NEWS BRIEFS: J.Lo Tops 'E.T.' Talk List
MENTIONED: The most talked-about stars of 2003 on TV’s “Entertainment Tonight” have been tallied by the program, which has issued a Top 10 list based on the number of times these celebrities were mentioned on the air. And they are, beginning with first-ranked Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Aniston, Michael Jackson, Ben Affleck, Nicole Kidman, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz, Britney Spears and Demi Moore. The New York Post notes that John Ritter was No. 19, immediately followed by “Joe Millionaire”‘s Evan Marriott. Last year, Aniston was No. 1 and J.Lo No. 2.
BORN: Oscar-winning (“Children of a Lesser God”) actress and “The West Wing” star Marlee Matlin, 38, and her husband, Kevin Grandalski, welcomed a new daughter, Isabelle Jane Grandalski, born Friday in Los Angeles and weighing 8 lbs., 3 ozs., reports the Associated Press. “She has two tiny dimples and lots of black hair,” said publicist Jessica Cohen, adding that mother and baby are in good health. The couple also have a seven-year-old daughter and two sons, ages 3 and 1.
DIED: Actor Earl Hindman, 61, best known for playing the neighbor Wilson (whose face was forever obscured by a fence) on TV’s “Home Improvement,” died of lung cancer Monday in Stamford, Conn., reports the AP. … Charles Berlitz, 90, a noted linguist and author whose books, including the 1974 international bestseller “The Bermuda Triangle,” explored the paranormal, died Dec. 18 at University Hospital in Tamarac, Fla., says the AP. … Broadway icon Isabelle Stevenson, 90, board chairwoman and former president of the American Theatre Wing, which established the Tony Awards, died Monday in her Manhattan home after a short illness, reports The New York Times. Steven’s theatrical career dated back to her days of dancing in vaudeville.
REINVENTED: Deposed televangelist Tammy Faye Messner, 61, is on a new career roll, reports the AP. She’s promoting a new self-help book, “I Will Survive … And You Will, Too!” Beginning Jan. 11, she’ll appear on the WB reality show “The Surreal Life,” where she’ll share a home with former rapper Vanilla Ice, porn star Ron Jeremy and others. And Friday night, she’ll host Drag Bingo in Durham, N.C., to raise money for Alliance of AIDS Services Carolina. “I’ve been around a lot of drag queens,” Messner said, according to the AP. “I see myself a lot. And they do a better job of me than I do.”
NAMED: Illusionist David Blaine, 30, has been voted the biggest loser of 2003 in a poll, beating former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham, reports the BBC. The American magician, who spent 44 days suspended in a glass box with no food over London’s River Thames, drew 24 percent of the vote. Still, perhaps he shouldn’t feel bad. The entire Australian nation was voted fourth-biggest loser, after their rugby team’s loss to England in the final of the Rugby World Cup.