his schedule.” Orbach starred for 12 seasons in the original Law & Order series, but left to head the spinoff Law & Order: Trial by Jury, set to debut next year.
ORDERED: A man who said he wanted to pray with Passion of the Christ director Mel Gibson has been ordered to stand trial, Reuters reports. Zack Sinclair, 34, was arrested in October after showing up at the Catholic actor’s Malibu home and at his private chapel demanding to be allowed to pray with Gibson. In court papers, Gibson said Sinclair, who is homeless, also sent him several letters that he found “alarming, harassing and annoying.”
RANKED: U2 earned its sixth No. 1 album on the pop charts as its new disc How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb sold almost twice as many copies in its first week as 2000’s All That You Can’t Leave Behind. The new Interscope album by the Irish quartet moved 840,000 copies in the Thanksgiving holiday week ended Nov. 28, according to Nielsen SoundScan. All That You Can’t Leave Behind, entered – and peaked – at No. 3 in November 2000 with sales of 428,000 copies and has sold a total of 4.2 million to date.
ANNOUNCED: Happy Endings, a comic drama with an ensemble cast including Lisa Kudrow, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Laura Dern, will open the 11-day Sundance Film Festival Jan. 20 in Park City, Utah, the Associated Press reports. Other films announced Tuesday for Sundance’s out-of-competition premieres lineup include The Upside of Anger, starring Joan Allen as a single mom who has four daughters and finds domestic help from a former ballplayer (Kevin Costner); and The Jacket with Adrien Brody and Keira Knightley in a story of a time-traveling military veteran who witnesses his own death in the future.
CAST: Emmy-winning Sopranos star Michael Imperioli is set to play one of the good guys for three or four episodes of NBC’s Law & Order, as a detective who partners with Detective Joe Fontana (Dennis Farina), says the Hollywood Reporter. He will fill in for series star Jesse L. Martin, who will take off early to star in Chris Columbus’s movie adaptation of Rent, reprising his role from the original Broadway production of the hit musical. Martin will return to the TV show in fall 2005.
ADMITTED: New York Yankees slugger Jason Giambi injected himself with human growth hormone in 2003 and also used steroids for at least three seasons, according to his December 2003 grand jury testimony reviewed by the San Francisco Chronicle. Anderson’s attorney, Tony Serra, declined comment to the Chronicle, citing a court order. Giambi won the AL MVP in 2000 for Oakland and signed a $120 million, seven-year free-agent contract with the Yankees after the 2001 season. He hit 155 homers from 1999-2002 and batted over .300 each season, but injuries slowed him down the last two years.
HONORED: Beach Boys veteran Brian Wilson, 62, will receive the MusiCares award for his musical achievements and his charity work for cancer research. Performers, to be announced, will pay tribute to him at a Los Angeles dinner next Feb. 11, as part of a weeklong celebration leading up to the 47th Grammy Awards on Feb. 13. The Recording Academy established MusiCares in 1989 to help musicians in times of financial, medical or personal emergency.
DIED: Fathi Arafat, 73, older brother of Yasser Arafat, died of stomach cancer in Egypt, it was announced Wednesday, less than three weeks after the Palestinian leader died of an undisclosed illness in a Paris hospital. The elder Arafat was the head of the Palestine Red Crescent Society, reports Reuters. His widow has requested that he be buried in Egypt, not in Palestinian territories.
MARKED: Walt Disney’s biggest Oscar winner, 1964’s Mary Poppins – it won five, including one for Best Actress Julie Andrews – celebrated its 40th anniversary and new DVD release in Hollywood on Tuesday, reuniting stars Andrews (Mary), Dick Van Dyke (Bert), Karen Dotrice (Jane Banks) and Glynis Johns (Mrs. Banks). Andrews, 69, tells AP that her most vivid memory of the ’64 premiere was “Walt and his smiling face. I’ve got some wonderful photographs of that night, with all of us looking a lot younger,” while Van Dyke, 78, speculated that Mary and Bert probably ended up married. Andrews didn’t think so, however. Sad note: English moppet actor Matthew Garber, who played Michael Banks, died of pancreatitis in 1977, at age 21.