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Celebrity news for the week of September 16, 2005

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ENGAGEMENTS
Seven straight Tour de France victories must mean he’s strong enough to be her man. Champion cyclist Lance Armstrong, 34, proposed to rocker Sheryl Crow, 43, Aug. 31 in Sun Valley, Idaho. No wedding date has been set. It will be her first marriage and his second.

WEDDINGS
Kevin Nealon, 51, tied the knot with actress Susan Yeagley (Almost Famous), 34, in Bellagio, Italy, on Sept. 3. This is the Weeds star’s second marriage.

AWARDS
”He’s gonna kick my butt,” Kelly Monaco said of her Sept. 20 Dancing With the Stars rematch with John O’Hurley. ”He’s doing Broadway, so he’s staying in the mix of things.”

COURTS
An L.A. court has awarded custody of former CSI: Miami star Kim Delaney’s 15-year-old son to her ex-husband Joseph Cortese. According to the Aug. 25 court order, the 43-year-old actress must be monitored while visiting her son and must forgo all alcohol 24 hours beforehand. Delaney was unavailable for comment…. New Line Cinema has settled a $20 million lawsuit filed last year by producer Saul Zaentz, 84. Zaentz, who bought the film rights to The Lord of the Rings in 1976, claimed the studio never gave him his box office cut from The Fellowship of the Ring…. Model and actor Tyson Beckford (Biker Boyz), 34, has filed a $5 million suit against Bad Boy Entertainment in NYC, accusing the company owned by Sean ”Diddy” Combs, 35, of breach of contract for not fully paying Beckford while using his image in Sean John Clothing ads. Bad Boy reps did not return calls seeking comment…. Rapper Kanye West, 28, filed a $1.3 million suit on Aug. 29 against Chicago DJ Eric ”E-Smoove” Miller, claiming he tried to sell distribution rights to 10 unreleased tracks West produced before he was 18 using a contract with a forged West signature.

CRUSADE ”After four years, we feel the show, the viewers, and Mr. Vartan deserve more,” says Jodi Weinraub, 41, founder of mvcampaign.com, a support group-cum-grassroots movement that vows to punish ABC if, as speculated, Alias‘ Michael Vaughn character (played by Michael Vartan) is killed off this upcoming season. With about 4,000 supporters, the campaign advocates a boycott of all products advertised on Alias. ”Our intention is to show our feelings [about] the utter lack of loyalty,” says Weinraub. Hell hath no fury like a TV viewer scorned.

DEPARTURES
Neal Shapiro resigned Sept. 6 as NBC news president, a post he’d held since 2001. For months, rumors had floated that Shapiro would leave the net, as the Today show has consistently lost ground to ABC’s Good Morning America in the morning ratings battle. NBC has not yet named a permanent replacement.

AILING
Al Roker, 51, underwent back surgery for a ruptured disc on Aug. 31. The weatherman is expected to return to the Today show Sept. 12.

TRIBUTE
The Virginia Theatre in NYC will become the August Wilson Theatre Oct. 17, marking the first time a Broadway venue has been named after an African American. The Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright was diagnosed with inoperable liver cancer in June.

DEATHS
Fred Joerger, 91, who helped create the models for Disneyland attractions like Sleeping Beauty Castle and the Haunted Mansion, Aug. 26, of undisclosed causes, in Woodland Hills, Calif…. TV exec Myron ”Mike” Weinblatt, 76, who headed NBC Entertainment and later presided over Showtime’s 1983 merger with The Movie Channel, Aug. 25, of Alzheimer’s disease, in NYC.

EPILOGUE
The L.A. coroner confirmed Aug. 26 that the June 27 death of bounty hunter Domino Harvey, 35, was caused by an accidental overdose of the painkiller fentanyl. Harvey inspired the upcoming film Domino, starring Keira Knightley in the title role.

(Additional reporting by Liane Bonin)

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