Stephen M. Silverman
October 22, 2003 03:22 PM

SIGNED: Celine Dion, move over — Elton John is now set to play Las Vegas in a three-year gig at Caesars Palace that kicks off in February, the British rocker, 56, announced at a press conference Tuesday. “I cannot do this show anywhere else in the world except here,” said Sir Elton, 56. “It’s back to costume changes and Velcro.” The Associated Press reports that his deal to perform 75 shows at the Colosseum at Caesars, five times a week for five weeks a year, is reportedly worth more than $50 million. John and hotel officials wouldn’t confirm contract details. “Let’s just say, I’m very well paid,” the entertainer joked.

ENGAGED: John O’Hurley, 47, best known as the pompous clothing catalog king J. Peterman on “Seinfeld,” will wed Lisa Mesloh, an executive with the Golf Channel, next year, according to a publicist. The couple, both avid golfers, got engaged during a recent visit to Pebble Beach, when O’Hurley hid the engagement ring in the cup of the 7th hole, reports AP. When Mesloh approached the pin, she found the ring box in the hole, but was too focused on the competition to realize what was happening. When O’Hurley (who currently appears on UPN’s “The Mullets”) got down on one knee and proposed, a teary Mesloh finally understood what was going on and said, “Yes.”

QUOTED: “I just want to get back to Detroit.” — Unemployed shipping clerk Kirk Jones, 40, who jumped over Niagara Falls on Tuesday and lived, one of only two people in history to survive the 185-ft. leap

DIED: Character actor Jack Elam, 84, a favorite Western villain who menaced good-guy cowboys with his crazy grin, wild eyes and remorseless gun-slinging in films such as “Rawhide” and “Wichita,” has died at his home in Oregon, family friend Al Hassan tells AP. “He was cantankerous in a great way, in a funny way. He smoked, drank, all that stuff. He lived one of the best lives I’ve ever seen,” said the pal. … Screen and Broadway actress Janice Rule, 72, died in New York on Friday of undisclosed causes, The New York Times reports. Among her later roles was opposite Shelley Duvall and Sissy Spacek in Robert Altman’s “3 Women” in 1977. During that same decade, Rule got her Ph.D. and became a psychoanalyst.

BEGUN: The backlash may be underway against newspaper critics who last week ripped apart the new Broadway musical “The Boy From Oz,” despite loving its hunky star, “X-Men” actor Hugh Jackman, 35. New York Observer theater reviewer John Heilpern not only loves the leading man (and notes the high-pitched squeals from the balcony when Jackman removes his shirt in Act II) but takes the daily critics to task for their “sour political stance toward the show.” He finds the production a triumph of camp and kitsch. Then again, critic Hilton Als in this week’s New Yorker damns “Oz” for being poorly directed, badly written and (in a first for any review) miscast.

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