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Jackie Chan admits an affair and begs for privacy

Plus, Leonardo DiCaprio, Bonnie Raitt, John Cleese, Don Imus, and more

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Jackie Chan

MARITAL WOES After months of speculation in the Chinese press, Jackie Chan has admitted to having had an affair with Hong Kong actress Elaine Ng. At a press conference Wednesday Chan pleaded with the paparazzi to leave his family alone. ”I’ve let my family down, but I’m very lucky. My wife has forgiven me,” he said. ”My son understands… I’m pleading with you, don’t disturb them, I beg you. They are innocent.” Chan may have impregnated Ng, now seven months pregnant and waiting for the results of a paternity test. ”If the child is mine, I’ll surely take responsibility,” said Chan. ”When the child is born, I hope you won’t disturb the child, and I hope you will let the child enjoy childhood.”… After separating several months ago, Bonnie Raitt and actor Michael O’Keefe are divorcing. The couple had been married for eight years…. David Copperfield has finally copped to his worst-kept secret: He and Claudia Schiffer have officially split. ”Our time together was wonderful,” the magician explained to the German magazine Gala. ”But Claudia and I saw less and less of each other because of our work, which was very important to us. We fulfilled our dreams, and it would not have been fair to ask each other to give up those dreams.” He then dabbed his eyes with a hanky that he pulled out of the journalist’s ear.

ONLINE MOVIE GURU Leonardo DiCaprio has announced the creation of an online short-film festival that he will call, modestly, ”LeoFest.” (Hasn’t everything since ”Titanic” been one big LeoFest?) He’s vague about the details of this project, according to the Hollywood Reporter, but the actor hopes it will give young filmmakers an opportunity to exhibit their work. All proceeds will go to the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, an environmental charity.

CASTING John Cleese, who makes his James Bond debut as Q’s blundering assistant in ”The World Is Not Enough,” has signed on for the next three 007 movies. Is there a nuclear-powered silly walk in the superspy’s future?… Denis Leary and Hope Davis (”Next Stop Wonderland”) will costar in ”Final,” a tale of doctors trying to uncover the past of a homeless man brought to a mental hospital. Campbell Scott, who codirected ”Big Night,” will helm…. Have you missed Jenny McCarthy? It doesn’t matter what your answer is, she’s coming back anyway. Fox has signed her to a development deal, and expects to cast her in a sitcom for next season.

Y2K INCOMPATIBLE Forget the Y2K bug: A bigger worry right now seems to be the ”Y2K” TV movie. The NBC telefilm (airing Nov. 21) depicts all the imagined disasters that might occur come New Year’s Day 2000 (power outages, nuclear meltdown, inability to get even one digit correct when writing dates on personal checks), and many groups — including the National Governors Assn. and Edison Electric — have been contacting the network for an advance screening to see if it is going to panic viewers, according to Variety. For example, Goldline, a company that buys and sells gold and silver, wants to know if it needs to hire extra staffers in case the movie spurs a rush to trade dollars for precious metals. ”My slogan while making the movie was, ‘Paranoia is our most important product,”’ says executive producer David Israel, who calls the concerns ”silly.” ”I guess it worked.”

OFF THE HOOK Don Imus may be guilty of being a jerk, but a New York appeals court says he’s innocent of libel. The radio host had been sued for $10 million by Chrysler legal assistant Marilyn Hobbs, who claimed he and cohosts mocked her in 1997 when she called his show to say he should have capitalized the word ”Jeep” in his book ”God’s Other Son.” The appeals court dismissed the case, saying the ”radio hosts had expressed their views in the crude and hyperbolic manner that has, over the years, become their verbal stock in trade.”

REEL DEAL Andrew Niccol, writer of ”The Truman Show,” has been paid $3 million by New Line to write and direct ”River Road,” the story of a man obsessed with crossing the border.

SENTENCED Singer Tevin Campbell, who made his debut at the age of 12 on Quincy Jones’ 1989 album ”Back on the Block,” has had a couple of growing pains: He’s been sentenced by a Los Angeles court to attend Narcotics Anonymous meetings and an AIDS Awareness class. It’s all punishment for the misdemeanor he was charged with on July 8: soliciting a lewd act from an undercover policeman, according to the Associated Press. Campbell released his first album, ”T.E.V.I.N,” at 13. Earlier this year he released his self-titled fourth album.

OBITUARY Trumpet great Lester Bowie died Monday night from liver cancer at the age of 58. In 1969, Bowie was a founding member of the Art Ensemble. He was known for flamboyant performances, mixing in pop tunes by such artists as Michael Jackson and James Brown.