December 01, 2003 09:57 AM

December 1, 2003
Bad-boy rapper Jay-Z surprised everyone – perhaps even girlfriend Beyonce – when he announced that he would soon hang up his microphone. At the recent Vibe Awards in Santa Monica, the entertainment world was still buzzing about his upcoming retirement.

Randy Jackson (judge, American Idol): “I think he’ll retire if this record is huge. If this record sells 10 million copies, Jay-Z might retire. If it sells two million, he might be back, dawg.”

Tyson Beckford (actor, Biker Boyz): “I say, ‘Hey, enjoy your retirement!’ But Jay’s not the type to go play golf. He’s retiring from being in front of the camera as far as an MC. But he’s about to start acting, and I can’t wait to work with him.”

Paula Jai Parker (actor, Phone Booth): “I think it’s going to be sad but, hey, what a way to go! I hope that maybe he’ll be like Michael Jordan and come back in a year or so. I say, ‘Have fun spending all of that money. Spend it on Beyonce!'”

Flex Alexander (actor, One On One): “Hey, the man is pulling in an estimated $1 billion a year. So he can retire. He’ll be all right. I’ve known Jay for a long time. I’m happy for him.”

Damon Dash (producer): “As his partner, I’m happy to be a part of somebody who’s had such a beautiful career, someone that can retire rich and happy and at his own will and be No. 1 for seven years straight. But, as a fan, I’m definitely going to miss his music.”

Movieline’s Breakthrough of the Year Awards looked more like a skit from Saturday Night Live than a splashy awards show. Human Stain director Robert Benton tripped and fell onstage as he attempted to present an award to actress Jacinda Barrett. He was helped to his feet by host Aisha Tyler. Then, when Barton handed the statue to Barrett, she dropped it and chipped it. Nick Nolte also also on hand – but feeling a bit under the weather – for the celebration at Hollywood and Highland. “My kidneys are hurting, my liver is swollen and I have got a little constipation,” he told us. “Other than that, I am fine.”

“Sad.” That’s how Frasier’s Peri Gilpin describes the mood on the set of the hit NBC sitcom, which will conclude this spring after 11 seasons. “I’ve decided I am going to wait until after Christmas to worry about it. We’re really trying to savor it all,” she told us at the Fulfillment Fund’s Stars 2003 benefit gala, honoring Paula and Sumner Redstone, where cast mate David Hyde Pierce acted as Master of Ceremonies. Star Kelsey Grammer admitted that he views the end of the series with mixed emotions: “It is a little difficult, but it’s also very exciting because now we face the great unknown again. I look forward to spending time with my family and stepping off into that next adventure, whatever it may be. There is a great poem that says, ‘Not until our morning visit here can we leave behind the dead concerns of yesterday and face with all our courage what is now to be.'”

Written by: SEAN DALY

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