NEWS BRIEFS: Luther Vandross Wins Again
HONORED: Luther Vandross won four NAACP Image Awards on Saturday, including male artist, music video, song and album for his disc “Dance With My Father.” (Still recovering from a stroke, the musician did not collect his awards in person.) In the movie categories, Saturday’s winners included “The Fighting Temptations” (best movie), Cuba Gooding Jr. (best actor, “Radio”) and Queen Latifah (best actress, “Bringing Down the House.” OutKast won for outstanding duo or group, Ruben Studdard won best new artist and Ray Charles was inducted into the NAACP Hall of Fame. For TV, “The Bernie Mac Show” was named best comedy while its star, Bernie Mac, picked up a win for outstanding lead actor in a TV comedy, and Camille Winbush won best supporting comedic actress.
FEUDED: Supermodel Tyra Branks, 30, complains to Newsweek that the allegedly nasty behavior of model Naomi Campbell, 33, almost forced her to give up her career. “She did so many hateful things,” says Banks, “Like getting me thrown off shows because she was more famous. … It got so bad that I called my mother and told her I just wanted to give up.”
EXCISED: NBC has cut the final scene in its “Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of ‘Charlie’s Angels'” after Farrah Fawcett’s former manager, Jay Bernstein, threatened legal action, claiming that the scene impugned his character and harmed his ability to make deals. The scene showed a paunchy, Hawaiian-shirted version of Bernstein on Hollywood Boulevard hustling a blonde in his search for the next Farrah. NBC spokesman Bob Meyer tells the Associated Press that the network was aware of Bernstein’s complaint, but the ending was altered for artistic reasons. “They cut it for time and they didn’t want to take away the focus from the women,” he said. Bernstein tells the news service he’s appeased.
FORECLOSED: A California bank has filed legal papers to force actor Don Johnson to auction off his Aspen-area property to pay a nearly $1 million debt, reports AP. City National Bank of Los Angeles asked a court to put liens on the property and suggested a public auction as an option for collecting $930,000 from the former “Miami Vice” star. Johnson’s publicist said that the actor is in the process of refinancing the loan and the issue will become moot. Last September, a judge in Los Angeles County said Johnson owed the bank $921,891 and $21,891 in attorney fees.
CHARGED: Todd Harrell, 32, bass player for the rock group 3 Doors Down, has been charged with simple assault for allegedly hitting a Mississippi newspaper carrier who had accused him of stealing papers from a convenience-store vending machine, reports AP. The carrier, Ronnie Boulware, 53, told investigators Harrell got out of his vehicle, struck him three times in the face and kicked him in the groin after he and his wife confronted the rocker. Harrell’s attorney, Paul Benton, said the rocker entered the store to get change and then legally bought the newspapers that Boulware said were stolen.
REBUFFED: Despite the fact she’s had an erotic dream about him, Dr. Jennifer Melfi (Lorraine Bracco), citing his lack of respect for people, rejects the offer to become socially acquainted with former patient — and Mafia boss — Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini), who does not take kindly to the word “no.” Also on Sunday night’s much-anticipated fifth season opener of HBO’s “The Sopranos”: a bear roams the Sopranos’s neighborhood, terrifying the otherwise cocksure Anthony Jr. (Robert Iler) and forcing Tony to install a soldier in the house he no longer shares with estranged wife Carmela (Edie Falco). A petty financial dispute between Paulie (Tony Sirico) and Christopher (Michael Imperioli) ends up in the death of a waiter who complains about being under-tipped, and several veteran Mafia dons are let out of jail as their 20-year prison sentences end. Good to have everybody back.