Plus: Chris Reeve's van donated, Michael Moore's new Rx, and more
BARRED: Grammy winner John Mayer, 27, returned to his alma mater of Fairfield Warde High School in Connecticut (Class of ’95) to be inducted into its Hall of Fame – and wound up getting kicked off campus because of security concerns. “We were not ready for John Mayer,” Jim Conley, chairman of the school’s Hall of Fame committee, tells the Associated Press. Mayer said he was taken to the headmaster’s office, where officials stalled him until the ceremony was under way. “It was hurtful,” he said. Headmaster James Coyne said he explained the situation to Mayer and added that the “Your Body Is a Wonderland” singer wasn’t escorted from the premises, but “we accompanied him to his car.”
DIED: NFL great Reggie White, 43, the fearsome defensive end for the Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers, died Sunday, his wife said. The cause of death was not immediately known. A two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and ordained minister who was known as the “Minister of Defense,” White played a total of 15 years with Philadelphia, Green Bay and Carolina. He retired after the 2000 season. … Freddie Perren, 61, who produced and wrote hit records for the Jackson 5, Gloria Gaynor, The Sylvers (“Boogie Fever”) and Peaches & Herb (“Shake Your Groove Thing”), died Dec. 16 following a long illness. Perren worked at Motown on the Jackson 5’s first hits, including “ABC” and “I Want You Back,” and he co-produced Gaynor’s “I Will Survive,” which won a Grammy in 1979.
GIFTED: Christopher Reeve’s family gave Tyler Howard, 14, of Charlestown, N.H., the late actor’s specially modified van, so he can get around with his wheelchair and other medical equipment. “I’m free, I’m free,” said Howard, a quadriplegic and has been in a wheelchair for 10 years, after developing quadriplegia following a virus when he was 4. “I can go where I want.” Howard said he always wanted to be able to attend school functions, visit classmates and go to church and family outings. Until now, he could only go to school and his doctor’s appointments. “I hope the van brings you great joy and freedom as it did for Chris,” Dana Reeve, the actor’s widow, wrote in a letter to Howard, who was chosen from thousands of potential recipients, reports AP. Reeve, 52, died Oct. 10 of complications from an infection.
WARNED: Some pharmaceutical companies are telling their employees to look out for Michael Moore, whose next film expose is on the American health-care industry, reports the Houston Chronicle. “We ran a story in our online newspaper saying Moore is embarking on a documentary and if you see a scruffy guy in a baseball cap, you’ll know who it is,” said Stephen Lederer, a spokesman for Pfizer Global Research and Development. Earlier this year, Wyeth, AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline dispatched Moore alerts, as did Sanofi-Aventis Pharmaceuticals and Synthelabo.
REVEALED: Greenwich, Conn., Police Chief James Walters gave Diana Ross special treatment while the singer served her sentence for an Arizona drunken-driving conviction, the town’s police union said. The Supreme diva pleaded no contest in February and was sentenced to two days in jail. She arranged to serve her jail sentence in Greenwich, where she lives. Walters allowed Ross to have a cell phone in her jail cell, have food delivered and let her go home in the middle of her sentence, the police union said in a 44-page report to public officials that was given to the Greenwich Times. “I made some poor decisions and accept responsibility for them,” Walters said at a news conference. He didn’t say which decisions he regretted.
SUED: Marlon Brando’s former business manager Jo An Corrales filed a $3.5 million claim against his estate, alleging the Oscar winner sexually harassed her and breached their contract by removing her as a co-executor of his will days before his death. (Brando died in July at age 80.) The claim, submitted to the Los Angeles County Superior Court by lawyers for the Washington state-based Corrales, says Brando “caused a hostile work environment due to his continuous acts of sexual harassment.” No representative from the estate of the acting legend has commented.